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Just Wright (2010)
Episode 5224th January 2024 • Hip Hop Movie Club • Hip Hop Movie Club
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In this episode of Hip Hop Movie Club, we discuss the 2010 rom-com Just Wright, starring Queen Latifah and Common. We explore five key takeaways from the film, including Queen Latifah's talent as a rapper-turned-actor.

Also check out:

Stuart Scott's cultural prominence

Credits:

Hip Hop Movie Club is produced by your HHMCs JB, BooGie, and DynoWright. Theme music by BooGie. Follow @hiphopmovieclub on Instagram!

And remember:

Don't hate...articulate!

Mentioned in this episode:

Brain Freeze Trivia

Shout to Brain Freeze Trivia in the Lehigh Valley! Follow them @brain_freeze_trivia on Instagram

Transcripts

Speaker:

(Yo!) Welcome to Hip Hop Movie Club,

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the show that harmonizes the rhythm of hip

hop with the magic of movies.

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Today we're discussing Just Wright, a 2010

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romcom starring Queen Latifah and Common.

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We’re three old heads

who put their old heads together

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to vibe on these films for you.

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I'm DynoWright, podcaster,

filmmaker, long time

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hip hop fan, and my favorite song

with Common guesting on it

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is Respiration

from the first Black Star album.

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I’m JB, eighties and nineties

nostalgia junkie, longtime hip hop fan

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and I still marvel

at the use of the Geto Boys’

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“Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta”

in the movie Office Space.

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So good.

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I'm BooGie, a deejay, longtime

hip hop fan,

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and I have actually seen this movie

more times than I care to admit.

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In this

episode, we'll answer the question.

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Is Just Wright worth watching?

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(DJ scratch sound)

And you'll be a smarter hip hop fan.

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Five key takeaways at a time.

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Just Wright is a 2010 rom com,

which depicts a love triangle of sorts

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between a chief physical therapist,

Leslie, played by Queen Latifah,

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an NBA star played by Common and Leslie's

friend and godsister Morgan.

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(DJ scratch sound) We got five on it.

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Here are five key takeaways.

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Queen Latifah displays why she is on Mount

Rushmore of hip hop stars turned actors.

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Number two,

Common shows that he's a solid actor.

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Number three, the basketball scenes

are just mid like a mid-range jump shot.

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Number four, the plot is quite

formulaic and predictable.

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But hey, it's a rom-com.

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And number five, there are a couple

of actresses whose skills and experience

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are underutilized:

Pam Grier and Phylicia Rashad.

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All right.

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Let's talk

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about those five key takeaways

as our basis here.

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So the first one.

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Queen Latifah,

I mean, what more is there to say?

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She is on her Mount

Rushmore of hip hop stars turned actors.

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DynoWright,

you want to kick us off and talk

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about our Mount Rushmore

and why Queen Latifah is on it?

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Sure.

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We over the course of doing this podcast,

we've

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discussed in live events

and on the show here

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which of the four of the ones that

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started out as rappers and transitioned

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to acting - who were the ones that go

on the Mount Rushmore?

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And so in our discussions,

Queen Latifah came up a lot

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as someone who was successful

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rapper

and then became a successful actress.

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And she's been in

such a wide range of movies

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that a lot of success.

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So she rated for, at least for me,

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at least in the top four.

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Definitely.

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BooGie, you're a huge Queen Latifah fan

and she's from your hometown.

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What do you got to say about the Queen?

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Yeah, I mean, I have I mean, I have an

unconditional love for the Queen,

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but that bias has nothing to do with

why she's on our Mount Rushmore.

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I mean, she's a complete force

to be reckoned with.

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She delivers in this movie.

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She gives you all of the emotions.

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She comes across

as someone who's very likable.

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You want to root for throughout the movie.

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She's like a very genuine person.

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Everything that she does in this.

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film is something that's

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almost she's doing everything

for everyone else.

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And in the course of doing that,

you're like, Well, what about you?

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What about you?

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Then when things finally start going

well for her, you’re happy

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because of the way she portrayed

the Leslie character in this film.

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It's,

you know, I can go on, but I don't know.

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I don't want to bore the listeners.

