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"SUNSET PARK"
(1996) (Rhea Perlman, Fredro Starr) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Minor Moderate None Mild
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild None None *Mild Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild None None Mild Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
A white female gym teacher takes over the head coaching position for a losing black basketball team.
PLOT:
Phyllis Saroka (RHEA PERLMAN) is a high school gym teacher who wants nothing more than to open a restaurant in the islands. But when her partner and lover leaves her, she decides to fill a varsity basketball team coaching vacancy to make some extra cash. The problem is, the team's a perennial loser and she doesn't know anything about basketball, let alone coaching it. The players, including Shorty (FREDRO STARR), Spaceman (TERRENCE DASHON HOWARD), Busy-Bee (DE'AUNDRE BONDS), Butter (JAMES HARRIS), Andre (ANTHONY HALL), and Drano (ANTWON TANNER) are individual and not team players and most don't want a woman as a coach. After some ups and downs with the players, she soon connects with them and they begin their winning ways. As they prepare for the championship game, things get dicey when Shorty is thrown off the team and the other players lose faith when they hear that Phyllis may be leaving after the season is over. She then must pull everyone together for that final game.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're basketball fans they probably will.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For some language and sexual references.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • None of the major characters are particularly good role models. The closest is the character played by RHEA PERLMAN as the coach who cares for the players when nobody else would. But she gets drunk in one scene, is noted for sleeping with a guy on their first date, and doesn't put an end to one player's habitual use of smoking pot as fast as she should have.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 2 out of 10
    In what is essentially a remake of the TV series, "The White Shadow," this movie follows the same plot but substitutes a female for the white male who takes over the coaching position of an all black team. Here you have the stereotypical high school players who have personal problems that are confronted by and ultimately resolved by the coach. And of course the movie ends with the team playing for the championship where the conclusion hangs on the last shot. All of that makes for an okay movie, but we've seen it so many times before that the use of a woman as the "change" to the plot isn't enough to override our saturation level of the story. The acting isn't especially good and the basketball scenes aren't choreographed in a way to draw us into the games. Overall, this would have made a better TV movie, but even at that, it might have pushed the audience's endurance for the repetitious plot. We give this one just a 2 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    While little kids probably won't want to see this one, late preteens, teens and those who are basketball fans will. One character is a habitual user of marijuana and is seen smoking it on several occasions. None of the players do anything about, and the coach only does so after some time. Meanwhile, she gets rather drunk and then encounters one of her players who is also drunk. Beyond that there's some sexual discussion, but nothing too severe and profanity includes 3 "f," 11 "s," and 3 slang terms for female genitals as the worst of the profanity. We suggest, as usual, that you read the category listings before allowing any children to see this movie.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • One of the players, Spaceman, is often seen smoking pot (marijuana) and Phyllis finally confronts him about this.
  • Phyllis says that Spaceman is on probation for using drugs and Shorty is also on probation for selling drugs.
  • Phyllis and two of her friends drink wine in a restaurant.
  • Phyllis and a friend are at a bar drinking beer.
  • A student on the street is seen smoking pot.
  • Phyllis is seen drinking in a bar and is drunk. She stumbles outside where she encounters Shorty (age 17) who is also drunk from drinking beer.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Shorty has a little blood on his head after getting hit there.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Several of the players don't want Phyllis as their coach since she's a woman.
  • Several students are talking during a movie and annoying Phyllis.
  • One of the players gives a heckler in the crowd "the finger."
  • An opposing coach won't shake Phyllis' hand before a game.
  • Shorty gets a bad attitude after Phyllis tells him that after the season's over she's leaving the team.
  • In court, Phyllis lies that Shorty was with her on the night of a shooting (see "Guns/Weapons").
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Knife: Held by Spaceman when he says he's going to kill another teacher for making fun of his braided hair. Phyllis talks him out of doing that.
  • Gun: Used to shoot Busy-Bee off camera and there's talk that the bullet passed right through his body.
  • Gun: Used by Shorty off camera to shoot at a guy who also had a gun and had earlier hit the girl he was interested in.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Nigger," "Bitches," "Shut up," "Bastard," "Idiots," "Sucker," "Piss," "Punk," "Screw it," and "Sit on a twizzler, *sshole."
  • One of the players gives a heckler in the crowd "the finger."
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • Several rap songs include the "s"word and hell.
  • Other rap songs had lyrics that couldn't be understood, thus more possibly objectionable material may be present.
  • PROFANITY
  • 3 "f" words, 11 "s" words, 3 slang terms for female genitals ("poonany"), 33 hells, 15 "ass" words, 14 damns, 5 SOB's, and 15 uses of "God damn," 2 uses of "Oh God," and 1 use each of "Jesus" and "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Phyllis sees two students kissing in the stairwell and says, "I've got three words for you -- Condom. I mean it."
  • A heckler in the crowd says, "I'd like to thank the man at the sperm bank for drinking on the job."
  • Shorty has written a letter to a girl he likes and in it he says, "....we can make love under the stars."
  • There's talk among the players of taking girls back to hotels and "getting some" (having sex), and one of them mentions that a girl came up to him on the subway, he stood between her legs and put his hand on "it" (presumably her genitals). He then says that she "came" (had an orgasm).
  • One of Phyllis' friends reminds her that she (Phyllis) had slept with a guy on their first date and the guy never called her again.
  • Shorty tells Phyllis that he's still a virgin.
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Playing as a team versus as individuals, and it's not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game.
  • VIOLENCE
  • There's the typical basketball violence where players get knocked over and/or push each other.
  • There are several locker room altercations, but the fighting players are quickly separated each time before the fight gets too serious.
  • There's some martial arts kicking and punching in a movie Phyllis goes to see.
  • Although not seen, Busy-Bee is shot when he wouldn't give up his expensive coat to an assailant, and it's mentioned that the bullet went right through him (but he's okay).
  • Spaceman shows Phyllis the large knife he says he's going to use to kill another teacher who made fun of his braided hair. Phyllis talks him out of doing that.
  • Phyllis pushes the above teacher up against the wall and threatens him not to make fun of her players anymore.
  • Although not seen, Shorty states that the girl he was interested in was hit by another guy so she came to him for protection. He then saw the guy and saw that he had a gun, so Shorty pulled his gun and shot at the guy, but missed.
  • While both of them are drunk and Phyllis is mad at Shorty, she goes to hit him, but both end up falling onto some steps (neither are hurt).



  • Reviewed November 25, 1996

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