NBA Oscars: Movies with that special NBA touch
Are you ready for 3-pointers from somewhere way down the red carpet? Slam dunking in tuxedos? Crossover dribbles in spiked heels? With the Oscars set to tip off Sunday night, it occurs to us that there were plenty of movies released in the past year that could have used an NBA touch:
La La Land — Stuck in typical Los Angeles freeway traffic and going nowhere for the past five years, the land of the once-proud Lakers breaks out into song and dance with the return of Magic Johnson to his familiar role of leading man. Here’s hoping he can sing better than Ryan Gosling.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — A long time ago (6 1/2 seasons) in a galaxy far far away, an evil emperor sets out to destroy the planet Sacramento from within, then is freed to take his potent Death Star to New Orleans.
Lion — Deserted by his so-called best friend, who takes a long train ride from the heartland to the West Coast, a young man roars as he hunts triple-doubles, discovers his true identity and finds love in Oklahoma City.
Fences — After a long four-plus years of anger, frustration and disappointment in the Washington backcourt, John Wall and Bradley finally mend their emotional fences and lift the Wizards into the conversation as real contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — A secret community of spell-casting wizards named Steph, Klay, Draymond and Kevin comes out of Oakland to wreak havoc and put the basketball world under their control and do battle with the emperor LeBron.
Arrival — After two years of broken bones and sitting on the bench, an out-of-this-world creature by way of Cameroon makes a long-awaited debut on the court, but in the process the inhabitants of Philadelphia must learn an entirely new language — winning — along with more waiting.
Me Before You — Despite the fact that they’ve have had the NBA’s largest payroll two years running, bent over backwards to end Cleveland’s 52-year championship-less streak, gave his two pals J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson big paydays and brought in sharpshooter Kyle Korver, LeBron James wonders if the Cavs are fully-committed to winning.
Hidden Figures — While the headline grabbers in Cleveland and Golden State keep sucking all of the oxygen out of the room, Kawhi Leonard and his Spurs feel like they’re locked away in a different building, but keep right on churning toward a record 18th consecutive 50-win season, which might be harder than sending a rocket to the moon.
Deadpool — It’s just a single camera fixed on the foul water of Madison Square Garden, where the comic book characters keep changing every year and the R rating comes from the blue language of the perennially frustrated fans.
Suicide Squad — After trading three unprotected first-round draft picks in a package to Boston for a pair of dinosaurs named Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, the Nets try to fight off boredom and extinction in the Eastern Conference.
Inferno — Secret conspiracies, intricate codes and deep thinkers from history. Nothing has been able to solve the problem of stopping James Harden from piling up points all those points that can often make the Rockets unstoppable.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 — At 6-11 with arms that go to there, enough hops to run a brewery and talent that is exploding in Milwaukee, 22-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo lets out the secret that his 15-year-old brother Alex is really the best player in the family.
Nice Guys — Al Horford is the perfect compliment and teammate, Isaiah Thomas turned into a ticking fourth-quarter time bomb and Brad Stevens is the best young coach in the game. But these throwback Celtics just don’t seem to have the mean streak to win a championship.
Deepwater Horizon — Based on a true story, you go into the theater knowing how the movie will end. Nevertheless, the suspense steadily builds until Chris Paul or Blake Griffin — or both — go down with another injury and one more Clippers season explodes in a ball of flames.
Bad Santa 2 — Every year since he broke up the old gang back in 2011, team owner Mark Cuban has promised franchise icon Dirk Nowitzki that he’d stuff more championship teammates down his chimney. But all Dirk ever gets is stockings full of coal and Zaza Pachulia.
Ghostbusters — Nearly two decades after Michael Jordan walked out the door of the United Center, the Bulls have had stars — Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler — but still keep winding up getting slimed. Who ya’ gonna call?
Fran Blinebury has covered the NBA since 1977. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.
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