He Got Game - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

He Got Game Reviews

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November 30, 2016
Lee did his best to ruin this
November 28, 2016
An intriguing story that is powered by the consistently good Denzel Washington. The main downfall of this film comes from the wooden acting by Ray Allen and the TV movie vibe that it gives off. That being said there are still some very powerful moments in this film.
November 26, 2016
Spike Lee works with a little too much material here, but there's no denying the movie's hefty father and son story and Lee's filmmaking prowess.
November 19, 2016
Ray Allen is a surprisingly good actor. Spike Lee is at the top of his game, and this is a very compelling movie with a great soundtrack, believable characters, and an important commentary on corruption and the black experience.
November 19, 2016
Worth a watch. It's nothing special, but still decent. Ray Allen is really good, Denzel is average in this one. I love the Soundtrack with Public Enemy.
July 26, 2016
The game of basketball is a great one. It's a fantastic game that brings everyone and anyone together and is one of the great all American sports. Spike Lee is someone who knows and still knows this very well. This is at the heart of He Got Game. Spike Lee directs the type of basketball picture not seen on the big screen at the time.
Lee's 98 feature is about Jake and Jesus shuttlesworth. Jake is a convict in prison and one day he gets a deal from the warden that his sentence will be lightened if he can convince his star player son to go to one of the big state colleges in the country. Jesus is no ordinary star player he is one of the most sought after ones in the country, that means every league in the NCAA wants him. the main conflict of the story is that jake was responsible for the accidental murder of his wife jesus's mother and so jesus harbors a lot of hate for jake. Jake has only 1 week to convince his son and hopefully mend his relationship with him as well.
Right off the bat it started great. I Really liked the opening credit scenes. it's a really impactful showing of basketball and its impact on kids and adults everywhere. spike lee does an amazing job of showing the beauty and art of the game and also how it can affect people. he shoots it very documentary style but with cinematic flair too it. His story telling ability in this film is almost Spielberg like its incredible. As someone who loves basketball and loves watching it I really dug this film! this film is dope favorite basketball film ever. I am actually convinced that if the 10 film extension rule had happened in 98 this would have made the Oscars best picture category, its that good! great choice of music for the soundtrack
I was impressed ray allen can actually act. he doesn't force it with each line and he has quite a demeanor that is extremely rare to find with actor who was or is a pro athelete. Jesus is a very righteous and level headed guy and he's tryna stay humble while making a decision that will change his life. He was interesting to watch. It was cool seeing all the nba cameo's in there. As far as my man denzel he does it again. Jake Shuttlesworth is a man with redemption on his mind but he knows he cant dwell on the pain of what happened to his wife his sons mother he's got to do something.
the film actually reminds me of the hype that came with Lebron james when he was getting ready to go to the NBA. the script is phenomenal! so well written. If you love basketball and want to see a great film on it check this film out
June 23, 2016
Jesus Shuttlesworth played by real life hoop star ray allen feels pressure from everywhere on where to go to collage. When you are #1 prospect you get agents, hoes, $, coaches , family all in your face trying to influence you. In this spike lee film the hoop star's dad (denzel Washington) is released for a short time and promised more freedom if he can get Jesus to go where the warden prefers. Ya dig washington or b-ball , must watch :)
½ May 20, 2016
My favorite basketball movie, bar none, and there isn't even a real game in it. It just oozes a love for the game cause Spike loves it, and denzel makes anything work. Conor Palette, authenticity, music and story. Top notch.
½ April 26, 2016
Denzel Washington as an inmate who talks his estranged basketball star son into attending the prison wardens alma matter. A bit far fetched and again Lee's pacing of the film becomes its downfall.
January 31, 2016
Power, father and son, politics of sports, awesome soundtrack
January 5, 2016
When there is Denzel Washington in a movie, its always a taken who pulls it through.. People came and went, but the way Washington did enough to pull everyone's attention, you have to know the man knows his art, and lives the life before he plays them.. Rest of the movie, actually falls apart looking at the acting standards, and some of scripting put together..
