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He Got Game


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Product Details

  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Ray Allen, Milla Jovovich, Rosario Dawson, Hill Harper
  • Directors: Spike Lee
  • Writers: Spike Lee
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 1998
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (134 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 630514415X
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,980 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "He Got Game" on IMDb

Special Features

Theatrical Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award(R)-winner Denzel Washington (Best Actor, 2001, TRAINING DAY) stars in this must-see story about a convict given one shot at a second chance to be a father! With promises of a reduced sentence, Jake Shuttlesworth (Washington) is granted temporary release from state prison in order to persuade the nation's top basketball recruit ... his estranged son, Jesus (Ray Allen of NBA's Milwaukee Bucks), to play ball for the governor's alma mater! But just as Jesus faces intense pressures and irresistible temptations contemplating his big decision, Jake is also forced to consider not only what's best for himself ... but what's best for his son! With a groundbreaking soundtrack by the legendary Public Enemy -- plus great cameos from John Turturro and basketball personalities Dick Vitale, John Thompson, Dean Smith, and more, HE GOT GAME is a critically acclaimed hit you don't want to miss!

Amazon.com

As a filmmaker and passionate fan of basketball, Spike Lee was the perfect director for this ambitious and heartfelt sports drama, which brought out the best in both Lee and his well-chosen cast. In his third film for Lee, Denzel Washington plays Jake Shuttlesworth, who is in prison for the manslaughter of his wife. His estranged son Jesus (well played by Milwaukee Bucks basketball player Ray Allen) is the nation's best high school basketball star, and Jake receives a compelling offer from the state's governor: If Jake can convince Jesus to sign a letter of intent to attend Big State University, the governor will reduce his sentence. Lee turns this back-room bargain into a fascinating examination of capitalism in college and professional sports, but the film also works as the moving story of a father's desperate attempt to regain his son's respect. Lee handles the basketball angle with an insider's awareness, and takes a few stylistic risks (including a memorable final image) that pay off with considerable emotional effect. He Got Game fully explores the visual poetry of basketball and the greed that fuels this particular vision of the American dream, but Lee never loses sight of the sport's inherent beauty, or the higher priorities of redemption and family that form the solid foundation of this exceptional film. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Spike Lee, Ray Allen and especially Denzel Washington did a great job.
ayrugo
Now several colleges are offering Jesus scholarships, and montages satirize the manner in which young athletes are wooed by educators and coaches across the country.
Desertman84
This movie helped me in the really world that you never give up of your dreams and work hard to get it no matter what it takes.
W. Diguc

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By MilesAndTrane on March 11, 2000
Format: DVD
Spike Lee's film contribution of 1998 marks his greatest graduation as a filmmaker since "Malcolm X". "He Got Game" documents the story of Jesus Shuttlesworth, the top high school basketball player in the U.S. who is receiving incentives one way or the other, to attend someone's university. Jesus' father Jake - in prison for accidentally killing his mother - is offered an early parole in exchange for Jesus' enrollment at the governor's alma mater. Jake has one week to convince his son, who wants nothing to do with him. This film is really not about basketball, it is instead, a tale of a father seeking the forgiveness & respect of his son. Lee makes good documentation of the cutthroat world of professional sports recruiting. Washington, as always, delivers a touching performance. Whether asking his son for forgiveness, or giving his wife's tombstone an embrace, Washington portrays a flawed man in deep need to heal his family.
Lee had no need to cast an NBA player, but cast Ray Allen anyway, who does a fine job. The music, a mix of Public Enemy and Aaron Copeland, is an odd combination that Lee puts to effective use. This film introduced Lee's slower pacing of storytelling, which he would continue to do with "Summer Of Sam", and it works quite well.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Birdman on December 6, 2005
Format: DVD
Spike Lee is such a talented filmmaker, one wonders why he took such
a fine script, marvelous cinemotography, thematic complexity and consistently fine performances -- then perforated everything with gratuitous sex.

Certainly, professional scouts lure college athletes with excess, but the manner in which Lee drops sex into the action here limits the audience for an otherwise outstanding film and interrupts the emotional resonance its characters evoke.

