This is the first installment of a new series entitled, “Your Favorite Film is Trash”.
It came to my attention recently, while viewing this classic for what has to be the 10th time that this film is garbage. You’re probably thinking, “yo, what the FUCK is Obes talking about? That movie is great,” and until recently, I would’ve been inclined to agree with you. Upon further review, though, I have to say that this movie is actually trash and problematic for a few reasons. 5 reasons to be exact:
- Q is trash his whole life and still gets everything he wants in the end
In the beginning of the film, we’re introduced to 11 year old Quincy and Monica playing basketball for the first time. Q doesn’t think girls can play basketball, like most boys that age, and retaliates with violence once Monica and her team are about to beat his in basketball. This leaves her with a permanent scar on her face (although honestly, this was probably only put in to explain the scar Sanaa Lathan has on her face in real life)
For whatever reason, he maintains this strange hostility towards Monica for the rest of the film (more on that later). We later see Q engage in the following acts of trash:
- He cheats on Monica for refusing to miss curfew to talk to him after he finds out his dad lied about cheating on his mom
- On some real shit, it was extremely selfish of him to ask her to do this when he knew that missing curfew would mean she lost her starting spot.
- This is especially bad when you consider that she offered to talk further in her dorm room
- Also, THEY WERE 18 YEARS OLD. Her main focus was, and rightfully should have been, playing basketball and going to class
- Upon finding out his dad lied to him, he enters the NBA draft before he’s ready to punish his father
- This ends up being a huge mistake that ruins Quincy’s life
- Last, but not least, he leaves his fiancee (played by Tyra Banks) for Monica two weeks before they were to be married
- Mind you, he hadn’t seen or talked to Monica in 5 years at this point. How does he just drop everything for Monica like that when they only dated for what could be, at maximum, 9 months?
2. The film’s writers have no understanding of how college recruiting works
One major problem I have with the film is how they handle Monica’s college recruiting process, it doesn’t make any sense:
- She’s the star player on a team that is now in the state championship game. In real life, a player of her caliber would go to summer camps at schools that she was interested in and coaches would know about her through their networks of college and high school coaches. Then, they’d start recruiting her around her sophomore and junior years of high school before finally sending an offer. The film writers don’t know any of this. They instead have two different sets of college coaches, one from UCLA and one from USC, come to see her unannounced and then don’t talk to her after the game. How are you gonna recruit someone to your school if you don’t have any sort of relationship with them?
- When USC finally comes through with an offer, they send it to her house in an envelope. Monica is too nervous so she has Q open it and tell her the good news. Wait a minute. You mean to tell me that the coaches haven’t had any contact with Monica’s coaches or family? They’ve never even talked to her before? How do they know she’s not already committed to another school? In real life coaches talk with almost every player they recruit whether they offer them or not. By this stage in the game, Monica would already know whether or not USC was going to offer because the coaches would have talked with her. In all honesty, she’d have had offers from dozens of schools by now and would be picking from one of those. There would be little chance that USC would be able to just swoop in at the end and sign her the way they do in the film.
- Finally, and this is something I’ve talked about on the podcast before, don’t you think if a powerhouse program like USC or UCLA is recruiting Monica that a smaller school like Fresno State would be too?
3. …The writers also don’t really have a good handle on sports in general
It becomes clear very quickly that the writers don’t quite understand how sports work. For instance, Monica’s team plays…well it doesn’t really matter who the fuck it was, in the state semifinals which take place at Crenshaw HS…for some reason. She gets a technical foul for taunting an opponent and the coach responds by taking her out…for the remainder of the game. This is mind-numbing for a few reasons:
- She’s very clearly the teams best player
- A coach from UCLA was there to see her play (ignore what I said about recruiting for a moment)
- THIS WAS THE SEMIFINALS, if they lose this game the season is over. Not a great time to be teaching lessons “coach”
So it’s bad enough that the state semifinals are played at Crenshaw High’s gym, giving them homecourt advantage, but the state championship game is played there too? Now I’m from Delaware, which is the second smallest state in these here United States and we played our semifinals and championship games for boys and girls at the University of Delaware’s arena. There’s no way California schools are playing their title games in a high school gym, which is something you would know if you ever played sports.