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To coin a phrase that DynoWright uses.

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She eats up scenes

like she's just so real and natural

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from the camera and she can do it all.

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And she portrayed that in this movie

as well.

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DynoWright, have anything else to add on

Queen Latifah?

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I'll add that

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she's talented rapping, of course.

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It's funny.

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I talk to people sometimes younger folks.

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Nothing wrong with being younger,

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but they don't realize

that she started out as a rapper.

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Think, man,

there's a whole career you've missed.

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Yes. Which is just as good as her acting

career and also a talented singer.

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So there's three major talents

that she has.

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I've said this before, too,

but she's also great.

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And Last Holiday with L.L. Cool J

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and Stranger

Than Fiction with Will Ferrell, she

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plays a literary agent

in a supporting role

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to Emma Thompson

and she's terrific in that, too.

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I don't think I've ever seen a movie

that she wasn't good in.

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Yeah,

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I love Last Holiday.

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It's a great movie.

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I watched it a lot, too.

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It's one of my wife's favorites.

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But the other rapper turned

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actor

that is featured in this film is Common.

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So Common.

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Number two, Take away Common proves

that he's a solid actor in his own right.

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BooGie, what do you have to say

about Common's performance here?

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And how does he show that he's solid?

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Yeah, I mean, Common, he definitely shows

he's a solid actor in this movie.

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I love seeing Common on screen.

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There's something about the way he comes

across as a very genuine person,

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and I've seen him play different roles

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in his career.

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But in this particular movie,

he comes across as a genuinely nice guy

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and I feel almost too nice,

almost unbelievably nice,

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and to be in a film with the veteran

Queen Latifah,

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who's on

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Mount Rushmore,

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to be on a film with Queen Latifah

to who's on Mount Rushmore,

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he holds his own and the chemistry is

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definitely there and he's very believable.

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And you want to almost see them together

because of the way the interactions are.

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Even when it wasn't apparent that

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they were a couple, he was just like,

you know, being friendly.

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But you could definitely see that

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he was he was put his all into

the portrayal of Scott McKnight.

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And I think that he

was very good in this role.

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I agree.

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I found Common's character,

Scott McKnight, a super likable,

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very charismatic.

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Like you said, I thought he was too nice,

like an NBA star.

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Could they really be that nice,

especially a two time league MVP?

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Normally, they they have that edge.

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But maybe Steph Curry, somebody like that.

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But but no one else.

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It was just so nice.

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And he could see through

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the shallowness of someone like Morgan.

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DynoWright, anything to add on Common?

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Just to say that this is his first lead

role in a feature film.

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And by that point,

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Queen

Latifah has been in a lot of other things.

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So to hold his own against

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someone who's more experienced,

like Queen Latifah, he did really well.

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Yeah.

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(DJ scratch sound) Takeaway number three.

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The basketball scenes in this movie.

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I think they're just mid

like a mid-range jump shot.

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Just mid. Okay,

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so there's NBA footage in here or,

you know, supposed to be

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you know, it's

obviously a work of fiction.

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But I'll kick this off here

where I was thinking that

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man McKnight only had a couple of moves

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it's got of like a fake left.

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And roll what?

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Roll to the right.

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Hit a jumper or easy dunk.

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And I also thought that the game winning

three

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pointer buzzer beater

to to win the Eastern Conference

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finals was a little anticlimactic

the way that it was filmed.

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So if you're looking for wow,

I want to see a lot of NBA action,

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you're not going to see the type of action

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and the amount of action

you see in something like Above the Rim.

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So to me,

that took away a little bit from the film.

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Boogie, what's your take

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on the basketball scenes?

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yeah.

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I mean, the basketball,

I totally agree with you.

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With the best of the basketball season.

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What I do like about the film, though,

is that they actually did have some

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some key cameos from some actual players

and commentators

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in people

who just generally are around the game.

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So that made it'll be interesting.

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I love seeing

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Dwight Howard coming across Mr.

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Goofy Man.

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He’s just a funny guy.

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I mean, I love

I love seeing at the scenes with him

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because he's just so, just, just tall

and goofy acting but phenomenal player.

