A LOTTA LOVE AND A LOTTA BASKETBALL
A review of the Worldfest Houstons Opening Night Film
LOVE AND BASKETBALL
Written and Directed by Gina Prince - Bythewood
By Theresa Hyde
April 7, 2000 Friday
The St. Thomas Episcopal School Band Bagpipes announced the arrival of Houston Royalty. Her
Royal Highness CYNTHIA COOPER, Womens National Basketball Association
Most Valuable Player, escorted by rising movie star hot hot hottie Oman Epps, paraded down
the movie theatre aisle after being introduced by Worldfest Houston International Film Festival
Chairman and Founding Director J. Hunter Todd. Her shiny evening dress accentuated her
beautiful feminine curves, especially those clearly defined biceps on her upper arm.
Wheres the basketball court? she asks the crowd, as Mr. J. Hunter Todd points to the big
movie screen. I was gonna take Omar on for a game, she says as the crowd cheered. The
Meyerland Plaza General Cinema theatre seemed so small as the roaring crowd and her enormous
regal presence filled the room.
Omar Epps, who is starring in the Opening Night Film LOVE AND BASKETBALL, as Quincy,
an offspring of an NBA veteran, thanked the crowd for coming out. I had a lot of fun making this
movie, he declares. Now, let me tell you how incredibly hot Omar Epps is right now. Never mind
the fact that his movie THE WOOD is currently playing on Pay Per View all month long, I spotted
him on TV again Wednesday night as I was working out at the local gym. MTV had their 1999
Movie Awards on, and he stepped onstage with Taye Diggs to introduce Bawitdaba by Kid Rock.
As I watch him in person sitting a few rows back, he seems so shy now as he turned his head down
(L-R) Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan star in LOVE AND BASKETBALL, written and directed by Gina Prince - Bythewood.
LOVE AND BASKETBALL is a movie written and directed by Gina Prince Bythewood, a
former UCLA basketball player. Even though this movie is written by a female who is making her
feature film directorial debut, it does not come across as a chick flick girl movie. The
screenplay for LOVE AND BASKETBALL, Prince Bythewoods first original was accepted to
both the equally prestigious Sundance Institutes Writers Lab and Directors Lab. Produced by
Spike Lee, Sam Kitt and Andrew Z. Davis, the movie stars Sanaa Lathan, who is attractive and
engaging as the tomboyish Angela. The cast also includes Dennis Haysbert, Kyla Pratt, Debbi
Morgan, Tyra Banks and the passionate Alfre Woodard, who plays the reliable and steadfast
(L-R) Camille Kenney and Brad McCrea talks about LOVE AND BASKETBALL, a film written and directed by Gina Prince - Bythewood.
I talked to CAMILLE KENNEY of the Amazon Xociety, whose motto is:
Dedicated to the empowerment of women in practical ways!
Theresa: What do you think of the movie LOVE AND BASKETBALL?
Camille: I liked it a lot. I really identified with it. Not just for the basketball, and not just being a
typical, or what people think a female basketball player should be. You know, she (Angela played
by Sanaa Lathan) wanted to play basketball and they didnt understand it. And they thought she
was strange, that girls shouldnt be playing basketball and they didnt understand.
Theresa: I was wondering how close this movie was to being the story of Cynthia Cooper
Camille: I know that the director used to play basketball for UCLA.
Brad McCrea: Cynthia Cooper went to USC, she traveled to foreign countries and played
international for a while, just like the Angela character in the movie.
Theresa: What do you think of the music?
Camille: The soundtrack was excellent, old school jams. I think everybody thats in their twenties
and thirties, they grew up with those songs. And those dances
Theresa: It got pretty emotional there
Camille: I wasnt crying, cause I didnt know how it was gonna end. I didnt know if she was
gonna give up her career for him. In the whole, I think the movie is in balance, a story for the new
millennium. Because it is!
Theresa: She became successful with her basketball career
Camille: And he has the baby, and theyre waving, while moms working. And it feels good that
women have the opportunity now, that they can actually make money doing what they love to do.
She could play basketball but she couldnt have it all.
Theresa: And shes trying to work at the bank, and wear high heels
Camille: See, Ive been there too. I identified with her.
Theresa: Also, a group discussion was held, which consisted of Film Festival attendees BEN
SCOTT, TONYA WILLIAMS, KIMBERLY WILLIAMS, JAMARA WILKES, and BRAD
McCREA. We completely dissected the film.
(L-R) Tonya Williams, Theresa Hyde and Ben Scott discuss LOVE AND BASKETBALL, a film written and directed by Gina Prince - Bythewood.
