This hard-hitting college basketball drama (unreleased in UK cinemas) marks a notable return to form for William Friedkin. The movie has parallels with the documentary Hoop Dreams: both use the fate of promising young players to criticise capitalist structures. Heading an exceptionally strong cast, Nolte is magnificent as the team coach Pete Bell: a wounded, angry bear of a man. He loves the game, but under pressure from the college authorities to produce a winning team, he's tempted to bend the rules, to bribe three youngsters to sign for Western Uni. The pithy script is by Ron (White Men Can't Jump) Shelton, and Friedkin gets in so close to the games you feel on court yourself. Highly recommended.
Cast and crew
Nick Nolte Mary McDonnell JT Walsh Shaquille O'Neal Alfre Woodard Ed O'Neill Bob Cousy Anfernee 'Penny' Hardaway Matt Nover Larry Bird Lou Gossett Jr