December 8, 2015
Most critics and movie fans are going to tell you that Spike Lee's masterpiece of a movie is "Do The Right Thing" I am going to have to wholeheartedly disagree with that. He Got Game is the best Spike Lee film for my money. First and foremost the way the movie was shot and filmed is fantastic. The cinematography gives the entire movie a true gritty and urban feel to it, which suits the subject matter perfectly. Ray Allen isn't giving an Oscar worthy performance here, after all he is a professional athlete thrown into a major motion picture, but he does the job well. Giving the movie an authentic feel to it for the main character. Most inner city high school basketball players are not going to be giving authentic intriguing movie type dialogue, so why go that route anyway? Spike did a good job casting this movie. Denzel shines as he usually does. I like how Denzel Washington isn't afraid to take roles like this. Some black actors may not want to take roles like this playing into that stereotypical inner city African American male, but Denzel does a superb job playing this role. Its a story that most sports fans know all to well, and was never more prevalent than around the time it was released. With loads of high school basketball players shooting straight to the NBA for big money. But also there are high school basketball stars who are being recruited by tons of big name schools offering everything they can throw at the kid trying to entice him to sign with their program. It has to be hard for these young men as they try and balance school, sports, family, girlfriends, their future and their reputation around their neighborhood and city. It is a lot to handle for anyone, let alone a high school kid. Sometimes we forget that these athletes may look big and seem mature, but in reality they are still children. He Got Game shows this in detail, how this character is trying to balance everything and on top of it is the man of his house. His father was accused of murdering his mother. So his mother is dead and his father is in prison, but soon to be relapsed. What we see is a young athlete getting everything all at once. Schools offering him girls and taking him to parties. Agents offering him money and jewelry to sign with them and go to the NBA. A very authentic and real movie, this is a must watch for not just a sports fans, but fans of a good drama as well. Well done Spike.
½ October 29, 2015
Denzel was great in this movie but Ray Allen's acting is "plain"
October 29, 2015
A really good movie depicting the real life of what top high school athletes deal with when being recruited. Good acting and a good plot.
July 10, 2015
There are some movies you have a feeling with, also if you have never watched them, and there are some you don't. I have never had any good feeling with He Got Game (it remained for 1 year in my mysky recorder) and also after having watched it I can say that it's a good movie, but that didn't lit up my immagination at all.
½ June 19, 2015
ray Allen having anal sex with 2 white girls while in a relationship with a hot black girl and denzel whasington lasting 5 seconds while banging a hooker in the ass what kind of movie is this spike
June 3, 2015
Not even close to other Lee Projects.
½ May 18, 2015
Another collaboration between Spike Lee and Denzel Washington, He Got Game sounded like a definite must see.

Like many of Spike Lee's films, He Got Game is a fairly indulgent film which runs at a slow pace for a long time which may phase viewers. Also, it constantly weaves back and forth between the storylines of Jesus Shuttlesworth as he attempts to decide which college basketball team to play for and the experiences Jake Shuttlesworth is experiencing on the outside world while also momentarily going through flashbacks. The general plot structure of He Got Game is relatively annoying at times and it doesn't find them sot sufficient balance between focusing on the two main stories which means that its entertainment value is not all that consistent.
Also, so many of the scenes in the film are dragged out and occasionally feel like they have stretched longer than they should be. And for a basketball film, I feel as if He Got Game spends a bit too much time on the side bench instead of out on the court and is more about discussing basketball than it is about playing the game.
But He Got Game is still a fairly decent film.
