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Movies editor Dawn Burkes and critic Chris Vognar offer views, news and nuggets on all things movies.
Watching the Celtics take care of business against the Lakers over the last week got me thinking about He Got Game, the Spike Lee movie featuring the smooth shooting stroke (and surprisingly adequate acting chops) of one Ray Allen. Even though I was rooting for the Lakers (whaddya want, I'm from Cali), I was happy to see Allen, a class act for years, get his. I'm also happy to say the movie gets better every time I see it. (Photo courtesy of AP)
Released in 1998, Game is still a juicy look at the meat market atmosphere that engulfs star amateur athletes on their way to the big time. I could do without the whole Denzel Washington and the hooker with a heart of gold storyline, but the hoops stuff is spot-on. There's a lot going on here: intergenerational conflict and the crisis of incarceration among African-American men; the platform on which we place jocks at an early age; and a ton of great supporting turns from the likes of Jim Brown as a surly probation officer and John Turturro as a zealous college coach. There's also an Elia Kazan-like touch from Mr. Lee in his mix of high-pitch performances with Aaron Copland's dramatic score.
Most of all there's Allen as Jesus Shuttlesworth, blessed with the perfect jumper. The release point, the flick of the wrists, the high arc: it was already a thing of beauty back then. No wonder he hit 7 of 9 threes in Tuesday's game six clincher. All praise.
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