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Love and Basketball (2000), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 41
CAP Influence Density: 1.25
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NOTE: We make no scoring allowances for Hollywood's trumped-up "messages" to excuse, or its manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth. If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objectuve and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.
SUMMARY / COMMENTARY:
*Love and Basketball* (PG-13) -- alas, another R-13.
In *Love and Basketball*, adolescent Quincy McCall (the adult Quincy is played by Omar Epps) spends a lot of energy trying to prove that next-door neighbor tomboy Monica Wright (the adult Monica is played by Sanaa Lathan) cannot do what boys can: that basketball is a man sport not a girl sport. And she proved him wrong, very wrong.
From about 12 years old Quincy and Monica do both battle of the sexes and battle in romance. As adolescents they set the pattern for their relationship that lasts several years. When the two meet, Monica appears to be one of the guys -- until she takes off her hat: "She's a girl!" Then this girl proceeds to whup the boys at pickup basketball. In a moment of manly caveman-cavewoman bravado, Quincy pushes Monica off the court, marking her for life with a scar over the right lateral jawbone. And like the clubbing of the woman by the caveman, that does it. Love prevails. Quincy asks Monica "You wanna be my girl?" and she asks what that means. The mature and worldly young Quincy explains "We can play ball and ride to school together and when you get mad I gotta buy you flowers." (Keep the "...gotta buy you flowers" in the back of your mind.) Monica wants nothing to do with flowers but she kisses him in the bushes. I wonder why the pair felt they need to go to the shadows [Isa. 29:15]? When Quincy wants Monica to ride with him on his bike, she wants to ride her own bike. Both pretend and go through the motions of love and affection in empty emulation of what they had seen of adults (or in the movies?).
And all this is innocent enough but kids are being fed "adult situations" as entertainment earlier and earlier each year. Quincy and Monica grow up before things get "serious" but the 13 year olds in the audience don't in the 117 of this movie -- at least not chronologically. There is a time for romance feelings to flower and for responsibility to take its rightful place, but early adolescence may not be the time to put away childish things. Let us let kids be kids for as long as they need to be kids and stop stealing childhood from children with movies like this one [1 Cor. 13:11]. I say that now, associating it with the innocent portion of the programming to prepare you for the reasons for the R-13. Besides, it should be up to the parents NOT the movies when and how children should be guided out of childhood [Heb. 13:17].
In high school the two part company but remain next-door neighbors. Above, I asked that you keep "...gotta buy you flowers" in mind. Obviously, that part of the story line was to inform the viewer that Quincy's parents have had or have arguments for which the elder McCall tries to atone by buying the missus flowers, and Quincy picked up on that. Well, now as full-fledged teenagers, the arguments continue and, as if a habit, Quincy sneaks out of his bedroom window and taps on the line-of-sight bedroom window of Monica. Also as if a habit, in a daze she she opens it, Quincy crawls in and takes the pillow Monica habitually has ready for him, then he sprawls on the couch next to her bed and goes back to sleep [Eph. 4:26, 27].
Quincy becomes an outstanding athlete while Monica becomes an "oddity." While both are fine performers on the court, Quincy is at home but Monica is ... a girl ... in a sport traditionally reserved for boys. However, she is undaunted in her quest for basketball stardom, which she eventually achieves. Monica does experience a "girl thing" in high school. She dresses up for the prom. And later she experiences loss of innocence. I do not remember at what precise point in the story line this happened -- whether in high school or later. All I do know is that your kids will see it happen if they watch this movie.
Both Quincy and Monica are drafted by USC and one year after entering USC Quincy quits to go pro. And eventually Monica goes pro but he plays in America while she plays in Spain.
There is, of course, much more to the story which I will not reveal. I will leave that to the Findings/Scoring section. But one thing I will reveal is that there is intercourse with nudity in this movie for your 13 year old son and daughter [Luke 17:2; 1 Thess. 4:3]. A rather detailed episode at that. The details are very carefully choreographed to hide gender-specific anatomy (except hers), but all associated motions are there, including what some will call a "safe sex" maneuver: a maneuver which has proven to not be that safe. I wonder how long, if ever, it will take for us to know that the Bible method of abstinence is the only 100% safe behavior.
While this movie was about the whole life of professional basketball and more attention is given to attitude, skill and pressures that must be dealt with rather than just last-second scoring, it is a sexual movie saturated with foul language. While many say this is real life, that does not make it okay. To resign oneself to sin just because "everyone else is doing it" is a sin itself [Matt. 18:7]. And resignation from righteousness for the sake of sin because of popularity of the sin is such a powerful tool of the adversary who comes only to steal and kill and destroy [John 10:10].
Again let me remind you to not let smooth-sounding and nice-nice programming lull you into accepting sin for the sake of a warm message by embedding sin and immorality under a theme of warmth and kindness [1 John 2:15-17; 2 Cor. 11:3]. Remember, counterfeiting of the Scriptures to suit contemporary morality is rampant [2 Tim. 3:16].
Please see the Findings/Scoring section below for a full accounting of this movie: for the best representation of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.
FINDINGS / SCORING:
NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):