The Nba Playoffs have just begun: can the Lakers make the upset against the Memphis Grizzlies? Will the Sacramento Kings continue their fairy tale by knocking off the defending champion Golden State Warriors as well? We don’t know yet and look forward to finding out. While we’re at it, however, we want to recommend the best movies and TV series about basketball, and if you’re already wondering where I can watch all the good stuff we’re about to suggest well, don’t worry, we’ll answer that question as well.
He Got Game
A very young Ray Allen and a very great Denzel Washington-but also the very good Rosario Dawson and Milla Jovovich-together for a cult basketball film masterfully directed by Spike Lee. Set in New York City, He Got Game, available on Disney Plus, is as raw and brutal a work as the master filmmaker and big Knicks fan has always accustomed us to. The Atlanta-born director’s film chronicles the pivotal moments leading up to the transition from high school to college or straight to the NBA — with all that entails for better or worse — of the next great talent of the United States of America (Ray Allen).
White Man Can’t Jump
To stay on the theme of best cult feature films devoted to basketball, White Man Can’t Jump, also available on Disney Plus, is a 1992 film starring the unrecognizable (or nearly so) Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson. In contrast to He Got Game, however, the basketball plaugrounds are not those of New York but of a wonderful Venice Beach: beach, sea, Los Angeles and basketball with two actors who to say iconic is an understatement. Do you need to know more?
Coach Carter and Glory Road
I remember as a child seeing on the same day what I like to call “the perfect triptych for aspiring coaches“: Remember The Titans with Denzel Washington (which, however, is dedicated to American football), Coach Carter with Samuel L. Jackson and Glory Road with Josh Lucas. The theme is much the same: three coaches take over as many teams composed of high school kids with all the typical behavioral problems of that age, difficult growing contexts, etc., etc., to try to take them to the roof of the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.Coach Carter – Samuel L. Jackson
Coach Carter is available on Netflix while Glory Road and The Taste of Victory (which although not strictly basketball related maybe intrigued you) can be found on Disney Plus.
In the Rocky’s city Adam Sandler wants to get back to winning ways and grow a Ben Affleck-style bum, but more lightly tries to chase (with binoculars) Bennett Miller and Brad Pitt’s Moneyball: in the end, he too will manage to run to the top of his staircase, thanks to a very simple film and-as is often the case with simple films-. and very efficient..
For all basketball lovers, but also for those “so ungainly that they stumble even while playing checkers.” Available on Netflix, as also seen in the trailer below.
Crazy bets on the NBA; diamonds that drive people nuts including a very good Adam Sandler who we meet again after Hustle and who, with his performance in Uncut Getms, won the 2020 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Besides Him, Kevin Garnett in great form, here as a villain – just as mangy as on the basketball courts – and a direction, that of the Safdie Brothers exclusively for Netflix, hypnotic, addictive, sticking on the viewer to scramble, crush and drag him into a mad nightmare with a decidedly brutal ending.
The Way Back
The O’Connor/Affleck pair returns after the thriller-action The Accountant with a sports drama for which they don’t change their approach in the slightest, raise it: largely based on personal life experiences of the actor, who wants to literally return to winning ways after the professional and especially personal downward parabola of recent years, The Way Back is shot and edited with the emphasis and pace of an action, traps the protagonist in his dramas to the tune of close-ups and wants to dig into him with continuous blunt and perhaps even didactic zommas, but also intimate, warm, cozy, and charged with pity: the first time the term ‘vibrant’ was juxtaposed with a film it had to be a film similar to this one, but this one is more so.
(At the time of writing this article, the film is available only on rental or vod purchase, and is almost unobtainable on physical home-video)
An ideal sequel to Come Back to Win, which this time also sees Ben Affleck return behind the camera, the film tells of how the Nike was able to sign the then young up-and-comer Michael Jordan promising him not only a pharaonic contract that would change the history of the NBA and the sport as a whole, but also the release of a customized shoe: today’s mythological Air Jordan.
We discussed this in depth in our review of Air: the film is currently showing in the Italian theaters.
Space Jam, which you can conveniently watch on Netflix, I saw just a week ago after my Easter binge. The adventure of Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes still remains today a basketball movie of quality but above all brilliance superior to so many others in terms of detachment. Chance then had it that a week before Easter, so because I had nothing to do, I watched the sequel with Lebron James: that’s good but not great. A classic example of “super budget, unbelievable special effects and whatever you want” to still find itself at least seven to eight spans below the first chapter.
Tv Show: Winning Time – The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty
As a perfect counterbalance to the simplicity of Hustle on Netflix, here The bulimia of styles and redundancy of forms (imagine the rock n roll of Martin Scorsese and the Robert Altman-esque chorale in which all the protagonists take turns speaking facing the camera, with the image cloaked in the ever-present 1970s glossy filter infused with blaxploitation overtones.) are designed to reflect the exuberance of the talents told and their unbridled excesses: which, broadening the viewpoint, mirror the HBO style.
Adam McKay continues to score.
Tv Show: The Last Dance
The Last Dance is the ultimate Netflix docuseries: everyone has seen it, everyone has fallen in love with it. For those who like basketball, the tale of the last season of the Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson to win the 1998 season and close the dynasty that brought Illinois’ largest city as many as six NBA titles in ten years, is a roller coaster of emotions.
The Last Dance is a sports drama that winds its way through existential crises, contractual and perhaps undeserved firings, struggles in the locker room and under the basket, in short, the story that all of us baskettarians would have liked to experience. For those unfamiliar with basketball, on the other hand – and I have several examples to prove my point – it is one of the best ways to approach and get passionate about the bouncing orange. Try to watch The Last Dance to believe.