Keeping up with our Valentines’ theme, we’ve brought in a special guest writer, the wonderful @okaykmay, to assist us in chronicling some of our heartwarming favorites for this not at all commercialized day. Enjoy!
Rotten Tomatoes: 82%
In honor of Galentine’s Day (I see you, Amy), I want to pay homage to what I (and most likely only I) believe is the most romantic love story of our age: Love & Basketball. Premiering in 2000, Love & Basketball coincided with the peak of my basketball ability and my first real crush, so what I’m trying to say is that this movie got me.
The story of next-door-neighbors Quincy and Monica, Love & Basketball chronicles their tumultuous yet wholesome relationship throughout their respective basketball careers. As a child Monica (Sanaa Lathan) is your typical tom-boy athlete who would much rather “play ball” than play with dolls or dress up with her sister (hollllllaaa). Quincy – played by a dreamy pre-House Omar Epps – has one dream and one dream only, to play in the NBA. His dad, Zeke – played by Dennis Haysbert of 24 and All-State fame – plays for LA Clippers (Ed.’s Note: also, this).From elementary school rivalry to college romance to the intricacies of adulthood, this movie reflects on everything from issues of gender inequality, infidelity, heartbreak, and more with a relateable, comical, and enviable love story.
Should I Pay to See It?
Subjectively, yes. But that’s only because that’s the only way you’ll be able to see it (unless you illegally stream it). For $2.99 on Amazon, you can relive the glory of Monica and Quincy whenever your heart desires (which will be always). Seriously though, good mood or bad, if you’re looking for a lazy-day-on-the-couch type of movie that can be watched again and again, this is worth the investment. Buy it if only for the unexpectedly stacked soundtrack (helllllooooooo Al Green and Me’Shell Ndegéocello) and for such hilarious exchanges between Monica and her mother as this.
Should I Watch It With a Date?
Easily. Who DOESN’T want their crush to ask you to “be their girl”? Just me? Okay. From first kisses to climbing through each other’s windows to dorm room strip basketball this movie is packed with simple but evocative romantic moments. It does a great job at creating a realistic relationship that includes adorable highs and painful lows, which makes the movie that much better. It’s not all sap and mushiness, but it’s not so dramatic that you lose sight of rooting for Q and Monica. Resist the urge to try and replicate the final scene though, because most likely both of you are neither beautiful enough nor athletically talented enough to pull it off (sorry, tough love).
Could I Watch it With My Mother?
It depends on how close you are with your mom, but I would say almost universally yes. While this movie does have its racier scenes (re: strip basketball), it’s still only rated PG-13 so there’s no nudity or even explicit raunchiness. Mothers will appreciate Monica’s strong, independent female lead. If I know my own mom, it would lead to a broader conversation regarding how girls can do anything that boys can do and that they don’t need a man to be happy. Given that being the first girl in the NBA was my own personal dream for all of elementary school, conversations like that would be welcome and not baseless.
Overall this movie is safe bet for almost any audience. Even the most stoic viewer will feel pangs of sympathy for Monica as she watches high school Quincy date other girls, or for Quincy when he finds out about his father’s infidelity. The movie tackles real issues that happen in real relationships, but remains light enough that, despite the baggage, all you want is for things to work out for Q and Monica in the end. Plus, Tyra Banks even makes a cameo, guys! For those who haven’t seen it, I’m not going to give away the ending, but let’s just say the phrase “double-or-nothing?” has never been the same. All’s fair in love and basketball, right?