Back Shelf Beauties
by Willie Waffle

Love and Basketball

Selection for the Weekend of
November 3 - 5, 2000

With basketball season starting up this week, I thought it would be fun to take a look at a very recent release that deserves a great deal of praise, and, hopefully, your rental dollars.

Sanaa Lathan stars as Monica Wright, a young, female basketball prodigy. As a young girl, she dreams of being the first woman NBA star. Her dream to play big time basketball never fades as she advances through high school and desperately tries to impress the different college coaches who scout and recruit her, often causing her to miss out on life's other important adventures. Her journey is paralleled by her next door neighbor, and the boy she loves, Quincy (Omar Epps).

Quincy dreams of becoming an NBA superstar like his father, Zeke (Dennis Haysbert). Throughout his young life, he is a pampered superstar who has to beat the ladies, and college coaches, off with a stick. The only people that keep Quincy grounded are his father, his mother (Debbi Morgan) and Monica, the love of his life. When both go off to college, they have very different experiences.

Will Monica and Quincy be able to succeed in big time college sports? Will their love survive the ups and downs?

Lathan is amazing as the tough, independent fighter who wants to be taken seriously as a basketball player. While many urge her character to be "more lady like", she just wants to be a ball player. Lathan is masterful at balancing the strong and vulnerable sides of her character as she tries, against all odds, to live her dream and love her troubled boyfriend.

Writer and director Gina Prince deserves an Oscar nomination for her complex, touching and thoughtful work. The script takes us into the minds and emotions of the characters, while giving us a compelling plot and interesting love story. The romance between Monica and Quincy is one of the most realistic I have seen on the screen. No easy choices and over-idealized romance here.

Prince also gives us an interesting father-son relationship between Quincy and Zeke. It is just as central to the plot as the love story because it influences every choice Quincy makes. Haysbert and Epps are a good combination.

Take a chance and rent Love and Basketball this weekend.

Grade: A

Directed and written by Gina Prince


Sanaa Lathan ……….. Monica Wright

Omar Epps …………..Quincy McCall

Dennis Haysbert ……. .Zeke McCall

Debbi Morgan ……… Nona McCall

Alfre Woodard ……... Camille Wright

Harry J. Lennix ……... Nathan Wright

Regina Hall …………. Lena Wright

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