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3 Movie Reviews

3 Movie Reviews

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Published by Marquez Canery

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Published by: Marquez Canery on Dec 15, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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05/12/2014

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Marquez Canery
Movie Reviews on White Men Cant Jump
1.
 
White Men Can't Jump
eview
Ro
n Shelt
o
n¶s brash and energetic f 
o
ll
o
w-up t
o
Bull Durham drew arguably career-best perf 
o
rmances
o
ut
o
f Wesley Snipes and W
oo
dy Harrels
o
n as tw
o
small-time h
oo
 p hustlers, wh
o
 team up t
o
clean up.Shelt
o
n - wh
o
has since pr 
o
ved erratic within his ch
o
sen genre, the sp
o
rts m
o
vie - displays his brilliant, idi
o
syncratic ear f 
o
r dial
o
gue (³Say my m
o
ther ain¶t n
o
astr 
o
naut!´) here, and an energeticdirecti
o
n at pains t
o
keep the act
o
rs and their ball skills in the same frame. It¶s
o
verly l
o
ng and the
Ro
sie Perez sub-pl
o
t leads it astray, but m
o
stly, it r 
o
cks.
Reviewer: Bob McCabe (Empire magazine)
 
2.
 
White Men Can't Jump
A
fter the disapp
o
inting
 Blaze
, writer-direct
o
Ro
n Shelt
o
n g
o
t back 
o
n track with the samemixture
o
f sp
o
rts acti
o
n, sexual sparring, and c
o
mic, slangy dial
o
gue that sparked
 Bull Durham
.Like that earlier c
o
medy, this is en
o
ugh
o
f a structural mess t
o
l
o
se itself s
o
mewhere bef 
o
re theend, but the jazzy surface acti
o
n is even m
o
re lively and seductive. Basically the m
o
vie is astring
o
f epis
o
des inv
o
lving tw
o
basketball hustlers (W
oo
dy Harrels
o
n and Wesley Snipes) inL
o
s
A
ngeles, with racial differences serving b
o
th t
o
help their hustles al
o
ng and t
o
define thelimits
o
f their friendship;
 Do the Right Thing 
's feisty
Ro
sie Perez plays Harrels
o
n's girlfriend,wh
o
l
o
ngs t
o
be a c
o
ntestant
o
n
 Jeopardy
, while Tyra Ferrell is acc
o
rded the less interesting andless pr 
o
minent part
o
f Snipes's wife. Shelt
o
n's flair f 
o
r fancy dial
o
gue and his pre
o
ccupati
o
n withsc
o
ring
o
ften make him seem like the Prest
o
n Sturges
o
f s
o
uthern jive; unf 
o
rtunately he d
o
esn'thave a matching sense
o
f pl
o
t and c
o
ntinuity. This picture is packed with fun, but it d
o
esn't reallyg
o
anywhere, and elements that summ
o
n up mem
o
ries
o
The Hustler 
d
o
n't w
o
rk in its fav
o
(1992). By Jonathan Rosenbaum (Chicago reader)
 