Theresa: What do you think of the movie LOVE AND BASKETBALL?
Ben: A lotta love and a lotta basketball. Its a wonderful movie.
Tonya: What I like about it is, now I like basketball, but I also liked the romance, it made me
happy and sad, it made me cry
Ben: It made everybody cry. It had a lot of family values too, really strong family ties. I just cant
wait to see it again.
Theresa: How about Omar Epps performance?
Ben: Oh great, but I think she (Sanaa Lathan who plays Angela) was definitely awesome.
Tonya: Her emotions, and the expressions on her face, thats what got to me more than anything
Theresa: Sanaa Lathan was more beautiful than Victorias Secret Supermodel Tyra Banks because
of her emotions and despite the fact that shes sporting a scar on her left cheek.
Ben: Definitely more appealing.
Theresa: What do you think of Alfre Woodard, who played the mother?
Tonya: She was subtle, but she made a point.
Ben: What I got from her was that it took a lot of strength, not just to play the role, but her position.
Because it takes a lot of strength to subdue your own wants and needs
Theresa: And to slap your own daughter
Jamara: I didnt expect that at all
Theresa: What is your favorite part of the movie?
Jamara: Oooooh, favorite part? (giggles) Im not gonna say my favorite part but it was a great
Theresa: In the Strip-Basketball scene, Omar Epps did reveal a little more of himself. Now I know
why Cynthia Cooper was looking for the basketball court in the theater. Id be looking for one too,
if I were standing next to Mr. Hottie.
(L-R) Kimberly Williams, Theresa Hyde and Jamara Wilkes discuss LOVE AND BASKETBALL, a film written and directed by Gina Prince - Bythewood.
Kimberly: I thought the movie was very realistic, very good. I like movies better for their realism.
My favorite part was when she (Angela) asked him (Quincy) to play her one last game, one on
one, and when he asked why, she said, For your heart. That was my favorite part.
Ben: That was mine, too.
Kimberly: Yeah, and he looked like, What? And she was so serious with him. And then he
agreed to play the one last game.
Ben: She just made me think of something, when he said Double or nothing
., that was
Theresa: (the whole group responds in agreement) Oh yeah
Kimberly: Yeah, that was a great comeback. I have to give him a little credit for that. Heres a little
criticism, I think that in some parts, he was a little too hard on her at times. Because if he really
loved her, he coulda cut her some slack. But in five years, he only tried to call her two times? Hes
been in love with her since she was 10 years old. I know that his dad (played by Dennis Haysbert)
had a lot to do with it. But it just seemed like, if she was his best friend, why didnt he call her
more? That was the only thing I didnt like.
Theresa: But you know if it were easy, they wouldnt have made the movie.
Kimberly: I didnt expect it to be easy, because I know how arrogant basketball players can be.
You can expect basketball players to be arrogant, but only to a certain extent. And they never
forget where they came from or the people that were there for them before. Now, Im not saying
that all basketball players are arrogant, but they do start to take on like a Charles Barkley.
Everybody has a little bit of Charles Barkley in them. You know Michael Jordan was nice, but he
still had some kinda attitude in him. He probably deals with it in a different way. Thats how you
can tell hes so macho, like he has to have things his way. And I still like the Omar character, but he
could have been nicer.
Tonya: That was actually the same debate that we had
Ben: I was thinking that he should have definitely looked her up first. After he got his head straight,
more than anybody else, because they had this love affair and friendship.
Kimberly: He didnt really get his head straight, though. You could tell a little bit that he was still
kinda battling. He couldnt end it with his dad, he couldnt even talk to him. He told his dad to
Tonya: I didnt like that part either.
Kimberly: He couldnt even let bygones be bygones. He is so afraid of getting hurt. He is so afraid
of the pain that his dad caused him, even when she came back from Spain to visit him in the
hospital. And I do like the part where Alfre Woodard told her to fight.
Ben: Yeah, yeah
Kimberly: That was like her way of working through her daughter
Jamara: Because her daughter had given up on him, too.
Ben: When her mom told her she admired the fight in her.
Kimberly: I just thought they were going their separate ways. In another sense, they were trying to
show how easy it is for men and how hard it is for women. I thought that was gonna tear them
Tonya: They both had their highs and their lows.
Kimberly: He couldnt understand why she had to go for her curfew. They didnt have pressures on
him like they had on her.
Ben: It wasnt like she just left, I mean, she did have responsibilities.
Kimberly: Thats the part about being in a relationship
Ben: Exactly what I thought. But then again, she coulda stayed too. But it would have jeopardized
her basketball career.
