ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

Love and Basketball (2000), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 41
CAP Influence Density: 1.25
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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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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.

If Scriptural references appear in the Summary / Commentary, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.


*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].


  • Isa. 29:15 Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, Who sees us? Who will know?
  • 1 Cor. 13:11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
  • Heb. 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
  • Eph. 4:26, 27 "In your anger do not sin" : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him [or her] to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin.
  • 1 Thess. 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.
  • Matt. 18:7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man [or woman] through whom they come!
  • John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
  • 1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
  • 2 Cor. 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
  • 2 Tim. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    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: Love and Basketball (2000) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • a mother slapping her daughter

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 34 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • teen arrogance toward mother
  • parental fights within earshot of the kids
  • sneaking out of the house by a teen
  • teacher using foul language in class
  • father lied to son
  • tee arrogance against father
  • teen hate talk to mother

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • suggestive eye movement
  • sexual comments, innuendo, talk
  • sex toy
  • vulgar dancing
  • dressing to maximize female form and/or skin
  • camera angle to force viewer on private regions of the human body (clothed)
  • late night teen sneak meeting
  • gaping mouth kissing
  • sexual invitation
  • two teens striping for each other
  • intercourse with nudity and detailed motions and donning of "protection"
  • inappropriate touch
  • strip basketball
  • stills of adultery with nudity
  • teens in underwear

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • bar
  • drinking, including teen
  • drunkenness, including teenT

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 11 uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

  • (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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    Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.

    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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