Ray Allen & Spike Lee discussing ‘He Got Game’ sequel – This is why it would be a huge mistake
“Sequels to most movies are always fluff and not as good as the first. But it’s something we’ve been talking about for the last couple months. If we get a really good story line and are able to bring everybody back, then it would be something worth doing.” – Ray Allen on a sequel to the 1998 film He Got Game
I’m sure it would help the NBA sell some Miami Heat jerseys that say Shuttlesworth on the back but unlike the Miami Heat or The Fast & Furious Films, He Got Game is not a bankable franchise. It’s not even a franchise. It wasn’t even a hit in theaters or on DVD. But that’s not why I’m saying this film has disaster written all over it.
Let me first state that I’ve been a Spike Lee fan since the 80’s, pre Do The Right The Thing, and supported him through the Ernest Dickerson era to his super experimental projects when he was confusing audiences by showing 1/3 of Crooklyn in an anamorphically squeezed image to using mini-DV cameras to film Bamboozled and even contributed to his crowd funding film project on Kickstarter last year.
So as a fan I can tell you that he’s in a major slump. After his biggest box office hit ever, Inside Man, he put out the box office bomb “Miracle at St. Anna,” the self-funded critically panned and audience ignored “Red Hook Summer” and then one of the biggest box office bombs of all-time last month with the release of the remake of Park Chan Wook’s masterpiece “Old Boy.” Spike’s unnecessary $30 million retelling of one of the best films of the decade grossed a little over $1 million over a Holiday opening weekend.
What’s sad is Spike Lee raised more money ($1.4 million) on Kickstarter to fund his new Spike Lee Joint than Old Boy could in the movie theaters during those 5 days. Then again, Spike was giving out film credits, phone calls with him, movie memorabilia and a chance to sit with him at a Knicks game for contributing to the film that “is not a remake of Blacula.”
He knows he needs a hit and he knows studios aren’t in any hurry to greenlight anything with his name on it right now so the best way to generate buzz is to capitalize off some NBA marketing buzz and mess around with the idea of making a sequel to a film that makes no sense to have a sequel other than to make money.
DENZEL & ROSARIO
One person they haven’t talked to about this was the lead actor of He Got Game – Denzel Washington. What many people don’t know is Denzel was disappointed with the original film. He didn’t dislike it but he thought a lot of his best work didn’t make it into the final cut. Although Denzel and Spike have a great history together and are working on a sequel to Inside Man, which has a character that could exist in a franchise, I don’t see why the Oscar winner would consider this sequel especially since his character’s story has been told. The real story of He Got Game was the story of a father finding redemption and earning his son’s forgiveness and via a very cool and surreal ending, that happened. The end. What else needs to be said.
People would also like to see Rosario Dawson back because she is now a well known actress unlike in 1997 when only people who saw “Kids” knew who she was. Again, what is left to be said about her character and relationship with Jesus?
THE BEST SCENES
Think about all of the great moments of the film including the love letter to basketball at the beginning of the film that featured the beautiful cinematography of Malik Hassan Sayeed and the music of Aaron Copeland. Those opening credits wont be topped and where Copeland’s music mixed between Public Enemy tracks felt fresh and fitting in the original, it would probably feel redundant and forced in a sequel.
There was also a great moment/love letter to Earl Monroe in the film. The scene explained how Ray Allen’s character got the name Jesus Shuttlesworth and allowed Spike Lee to share with the world a player that the Knicks “put shackles on.”
Then there’s the name of the film. Can we take it seriously if it’s called “He Got Game too” or “He Still Got Game?” I have a title recommendation. “Do the right thing Spike and don’t bamboozle us with a summer movie starring Malcolm X and Old Boy Ray Allen hoping it will be mo better than She Hate Me because it probably wont be!”
I still think Spike has some great films and documentaries in him but I don’t see Lee breaking out of his slump with this one, even with a hot shooting Ray Allen.
Enjoy the full film below