The film recounts a convicted father's effort to free himself from prison for accidently killing his wife. He does so by trying to persuade his son, a gifted basketball player,to attend the governor's university, "Big State," because governor is a fan.

The film has layers of plot and meaning woven together seamlessly. There is a father's effort to redeem himself in his son's eyes , to do penance in memory of his beloved wife. In all, Lee recounts the process of forgiveness with compassion and accuracy.

Beneath these layers, Lee explores the Faustian drama of professional athletics in a corrupt society. He exposes the manner in which business corporations and big education elevate athletic talent for their selfish ends, often asting aside decency and ethical sensibility.

The score, combining the music of Aaron Copland and Public Enemy, is oddly moving, without a trace of affectation.

Gratuitous sex aside -- this film confirms Spike Lee as one of our most moral filmmakers. While his output is inconsistent, his great films are just that. They are permanent and well-crafted, ethically sound and constructive.

In his role as Jake, Denzel Washington turns out one of his greatest performances. Whether embroiled in violence or tenderness, there is a depth and vision to this actor that is rare and wonderful.

Recommended for mature audiences.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 6, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
He Got Game is a movie which really seemed like another "White men can't jump" b-ball flic but it's anything but. Spike has really done well with this and the directing is quite superb. If you like basketball then you MUST SEE THIS! Even if you aren't a b-ball fan, you will still be moved by this flic. Acting by Denzel Washington and Ray Allen (actual NBA player) were both great.Unfortunately this one isn't for the kids as there is a bit of sex and language shown. This is actually based on the NBA superstar Stephon Marbury and how he made it all the way. GO AND SEE IT!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A. Jones on May 12, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is a terrific movie, despite the fact that Spike Lee lost his way in the meandering plot; the ending doesn't make much sense. And of course, there's a bit of misogny in the portrayal of women. However, Ray Allen is wonderful as Jesus Shuttlesworth and Rick Fox is a tasty treat. I would love to see him in other movies.
Denzel Washington is a REVELATION. Of course I've admired his work for years because he's so handsome. But I haven't appreciated his acting ability (aside from his performance in Glory) in quite some time. This performance is nuanced and subtle and complex and brilliant. He's humble and arrogant, noble and low-life, all in one character. It reminds me of his role in Mississippi Masala.
If you love NBA basketball, this a great movie to watch.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Slayer6153@aol.com on June 4, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
He Got Game was well directed by Spike Lee, and well acting also. Allen does a superb cross-over, and Washington shines as usual. A surprise performance would definately be that of Dakota, played by the absolutly GORGEOUS, and ENTICING Milla Jovovich. She's acts well, and displays some of her many talents, and I'm not talking about faking it.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By The Fancy One on September 25, 2005
Format: DVD
I love Denzel Washington. I mean, I absolutely adore this man...he never gives a less than credible performance in any role he plays. Once again, he delivers as a less-than-perfect father in "He Got Game". This is more than a story about basketball - it's about human relationships, the bond between a father and son, and how that prevails even in the worst of circumstances.

The story, set in the Coney Island housing projects in Brooklyn, NY (where it was also filmed), surrounds Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel) who has been imprisoned in Attica for the accidental murder of his wife. His son, Jesus (Ray Allen), a high school basketball star who is being hotly pursued to either go into college or sign with the NBA, has nothing but contempt and disgust for his father. If Jake can convince his estranged son to attend a certain university and sign a letter of intent, then his time will be reduced significantly, since this school also happens to be the governor's alma mater.

It starts off with a lot of promise, when Jake is allowed out of prison for a week to try to talk to his son. But after a while, the plot starts to wear thin when Jake keeps approaching Jesus, and Jesus is always telling Jake to leave him alone. How long can this be stretched out before you get tired of the whole thing? Okay, you can throw in flashbacks of Jesus as a child and how his father pushed him hard to play ball; a scheming, opportunistic girlfriend (Rosario Dawson); money-hungry friends and relatives; and plenty of tempting offers to either take money, sign with the NBA, go to this college and so forth to thicken the plot. Everyone seems to want something from Jesus, and as a result he has very little trust for anyone around him, and understandably so.
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