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May 01, 2000 - Image 15

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2000-05-01

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The Michigan Daily - Monday. May 1. 2000 - 15

Epps, Lathan score in
Love and Basketball'

Christopher Cousino
Arts Wrter
s each spring season flowers in full
, Hollywood is always able to
rve its audience with something a little
w, a little fresh and ultimately, an utter-
enjoyable flick.
Last vear's "Go"
took us through a
day in the life of
those erratic late
Love and teen years, when
3asketball everything is pos-
r isible, conse-
irade: B+ quetces seem
t Qualty 16 & mininmal and
'w ho'case nothing actually
goes quite right.
This spring, the-
aters are dished an
assist from direc-
tor-writer Gina
Prince-Bythewood
d her film "Love and Basketball."
Audaciously mixing the rornance
and tle sports flick, Prince-
wood combines the stereotypically
minine and masculine genres into a
nny, emotional and exciting drama for

everyone about the blossoming on-and-
off-the-court relationship between two
aspiring basketball hopefuls, the tough,
quick-tempered Monica Wright (warmly
played by Sanaa Lathan) and dreamer,
hot shot Quincy McCall (Omar Epps).
Beginning in 1981, the film is broken
up into quarters (i.e. basketball), each
representing a segement of the charac-
ters' lives, ranging from childhood to
high school to college and beyond.
After schooling some kids in a game,
young Quincy is more than surprised
when a new challenger, young Monica,
steps to the court and removes her cap to
showv her long locks.
The budding relationship between the
two sets up in these early years as the 10-
year-old neighborhood kids play basket-
ball, ride bikes to school and experience
their first kiss.
While this could have been nostalgic
dribble, Prince-Bythewood achieves
some wonderfully funny chemistry
between the two. Hot shot Quincy boasts
the talk, aiming to be like his father Zeke
(Dennis Haysbert), a fictious L.A.
Clippers star, and gritty Monica walks
the walk, holding more than her own
when the two get into a fight.

Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps play a little one-on-one In 'Love and Basketball.'

This striking element of feminism in
Monica struggling to hold her own in
both a man's game (with Quincy) and the
world of women's basketball (with other
female players) is what makes "Love and
Basketball" such an entertaining film as
it works on several levels.
Yes, it could be a feminist story about
a girl trying to find herself However, it's
also about family: Quincy dreams to be
like his father Zeke and Monica strives
to be different than her stay-at-home
mom Camille (Alfre Woodard). And it's
a love story too, both between Quincy

and Monica and their love for the game.
The charming romance (sparked by
the comfortable chemistry between Epps
and Lathan) rises and falls as Quincy and
Monica grow together and apart through
the years in dealing with the standard
romance plot points (the high school
prom, dorm life, being college sweet-
hearts).
Prince-Bythewood never falls out of
bounds in being too schmaltzy or heavy-
handed with the material, attaining a bal-
anced emotional level in the perfor-
mances of Lathan and Epps.

Prince-Bythewood hits a game high in
the somewhat tired sports genre, adding
some fresh features such as shots of
Monica's point-of-view on the court dur-
ing a game.
And finally, here's a sports film that
doesn't come down to the final gatne, the
final shot, the final moment.
It's about people, not just the pride of
winning. Prince-Bythewood brought her
game to the theaters and all's fair in say-
ing: she messed around and got a lot
more than a triple-double in "Love and
Basketball."

Jrban myth of'Angels' shines

Jamie Winkler
lv Arts Wrter
Ancient Greek tragedies prove time-
ce again. The Detroit Repertory
eater's production of "The Angels of
mnos" successfully quotes Greek
thology in a modern issue -- home-
sness. The balanced and tightly writ-
script by Jim Henty takes its base
ectly from a Greek myth.
In the myth, Zeus throws Hephaistos
the heavens making him lame. A
lage on the Island of Lemnos nurses
Hephaistos back
to health before
his return to lteav-
en. Being in the
Angels cotmpany of such
L Lemnos kind people makes
roit Repertor him a forgiving
soul, able to with-
Thetg M stand the taunts of
other gods who
tmock his latmsed
leg. .
The company's
modern version of
this story follows
Nathan Spandrel,
an orphaned men-
y handicapped post-teen, who relies
the kindness of a community of
ieless people in downtown Detroit.
roughout the course of the two-hour
gicomedy, Spandrel reveals the hard-
ps that led him to the streets and his
i o "float" back to heaven.
e ard Owens, Jr. tackles the tough
of Nathan Spandrel. He definitely
ves his mark on the play, but seems to
ft in and out of his part. The entire
ight of the pdtformance is on his

shoulders and only- Zeus himself could
have succeeded at such a task. But
Owens keeps the energy up and the audi-
ence involved.
The true light of "Angels" is Roy
Dennison who plays Spandrel's confi-
dant Girtie Colter, a homeless man who
knows the streets and prides himself on
his honesty with police. He is natural,
believable and incredibly endearing.
Girtie ties in the mythological themes bv
giving advice from a mythology book he
has to remind him of his family. The
scene where he describes the loss of his
grandchildren is breathtaking. The lights
din to bathe him in an up-shooting red
light. Cast members double as rhythmic
instruments adding the beating heart to
his woeful tale.
Girtie also confronts the stereotype of
hotnelessness. He often tells Nathan
"don't get that faraway look in your eyes,
they'll think you're shooting up."
The curtain opens to a silent scene,
which introduces the audience to the
characters and the setting - a back alley
vaguely resembling a family room. The
cast of seven acts as lead characters,

minor characters and background.
The characters slip in and out of
scenes that flash back to Spandrel's
childhood. He remembers his loving
mother, his absent father, his first love,
his first sexual experiences, and his life's
nemesis: a fourth-grade teacher who
abused him. His losses in life make him
want to reunite with his mother in heav-
en, so he looks for a cold place to chill
his body to death. An abandoned baby,
who he plans to take to heaven with him,
recalls his lost childhood where he was a
"perfect being."
But the script is funny too. Who
wouldn't laugh at an awkward first date,
or a boy "discovering himself" thinking
about Wilma Flintstone or measuring a
run-over cat and calculating that in 45
days it would be flattened enough to
cover the entire world? There is real
humor in "The Angels of Lemnos," evi-
dent in lines such as, "The only thing a
bum's got in common with a college pro-
fessor - socks don't match"
In an interesting little theater in down-
town Detroit, this show is not to be
missed.

STAY HIP AND INFORMED ALLESUMMER
LONG. READ DAILY ARTS EVERY
MONDAY.
aa
22nd Ann Arbor Spring
Art Fair*
May 6 & 7, 2000
Audree Levy presents 160 of the finest artists and
craftspeople in the country.
Saturday
10am to 6pm
Sunday
- 11am to 5pm
Admission
$5.00
12 and under
FREE
Washtenaw Farm
Council Grounds
5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI
Indoor Show
2500 Free Parking Spaces
Exit 1-94 at Ann Arbor-Saline Road,
turn south and follow the signs.
Visit our web site to preview the artists'work and
sign up for the $100.00 Gift Certificate Drawing.
www.Ievyartfairs.com
Don't miss this very Special Event!
M

Pro-Choice
Pro-Environment
Republicans
*Attend the GOP Convention
*Intern in D.C.
*Campaign Opportunities
Call: 888-4-GOP-CHOICE (446-7246)
E-mail: info(ar ym.org

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