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He Got Game (1998)

R | | Drama, Sport | 1 May 1998 (USA)
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A basketball player's father must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence.

Director:

Spike Lee

Writer:

Spike Lee
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Popularity
3,389 ( 247)
10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Denzel Washington ... Jake Shuttlesworth
Ray Allen ... Jesus Shuttlesworth
Milla Jovovich ... Dakota Burns
Rosario Dawson ... Lala Bonilla
Hill Harper ... Coleman 'Booger' Sykes
Zelda Harris ... Mary Shuttlesworth
Ned Beatty ... Warden Wyatt
Jim Brown ... Spivey
Joseph Lyle Taylor ... Crudup
Bill Nunn ... Uncle Bubba
Michele Shay Michele Shay ... Aunt Sally
Thomas Jefferson Byrd ... Sweetness
Roger Guenveur Smith ... Big Time Willie
John Turturro ... Coach Billy Sunday
Lonette McKee ... Martha Shuttlesworth
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Storyline

Tells the story of Jesus Shuttlesworth, the most sought after high school basketball prospect in the nation. Jesus and his dream to make it to the big ranks in professional basketball are overshadowed by his father, Jake, who is spending his life in prison for killing Jesus' mother. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A father's freedom depends on his son's choice. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexuality, some drug content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 May 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

He Got Game See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,610,663, 3 May 1998, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$21,554,585, 26 July 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hill Harper portrays a teenager in high school in the film. At the time, Harper was 31 years old. See more »

Goofs

At first while D'Andre is touching Lala's neck, he's not wearing any ring - next scene he's wearing a silver ring on his ring finger. See more »

Quotes

Spivey: In here there's some money. Get some clothiong, toothpaste, deodorant, personal effects, whatever have you. Take a shower! Wash your ass!
See more »

Connections

References Hoop Dreams (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Appalachian Springs
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
Aaron Copland, Conductor
Written by Aaron Copland
The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc., Copyright Owner
Boosey & Hawkes, Inc., Solo Publisher
Courtesy of Sony Classical
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Flawed but always interesting
13 July 2003 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Jesus Shuttlesworth is the number one hope for college basketball and has offers from colleges and sports agents ringing non-stop. His father is in jail for the manslaughter of his wife but is allowed out by the Governor for 4 days with a promise of further leniency if he can convince his son to go to Big State University. However Jesus has never forgiven him and this pressure, on top of everything else, is the last thing he needs.

I'm never too sure what I'm going to take away from this film each time I watch it, as it does tend to try and cover a lot of ground. Is the film about father/son relationship? Is it about the commercialisation of school sports? Or pressure on young athletes? It's hard to be sure and I'm not sure that Lee is totally sure either. As such it often leaves me searching for an adequate way to summarise what I just watched. Regardless I do feel that the film manages to cover a lot of bases well. The stuff about the sports system is well worked without ramming down your throat – the exaggeration (or is it?) of the characters and scenarios is good and makes for good satire of sorts.

The central relationship between Jake and Jesus is also worked well through several key scenes throughout the film. It leaves questions open during the film and at the end, but I guess there aren't always answers for everything and that's the way it is. The dynamic between the two is good though and it makes for an interesting plot – even though it does often feel like a subplot behind the basketball stuff. Other bits of the film don't fare as well. The two romantic strands are not as good as they should be – certainly Jake's scenes with Dakota are less than inspiring.

The cast are all pretty good. Allen does OK but occasionally looks out of his depth with the talented cast. The array of basketball players and associates all add colour whether as themselves or playing characters. Washington carries the majority of the film and shows his ability in a difficult role – he became the heart of the film for me even though I'm sure the intention was for that to be Jesus. Dawson plays well despite being eye candy for the majority, she does have better scenes near the end of the film. The support cast have a few Lee regulars including an amusing Turturro, a convincing Palagonia and a blink and you'll miss her Jennifer Esposito.

Overall this is not a perfect film as it overstretches itself a little and doesn't manage to deal with everything as well as it could have done. Ironically the overstretching is also a plus point as, every time I watch it, it gives me something else to concentrate on. Not Lee's finest work but a good film about his other passion with plenty of other stuff thrown in behind it.


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