Kimberly: But knowing her and knowing her love for basketball
Kimberly: Why would you ask somebody you love to put something as important as that on the
Jamara: With the situation with his parents, he couldnt see anything else with his dad being
unfaithful. Why would he even take it out on her?
Ben: Thank you. Thank you.
Jamara: But he knew shes already having trouble on the team.
Ben: But it was tough for him dealing with his mother, too. I felt pretty bad with his mother crying
like that. Thats why I couldnt understand why he would turn around and do the same thing to this
woman, seeing his mother really hurt.
Kimberly: But he was honest with Angela.
Theresa: Thats right.
Kimberly: He didnt lie about it.
Ben: But he put it in her face, though.
Kimberly: That just shows that he wouldnt do the same thing that his dad did. Because he knows
that everything that his dad told him was a lie. He felt like, Im just gonna keep it real. Im not
gonna lie about it anymore.
Ben: I was looking at how bad she felt though. Thats pretty bad.
Kimberly: Thats another problem that made me mad, cause he came back arrogant instead of
apologizing for what he did.
Tonya: Thats what I was trying to get to understand too, was that the reason why he wasnt as
forgiving was because he was hurt. And thats only human nature, sometimes you hold onto some
grudges and its hard to let it go. And I dont think that he was being mean, but I just think that he
didnt know how to express it, or tell his father. When he started crying with his father, thats when
I started crying. I really wanted his father to walk over there and hug him, but he didnt. It still
ended there, I didnt like that part.
Kimberly: That was the realistic part. It would have been just another movie, if they woulda
hugged, you know?
Kimberly: So I think thats why the director, she really deserved props for that movie because she
really kept it real. She kept you down to earth and grounded with it.
Theresa: Im so proud of the fact that the movie is written and directed by a woman. I mean, she
directed the love scenes, the basketball scenes. I cant help thinking that she is the female Spike
Kimberly: And thats what Ben said. He said, I could tell that Spike Lee had his influence in the
Ben: Yeah, thats right. I just couldnt understand how you could cut friends loose like that, for a
whole five years.
Kimberly: I dont either.
Ben: I cant understand that.
Kimberly: I guess it worked out perfectly. I guess that shows how fate controls your life. He got
her. The person that was there before, was there for him. And the person that came in for the
money. If he would have told Tyra Banks that he was going back to her, Tyra Banks would have
Ben: Yeah (laughs) I was hoping to see that part.
Kimberly: The soundtrack was excellent. I would advise anybody that likes old music from the
eighties, and even early nineties to get the soundtrack to this movie. That was gooooood music.
Ben: Uh-huh, yeah. I was boppin all the way through, man
..(starts shakin his hips).
Kimberly: Me too!
Tonya: They did a remake of a song, what was that song when she was in her bedroom? That
soundtrack was the bomb!!!
Kimberly: You know with the eighties, oooooh, I remember that song!!! I WANNA BE YOUR
MAN (starts singin) What was the name of that song, at the dance? Thats not COMPUTER
Brad: No, thats I WANNA BE YOUR MAN!
Kimberly: I WANNA BE YOUR MAN, that was sooooo good.
Ben: (laughs) What was I doing back then?
Theresa: (everyones having a good time, reminiscing)
Ben: You know what I thought they were gonna do at the dance? I thought they were gonna leave
each others partner, come over and start dancing with each other.
Brad: I thought about that, too.
Kimberly: I like the fact that at the end, they both were curious about how each other was doing.
(laughs) I like that.
Ben: (laughs) Oh yeah, oh yeah.
Tonya: I love that dance scene. (laughs) Girl!!!
Ben: What was that little pop dance, what was that? I cant remember the name.
Kimberly: (laughs) I took me back, though. I can remember everything like when I was in my
twenties. Even the clothes they had on. Did you see that black t-shirt he had on?
Brad: And the over alls with one over the shoulder
Ben: I was checkin out the hairdos
Brad: With the corn rows, and the streak, the three on the side.
Kimberly: And the one with her with one side clipped up and the other side coming out. Soooo
eighties, that was so eighties.
Ben: It looked like they were going back to Soul Train, like they dug up some of them old films.
Kimberly: They must have (laughs). And then that silver dress that the girl had on, Omars date.
The one with the big waistband, you know what Im talkin about? The front is two sides draped
over each shoulder, and the back is bare.
Theresa: Like that old prom dress.
Tonya: Theyre bringing it back.
Kimberly: That was Soul Train right there.
Theresa: But they did end up together that night. That was the best love scene (every one agrees)
Ben: I kinda had a feelin that something like that was gonna happen. (laughs)