The Heart Of The Game (Basketball Documentary)
Picture: C Sound: C+ Extras: B Documentary: B
another impressive sports documentary, Miramax and Disney have wisely backed
Ward Serrill’s The Heart Of The Game
(2005) telling the tale of a phenomenal girls basketball team called the
Roosevelt Roughriders who rise out of nowhere and become an amazing underdog
group playing their way to the top against all odds. Everyone has character and interesting dynamics
to contribute, but the coach (here Bill Resler, a one-time basketball
hopeful getting his due) and a star player (Darnellia Russell) who makes the
biggest difference of all.
nicely by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, we see the struggles, good times, bad times
and unusual situations this inner-city group has to endure and how it all comes
together. As they head for the big game
towards the end, Darnellia has a personal crisis when she becomes pregnant and
keeps her child. Now, with all the
anti-abortion rhetoric going on and talk about “family values” we have heard to
death, you would think she would be commended for making the “right choice” and
could continue her playing on the court, correct?
the governing body so objects to her personal life that she has to take them to
court to play and they cannot fault her academically since she is doing
exceptionally well there. Without giving
away what happens, this aspect of the true story was so outrageous that with
sports so often valued over academics at schools anyhow, one wonders if this
would not have happened if she had money, was connected to big money, had
prestigious parents, was white, was male or was not a black female from a tough
neighborhood. Did they think they needed
to make “an example” of her?
documentary never asks this, but I will.
If she was white or the school was going to make millions on her, you
bet they suddenly would have been buying diapers, giving out free daycare,
promising a scholarship and embracing her as one of God’s children and a future
pillar of the community. Instead, it
smacks of discrimination, which amounts to a metaphor for all the underdogs in
this work, including the white male coach who it turns out was himself
discriminated against in what could have been an amazing basketball career in
his own right had he been allowed to play.
The Heart Of The Game says
that if you have the talent, you can still make your mark without implying the
myth that success will always happen for those who have naïve enthusiasm.
good is hard work, then there are all those who cannot help but stand in your
way. Those who know the latter should
not be denied success just because they know the truth. Don’t miss this one.
enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is from much low definition digital and analog sources,
so it is not very sharp, clear or rich, but this is a documentary and that
becomes less annoying as the story becomes more involving. The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix tries to boost the
dialogue and sound recorded on the spot, but is fine for a documentary
presentation. Extras include deleted
scenes with a commentary option, full length audio commentary with Director
Serrill, a making of featurette and update on what has happened to some of the
team since this was released.
- Nicholas Sheffo