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But I mean, I see the interaction

between this

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like a friendly rivalry

between Scott and Dwayne Wade.

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You see where Rashard Lewis,

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you know,

Rajon Rondo was in there as well.

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Then we see that Rod Thorn I'm like,

Wow, they brought the big guns!

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You know?

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And so we stuff like that.

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It also

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part of Scott's upbringing.

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Well,

throughout his career, young and younger

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as he was a younger player,

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was he

he actually used to play at the Rucker

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and during his to his rehabilitation,

there's a scene where

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Leslie takes him

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back to the Rucker,

just kind of get him back to his roots

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and let him know that, hey, listen,

you're going through something, but

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look at these kids.

These kids still love you.

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They still appreciate you.

They still want to see you play.

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So you have them looking up to you.

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So, you know, let's push forward.

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So those aspects of the movie

in connection with basketball,

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I really enjoyed.

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But I do agree that

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that that the moves were

were they definitely weren't

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becoming of an

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NBA player

I mean he could actually play ball

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but there’s a difference in playing ball

and playing at the NBA level

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and you can definitely see the difference

in his movements

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as he's, you know,

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dribbling up the court and doing it,

you know, trying to crossover, etc..

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And yeah, that

that the best shot they could have.

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I wish they would have shot that

from a different angle, like maybe like,

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you know, slow motion or somebody with a

hand in his face or something like that.

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You got D-Wade playing D on you.

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D-Wade is not going to leave

you open for a shot like that.

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He’ll at least put his hands in your face.

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You might get fouled or something

like that would be cool or something.

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But yeah,

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I definitely agree with you on those ones.

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Good takes, BooGie.

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DynoWright, what are your

takes on the basketball scenes?

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I thought the scenes up until the game

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seven sequence were okay,

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the game seven sequences were not okay

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It was very perfunctory

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and just kind of shot

without any drama to them.

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But again, this is a romantic film,

not a basketball film or even a drama.

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So you sort of cut corners there

where you can and you sort of

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get to the point like you won the game.

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But other than that, I think

the basketball scenes were just all right.

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I think I had more fun

seeing the cameos and,

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you know,

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other figures in the basketball world,

like commentators,

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like I'm here for all the Mike Fratello

I can get.

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The Czar!

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Yeah, and Marv Albert. But

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yeah,

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like I said, I couldn't

get over the anticlimactic nature of that.

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It was no like confetti,

no huge celebration.

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It was almost like a game that happened

in midseason, a buzzer beater.

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It wasn't

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quite the pomp and circumstance

that I would have expected.

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Yeah. To go to the finals game.

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That's huge at home

yep And it really should have erupted.

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Yeah especially the hero

that had rehabbed all this time

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and he's like the Willis Reed moment

you know kind of

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Yeah.

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They should be carrying him off.

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Yeah.

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Court Yeah, yeah.

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They built up to that

and they didn't, they didn't pay it off.

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Didn’t pay it off, right.

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(DJ scratch sound) To be quite blunt,

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the plot itself is quite formulaic

and predictable.

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But hey, it's a romcom

and that's the nature of a rom com. So

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that's

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one thing to point out here

as our fourth takeaway.

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BooGIe,

you want to speak on that aspect of it.

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Yeah.

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I mean some rom com, you know,

what can we say.

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Right.

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But you know that the two of them

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are going to end up together

if you've seen the movie poster,

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I mean, as was the case with most

rom coms, that journey has a few twists

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and turns I won’t

really go get too much into all of them.

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But I mean, even not being a rom

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com junkie of sorts, I do enjoy

watching this movie every now and then.

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They, like I said,

I do love the chemistry between

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Queen Latifah and Common

when they were in the scenes together.

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And she's like, you know,

they're two of my favorite emcees

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and you just see them together acting.

This is pretty cool.

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But yeah, you're not going to get

a cinematic masterpiece out of this one

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DynoWright?

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What are your thoughts?

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Yeah, if you're hoping for something

innovative, just keep it moving.

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Yeah, I mean,

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not to give away the whole plot,

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but you can see the way it's going.

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You know,

you have the overzealous shallow friend

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who is literally devoted her life to marry

NBA star and living that lifestyle.