Additionally, when Sidra and Monica play each other in European championship after college, they’re surprised to see each other in the tunnel on their way on to the floor to play the game. Why is this the first time either of them realized they’re getting ready to play each other? Did the two teams not do any scouting? Were there no articles about the game beforehand? How is it that, before the biggest game of the year, neither of them knew who it was they’d be playing? Bullshit, fam. Bullshit.
4. Monica is treated like Quincy’s dog
One of the first things 11 year old Quincy says regarding Monica is “what a dog lulz.”
It seems like just a throwaway line but looking closer, that’s exactly what the movie makes Monica. “How so?” you might be asking, I’ll tell you: Monica and Q start dating right after spring formal in high school…and Monica never dates anyone else again after that. Why is that notable? If you recall, I talked about when Q started cheating on Monica for not “being there” for him when his dad let him down (and by “being there” I mean throwing her athletic career away for a guy she’d dated for less than a year). We first see him talking to a girl right in from of Monica at a party, then we see him have the same girl meet him at his dorm when knows Monica is planning to be there (and he greets Monica like nothing’s wrong, only to hug and kiss another woman right in front of her). Finally, they have a confrontation in front her dorm. Quincy explains that he only talked to this other girl because, and I quote, “at least she had time for me” NIGGA, Monica offered to continue talking with Q the night he found out about his dad in her dorm (which may or may not have been against team rules, we don’t know), she stayed with him after seeing him with ol girl at the party, AND she stayed with him after seeing him with ol girl at his dorm. When has she ever skipped out on him? I’ll answer that for you, she hasn’t. And even with all that, he had the nerve to blame her for their split…and then SHE apologizes to him and asks him to stay when he decides to end their relationship.
To make matters worse, the film doesn’t give any indication that she dated anyone else in the 5 years between after he left school and when she runs back into him 2 weeks before he’s to be married but there she is asking to play one on one for his heart. She’s absurdly loyal to him in a way dogs are to their masters. It all comes full circle. We open and close the movie with Quincy finding his dog.
5. Monica’s mother is weird and out of touch in a very strange way
It’s not that strange that Monica’s mother, a very prissy woman, would prefer that her daughter not be so much of a tomboy. I’ve known prissy moms with tomboy daughters, I’m sure you have too. What IS strange is that Monica’s mom only went to 2 of Monica’s estimated 1,000 basketball games in her life. That’s odd considering she supposedly loves her daughter. There’s also the driveway incident after Monica confronts Q and his side chick. Monica is very clearly upset and her mother, understandably, asks if everything is ok. Monica says no in the way you do when the answer is very clearly yes and the mom responds with, “…ok,” then tells her “it’s just a game”, because yes that’s the right thing to say to an athlete who you think is upset about losing a basketball game. (by the way, why didn’t she know that Monica hadn’t just come from a game? You ever seen a sports parent who knew less about their kid’s sports?) The incident that really threw me was Monica talking to her mother in the kitchen after finding out about Q being engaged
After some light pleasantries we’re off to the races with Monica finally revealing that she never liked that her mom didn’t stand up for herself. It’s a pretty adult thing to admit to a parent but her mom reacts by slapping her across the face at which point Monica apologizes (for at least the second time when she wasn’t at fault). Her mom then makes matters worse by stating that the moment she remembers most about Monica was the first time she saw her in makeup. Really? Monica has all kinds of all-state awards, was first team All-American in college, and played professionally in Europe but the moment that sticks out the most to her mother is the first time she put on make up? Fam, get the entire fuck outta here.
You add all these up and I think you can see, Love and Basketball is trash.
Questions, comments, concerns, and hatred can be directed in Obes’ direction at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter