Monday, August 9, 2010

Hurricane Season

Directed by Tim Story
2009. Rated PG-13, 102 minutes.
Forest Whitaker
Taraji P. Henson
Robbie Jones
Isaiah Washington
Courtney B. Vance
Bonnie Hunt
J. B. Smoove
Shad Moss
Bow Wow
Lil’ Wayne

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, high school basketball coach Al Collins (Whitaker) forges ahead through basketball season with a makeshift team.

It’s a movie that’s hard not to like based on the subject matter, alone. Wisely enough, though there is plenty of actual footage of the wreckage Katrina left behind, they aren’t lingering and constant to the point that the manipulation becomes unbearable. It’s there, Coach Collins is trying to deal with it and move on.

HS is also a hard movie to love. For starters, it’s too short. It only skims the surface of most of the situations it reveals, never letting them play out satisfactorily. What we get are a lot of different things touched on but underdeveloped. In the end, most things are resolved because, well, mostly just because. The logistics of the season are reduced to very minor obstacles. For instance, when we see the team’s home gym in the days immediately after the storm, it’s barely standing. The floor is completely destroyed, the baskets are leaning and seem to be hanging on for dear life and the bleachers are unfit for even one behind, let alone the hundreds they were originally intended to hold. We see the coach and the custodian/bus driver scraping up the carnage with shovels. They are joined by a couple players. That’s all until we next see the gym which has been fully restored to pristine conditions and is ready for action. This epitomizes the movie as a whole. It’s full of the magical fixes the real victims of Katrina were looking for.

One storyline that is nicely fleshed out is that of would-be star player Brian (Jones). Given that this particular storyline doesn’t get started until well into the movie it becomes an unexpected but welcome centerpiece. Its father-son angle is well-worn but also well done.

Katrina left filmmakers with another backdrop for compelling drama. The potential for greatness is indeed there for HS. It pretends to reach for it but never really does. It’s a nice, harmless feel-good flick that only hints at real issues, then skirts them. It is definitely enjoyable but not quite satisfying.

The Opposite View: Brian Orndorf, DVD Talk

What the Internet Says: 6.1/10 on (8/9/10), N/A on, N/A on

MY SCORE: 6/10

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