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And you have the other friend

who is your down home real one

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who has bad luck in the dating scene.

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And by the way, she's a physical therapist

and there’s an NBA star.

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I could have predicted right away

that, you know, he's going to get hurt.

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You know, he's going to rehab

rehab with her.

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And, you know, there'll be some sparks.

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You know how it's going to go.

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So but again, it doesn't mean -

just throw away the movie.

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But like, if you want on a cold winter

day, you know,

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you want a cute story

with some real legends in the cast.

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You know, Queen Latifah,

Common, Pam Grier, Phylicia Rashad.

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I would say

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it's like watching a sitcom episodes

innocuous, lighthearted,

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generally lighthearted, fun,

but very little suspense.

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Yeah,

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cuddle up and get some popcorn

and then just get it, get a go,

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you know, just watch something.

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Yeah, exactly.

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Yeah, yeah.

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Final takeaway.

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Fifth takeaway is

we feel that there were a couple actresses

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cast in this film

whose skills and experience

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were underutilized,

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specifically Pam Grier and Phylicia Rashad

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Boogie.

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What do you what do you say to that?

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Yeah,

I mean, you have Pam Grier, the legend,

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legendary actress Pam Grier, who's

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just she's all she's

almost a larger than life figure, just,

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you know, just saying her name

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and just seeing her presence on

screen is just like, wow.

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And then you have Phylicia Rashad,

who was one time one of America's

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favorite moms, played Clair Huxtable,

like raised like a nation of

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millions under her tutelage and like,

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you don't see much of them,

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which is a little disappointing.

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And I would have loved to see

a little more of Pam Grier,

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this character playing

Leslie Wright’s mother, and like

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there were some instances when, you know,

you see Phylicia Rashad,

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you do see a little slight

bit of the Clair Huxtable over there.

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But like that is much like, well,

with the with the Morgan character,

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I would have liked to see her

kind of tighten Morgan up a little bit,

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like she used to get on Elvin in the show,

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but she didn't

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get a chance to,

that would have been Pretty cool to see.

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But but yeah, I think that we could have

probably utilized them

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a little bit more

for their legendary you know, skill set.

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Yeah.

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I want to see Pam Grier a little bit

more like Jackie Brown.

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When Quentin Tarantino

brought her back for Jackie Brown.

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I was like, Yes, Pam Grier's

back in the spotlight and she's amazing.

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Like, you know,

she you know, all those great movies

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back in the seventies and

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it was kind of

like a more of a nondescript role.

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She was the mother.

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She was there and supportive

but underutilized.

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What do you think, DynoWright?

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I agree.

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I really think

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they've basically just had Clair Huxtable

play this role

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because, you know, she

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she kept Leslie honest

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like like she would any of the Huxtable

kids.

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And, you know, there's there's more

you could have done with that

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and is there more you could have done

with the star of a Pam Grier’s stature?

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I mean, that role was really underused,

I thought.

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I think we did see we got to we saw

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Phylicia Rashad as as

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Scott McKnight's mother some.

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But really,

you could have done more with her.

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But yeah,

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yeah.

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You'd hope for more.

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Yeah, I agree.

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I did like the role of

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Mrs..

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I'm sorry, Mr. Wright.

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Lloyd Wright, played by James Pickens Jr.

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He was very likable

as the father, as Queen Latifah's father.

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Yes. Yeah.

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Yeah.

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He was like a foundation piece for her.

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Someone very supportive. Pam

Grier was too.

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But I think she really leaned,

Leslie really leaned on her dad

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for the moral strength.

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You could have had more from Pam

Grier, could have asked more of her.

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She was clearly a daddy's girl.

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Yeah.

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You see him

constantly in the house that she really

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she just

purchased a home and he's over there

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constantly doing little work projects

around the house,

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like unprompted.

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He's just there all the time

doing something on the house. Yeah.

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And even when

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Leslie first meets Scott

and he's invited to the party

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in Scott's house, you know,

he said, Here, take.

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Take the keys to my car, give you the keys

to the deuce and a quarter.

