' Cinema Romantico: In Honor of The Madness

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In Honor of The Madness

Today is the first day of the NCAA Tournament which is (now that the BCS has mucked up New Year's Day) the single greatest day for sports on the planet we call Earth. (Note: My home state is represented this year by Northern Iowa and as I type this I am already preparing myself for the inevitable heartbreak that will occur later this afternoon when Purdue defeats them on some sort of miraculous play in the final seconds. Unless, of course, they manage to invoke the spirit Of Maurice Newby. But that was 19 years ago and ever since the basketball gods have been seriously sticking it to the Iowans.)

In any event, my mind on this anticipatory morning always drifts off to one movie scene in particular and, no, it's not Jimmy Chitwood telling Coach Norman Dale "I'll make it" or Kareem Abdul Jabbar masquerading as co-pilot Roger Murdock angrily advising little Jimmy that he's out there "busting (his) buns every night." It's the scene in Spike Lee's "He Got Game" when Denzel Washington as Jake Shuttlesworth strolls beside the Coney Island Shore with his son Jesus (real life NBA star Ray Allen), the #1 high school basketball prospect in the country, and tells him how he got his name - not the Bible Jesus but the superb basketball player Earl "The Pearl" Monroe who also possessed another nickname. Black Jesus.

It's a marvelous scene. No, no, no, not marvelous. Extraordinary. The scene that maybe Lee, a notoriously passionate basketball fan, was born to write. The movie as a whole has some issues (as does just about any "Spike Lee Joint") but, oh heavenly Father, this scene. It is beautiful and romantic and.....oh, just watch it, will you?

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with an 11 AM adult beverage.

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