He Got Game (1998)
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|Denzel washington stars as a man doing time for killing his wife. He is promised a lighter sentence if he can coax his son, the most hotly recruited high school basketball player in the country, to play for a school in the same state as the prison. The trouble is the boy hates his father for killing his mother.|
Editor's NoteSpike Lee turns his attention to the high-stakes world of basketball with this charged drama. Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel Washington) is serving 15 years for playing a role in the death of his wife. His son, Jesus (Ray Allen), is the best high school basketball player in the country. One week before Jesus must sign a letter of intent to the college of his choice, Jake is granted a temporary reprieve. The catch is that the state's governor wants the prodigy to go to his alma mater and is willing to consider commuting Jake's sentence if he can persuade Jesus to go there. When the time comes for Jesus to make a decision, both father and son are forced to confront their past and present actions--as a role reversal has taken place during Jake's time in prison that sparks a heated confrontation on the basketball court. Lee's unusual choice to use the music of Aaron Copland, an American classical composer, for the soundtrack and his concept of pairing it with the national sport of basketball is a contrast that is made even more striking by the other contributing artists, notably the insistent urban sound provided by Public Enemy.
Cast & Crew
|Thomas Jefferson Byrd|
|Jon Kilik - Producer|
|Malik Hassan Sayeed - Director of Photography|
|Aaron Copland - Composer|
|Spike Lee - Screenwriter|
|Spike Lee - Director|
Plot SummaryThe story of a black ex-con, imprisoned for reasons relating to his wife's death, who gets sprung by a governor in order to convince his basketball virtuoso son to attend the politician's state university. This intense drama, directed by Spike Lee and starring Denzel Washington, is largely about the ironic role reversal of a man suddenly finding himself free and unprotected, confronting his son who has acted as a father figure to his family. The soundtrack features Aaron Copland as well as Public Enemy in a striking, but effective, contrast of styles.