White Men Can¶t Jump¶ (R)By Hal HinsonWashington Post Staff WriterMarch 27, 1992
 The dial
o
gue in
Ro
n Shelt
o
n's high-s
o
aring "White Men Can't Jump" is a self-celebrating f 
o
rm
o
f verbal jazz. His characters talk f 
o
r the sheer pleasure
o
f talking. It's their jive art f 
o
rm, their way
o
f inventing and expressing themselves. The m
o
vie is ab
o
ut basketball, and h
o
w an
o
ddc
o
uple
o
f playgr 
o
und hustlers (Wesley Snipes and W
oo
dy Harrels
o
n) angle f 
o
r the big sc
o
re, butit's ab
o
ut w
o
rds t
oo
. The play's the thing here, but that's n
o
t all. The play-by-play's the thing t
oo
.In the universe
o
f basketball, the playgr 
o
und is a w
o
rld unt
o
itself, with its
o
wn rules and pr 
o
t
o
c
o
l. It's where the game gets d
o
wn t
o
its mach
o
essence
o
f bravad
o
and humiliati
o
n, wherey
o
u either sm
o
ke
o
r get sm
o
ked. On the L
o
s
A
ngeles c
o
urts where "White Men Can't Jump" isset, Sidney (Snipes) is a sm
oo
thie king with liquid m
o
ves and a fly patter. F
o
r Sidney, taking itt
o
the rim isn't en
o
ugh, he's g
o
tta jam
o
n his man's eg
o
t
oo
, t
o
burn the br 
o
ther d
o
wn.
A
s he saysafter 
o
ne slashing drive, "It's hard w
o
rk making y
o
u l
oo
k s
o
bad, man!"This is where Billy (Harrels
o
n) c
o
mes in. Wearing baggy sh
o
rts, a backward-turned hat and asurfer-jerk shirt, he's
o
ne g
oo
fy-l
oo
king piece
o
f white meat.
A
nd that's the hustle. Playing
o
n thestreet ball prejudice that whites can't keep up with blacks, Billy lures Sidney int
o
a sh
oo
t
o
ut and,in fr 
o
nt
o
f all his friends, takes him f 
o
r every penny. Sidney has never been shut d
o
wn like that,and he feels it. But
o
nce the pain has passed, he realizes that teaming up with Billy c
o
uld mean achance at s
o
me real d
o
ugh, s
o
he swall
o
ws his pride and makes the man a pr 
o
 p
o
siti
o
n.Shelt
o
n, wh
o
plunged int
o
the religi
o
n
o
f baseball in "Bull Durham," w
o
rks
o
n a lessmetaphysical level here, but the results are
o
nly slightly less pleasurable. B
o
th films get d
o
wn t
o
 the essence
o
f the game, and, perhaps
o
f greater imp
o
rtance, d
o
wn t
o
the c
o
nnecti
o
ns betweenthe game and the players' lives. What Shelt
o
n als
o
gets at, th
o
ugh, is where the metaph
o
 between sp
o
rts and life breaks d
o
wn, where life is n
o
l
o
nger a game.
A
s in "Bull Durham," the physical sparring
o
n the c
o
urt is mirr 
o
red by the verbal sparring between the sexes. This is particularly true
o
f the scenes between Billy and his girlfriend, Gl
o
ria(
Ro
sie Perez), wh
o
spends endless h
o
urs h
o
led up in their h
o
tel r 
oo
m, cramming her head withuseless inf 
o
rmati
o
n in preparati
o
n f 
o
r the day "Je
o
 pardy!" calls. (She kn
o
ws all seven
o
f the
oo
ds that start with the letter Q.) The scene in which Gl
o
ria says she's thirsty but then bec
o
mesenraged when Billy resp
o
nds by getting her a glass
o
f water instead
o
f sympathizing -- that is,instead
o
f j
o
ining her "in the c
o
ncept
o
f dry-m
o
uthedness" -- is the m
o
vie's funniest. It's a battle
o
f the sexes straight
o
ut
o
f Deb
o
rah Tannen.Shelt
o
n's p
o
int is that white men and black men c
o
me cl
o
ser t
o
understanding each
o
ther thanmen and w
o
men
o
f any c
o
l
o
r. It's a buddy m
o
vie that explains why men cling t
o
their buddies inthe first place. N
o
t that the relati
o
nship between Sidney and Billy is a sm
oo
th-running affair.Because he and Gl
o
ria have been running
o
ne step ahead
o
f a c
o
uple
o
f h
oo
ds wh
o
'll kill them if they d
o
n't pay back the bundle they
o
we, Billy isn't in a p
o
siti
o
n t
o
say n
o
t
o
Sidney's
o
ffer.Putting their heads t
o
gether, they w
o
rk 
o
ut a f 
oo
lpr 
oo
f scam. Sidney arrives at the playgr 
o
und

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