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Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The Student News Site of Thomas S. Wootton High School

Common Sense

The moviegoing experience: Are women’s basketball movies really that good?

Heidi+and+Heather+Burge+pose+with+a+fan+at+the+Capital+One+Arena.+The+Burge+twins+are+the+center+focus+of+the+2002+Disney+Channel+Original+Movie%2C+Double+Teamed.
Photo used with permission from Google Creative Commons
Heidi and Heather Burge pose with a fan at the Capital One Arena. The Burge twins are the center focus of the 2002 Disney Channel Original Movie, Double Teamed.

In March, spring begins to bloom and the Irish get a shower of love. Yet, there are two things that Americans zero in on: women’s rights and basketball. People gather around yearly to celebrate Women’s History Month and March Madness, however when you mix the two and add some spark you get one question: just how slam-dunk-worthy are WNBA movies?

Double Teamed (2002) – 3/10
Double Teamed is a direct-to-TV Disney Channel Original Movie following real-life twins in the WNBA, Heather and Heidi Burge. They’re meant to be identical, 14-years-old and 6’ foot 5’’. In reality, the actresses look nothing alike, but somehow both look like body doubles for Patricia Arquette in True Romance. They’re also eight years apart in age and only 5’ foot 9’’. You can’t help but feel annoyed when people mix them up.

Ignoring all of the flaws of the casting and the odd title, the story is strangely unrealistic. For example, Heather severely twists her ankle the day before the finals, and can barely get off the floor. She doesn’t go to the hospital or receive any medical care. While she’s sitting on the bench watching the team play the next day, she realizes that she has to be the one to score the winning goal. The writers and directors also seem to have never seen basketball in their lives. You barely see any playing, just close-ups of the ball.

Love & Basketball (2000) – 9/10
Love & Basketball is the directorial debut of Gina Prince-Bythewood, known for her 2022 drama The Woman King. If you aren’t that into basketball, the film has… love! Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps, the two main actors, have insane chemistry that helps the narrative flow smoothly and more easily. It’s perfectly paced and paired with an amazing and catchy soundtrack that matches the film’s R&B tone.

If you do like basketball, Prince-Bythewood is one of the only directors who understands the game. The characters’ connection with the sport is the thread of their relationship, whether they’re together or apart. It also highlights the differences between how men and women are treated in the industry, the standards they’re held to and the importance of having support behind you.

The Mighty Macs (2009) – 2/10
A biopic following Cathy Rush, a Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach who took on a low-paying job at a school run by nuns. The film premiered in 2009 at a small indie film festival. It wasn’t picked up for another two years because they couldn’t find a distributor, by the time it found a home, you could tell no one cared about the film anymore. It was barely promoted, but I wouldn’t promote a movie like this either. There’s an entire 30 minutes cut out of the movie that can only be found on the internet, solely because Disney acquired the rights and forced them to make the movie Rated-G, but it isn’t even on the Disney + catalogs. The only place to find it is on cable reruns or free services like YouTube and Pluto. The score and soundtrack are boring, and add nothing to the story. It also looks like they didn’t care to try with lighting aspects, which give the film a weirdly dark feel that it genuinely does not need.

The question of how good WNBA movies are may not have a simple answer. While some, like Love & Basketball, hit all the right notes with stellar performances and perfect pacing, others like Double Teamed and The Mighty Macs fall short due to poorly written scripts and lackluster execution. Despite these flaws, the potential for creating well-crafted women’s basketball narratives is still out there, waiting to be understood and brought to life on the big screen.

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