Spike Lee's script in He Got Game is just spot on and one of the best scripts he has written in his entire career. Full of firm and intelligent language as well as great characters, He Got Game is built on interesting roots. The only issue though is the fact that the story is not precisely as interesting because an entire 136 minute film about a man attempting to pick which college he should go to can only go so far with entertainment value. Spike Lee presses the limits of the film a lot so it's not the most consistently interesting film, but it does manage to back itself up with a lot of strong and very intelligent dialogue. You can see the angle that Spike Lee is taking on the story because of how he implements in concepts of social commentary about society's treatment of African-American students, particularly ones who show serious basketball promise. It also ties in the way that Basketball is important to the lives of many young African-Americans because it is both fun and may present an opportunity to them. He Got Game touches upon the same kind of material that Hoop Dreams did, only in a fictionalised manner. And it is not afraid to explore dark and lurid material, even if it ends up a little indulgent at times. While the story is not the most consistently interesting, it does have characters that are genuinely compelling and dialogue that is intelligent as well as a rough atmosphere.
The soundtrack in He Got Game is also great because it reinforces the gritty atmosphere of the film and makes the experience more rough and intense. At times it makes the atmosphere completely different to the standard conventions of filmmaking which makes the experience a little trippy, and it is interesting to experience.
And the entire visual style of the film is grand because the scenery is powerful and it is all captured with innovative cinematography techniques. Although occasionally the shots go on for a bit long, they are still good looking.
But the most memorable element of He Got Game is the skill of the cast.
Denzel Washington's performance in He Got Game is so greatly powerful. Working along with Spike Lee without challenge, Denzel Washington gives a performance which is intense and sympathetic at the same time. Although he really doesn't get enough screen time to be called the lead actor in the film, his performance is the best of the entire cast. It's a shame that his screen time is rather diminutive because he is such a legendary actor and reminds us all of it in his role as Jake Shuttlesworth in He Got Game. Denzel Washington delivers another powerhouse performance in He Got Game which makes the film worth seeing standalone.
Ray Allen also gives an impressive performance. It's not always easy for a professional athlete to transition into acting well, but Ray Allen manages to do it without the slightest bit of trouble. I was surprised to find out that this was his first performance and that he was actually a professional basketball player because he looked so young in the part. But nevertheless, his debut performance is excellent because he acts with such a natural strength and skill as if it comes to him as easily as playing basketball. Ray Allen gives an excellent leading performance in He Got Game because he is truly passionate about the material and about what the film means to him in terms of basketball, and Spike Lee proves to be able to get the best out of him which is impressive. Ray Allen's performance in He Got Game is one of the most memorable aspects of the film.
Rosario Dawson makes a memorable supporting effort in He Got Game simply because of the fact that in a few simple scenes she manages to make a dramatic impact on the story. She delivers her lines so organically and shares an easy but strong chemistry with the other actors which makes the experience of the film more emotionally effective and therefore more entertaining. Rosario Dawson's early performance in He Got Game foreshadows the immense talent she would later show off in her career.
Milla Jovovich's small dramatic supporting effort is also a nice touch to He Got Game.

So although He Got Game doesn't have the most interesting story, it is slow with an extended running time and is a little indulgent as many of Spike Lee's films are, the pure strength and grit in the film makes it dramatically effective as well as the fact that the acting is perfect and the dialogue is some of the best that Spike Lee has written in years which makes it worth checking out regardless of its negative elements.
April 29, 2015
Well, Denzel is his usual awesomeness! I truly believe that only he could pull off that scene at the cemetery! He is amazing! And the movie is good too! I was disappointed in several characters, like Uncle Bubba, Booger, and Sweetness, who were just slap sticky caricatures, in what seemed to be an otherwise serious story (Big Time Willie was pretty lame too!). And though artistically, I think using the music of Aaron Copland as part of the soundtrack to a story about inner city basketball and life was a bold, striking choice, I really don't think it worked. At times, the music was a distraction for me. But what made this a 3 star for me, and not a 4 or 5, is the horrible, ridiculously stupid ending in the gym. Why would anyone include that scene in a film like this? Did Touchstone, a.k.a. Disney, make Spike Lee put in such fantasy bullshit? Good lord, it is so lame! Wait - dead mother AND magical basketball ending? That IS Disney! F' you Mickey Mouse!
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