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When, you know, things don't look

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like they're going to go too

well between Leslie and Scott,

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he was very vocal in saying,

hey, you know,

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if he doesn't want you,

you know, it's his mistake.

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You know, you're you're a good person.

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Just kind of constantly uplifted her.

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Definitely a great, great father

figure, the portrayal on film.

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Yeah.

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But going back to the sports

cameos, I'd be remiss

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if I didn't mention the late

great Stuart Scott, the former ESPN

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icon,

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great interview that he had with Scott

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McKnight and

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the moment where Scott realizes

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how impactful Leslie was in his comeback

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and he actually leaves the set

after the emotional interview.

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I need to go somewhere, you know,

he has to go meet up with her.

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And I think because he had the contract,

his contract was coming up

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and he was deciding whether to go to

Philly or stay in in the Nets job.

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And it came out around the same time

that she had the offer from multiple teams

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to be the physical therapist

or the trainer.

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So the athletic trainer. So yeah,

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it was great to see Stuart Scott. He

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he really lived and breathed hip hop

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and infused sports

and hip hop so well that

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he made it

so enjoyable to watch SportsCenter.

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Yeah, we miss him.

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Yeah, he he was the one that got me

hooked on SportsCenter

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and I would watch it every day

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just to see what he was going to say next.

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I'm like,

All right, we're just going to say

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now, what is he gonna say

now, what’s he gonna say now?

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Yeah, it was just such an amazing

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commentator in

I mean, I think it's so it's so good

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:

that the scene where Scott

finally came to realization that he wanted

407

:

wanted to be with Leslie

was when he was, with Stu Scott.

408

:

And it was just very emotional.

409

:

Every time I see that scene you know,

I choke up a little bit because

410

:

of my affinity for Stu Scott

and how much, you know,

411

:

I enjoyed watching him and just to see him

in that few minute portrayal.

412

:

Yeah, that was a highlight.

413

:

We should maybe put in the show notes

like a YouTube clip, if we can find of

414

:

some of Stuart Scott's hip hop references,

because I always look (that exists).

415

:

Yeah.

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:

There's got to be one

with a bunch of them in it.

417

:

I’m sure that exists.

418

:

Because

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:

that's my Venn

diagram is sports and the hip hop.

420

:

And he, he was at the center of that

and I see some of the guys

421

:

carry that on a little bit

like Scott Van Pelt and a few other guys.

422

:

Scott Van Pelt

did a great tribute to Phife Dawg

423

:

when he passed away

and I really enjoyed that.

424

:

And again, sports and hip hop

425

:

have a unique relationship

426

:

and Stuart Scott epitomized that.

427

:

He was like

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:

he was like the prototype like he was like

he was he

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:

busted the gate open,

and everybody was like wow.

430

:

We could actually do that?

431

:

Yeah.

432

:

yeah.

433

:

He just kicked the door open.

434

:

Yeah,

435

:

definitely. Yeah.

436

:

All right.

437

:

So we have our five key takeaways

that we hit you guys with at this point.

438

:

Why don't we go around and rate the movie

and answer the question

439

:

from the beginning of the episode:

is Just Wright worth watching?

440

:

Boogie, would you say for this movie?

441

:

I guess bring that funky flick back,

442

:

bring that funky flick back

or leave it in the vault?

443

:

Is this movie worth watching?

444

:

Yeah, I mean, I've I've.

445

:

I've watched it more times

than I can count, so I'm going to just

446

:

keep bringing that funky flick back

because it's it's formulated,

447

:

but I definitely enjoy watching it.

448

:

All right.

449

:

DynoWright, put you on the spot.

450

:

Bring that funky flick back

or leave it in the vault?

451

:

Was this movie worth watching?

452

:

I was going back and forth on this.

453

:

I will bring this funky flick back.

454

:

It's a cute movie.

455

:

It's got some stargazing for the

basketball fan in the late:

456

:

20 tens, and

457

:

it's got The Czar, Mike Fratello in it.

458

:

It's good enough for me, so

459

:

it's definitely worth watching.

460

:

Just for Queen Latifah

and Common, terrific performances.

461

:

Queen Latifah is never not good in a movie

she's in.

462

:

I will also say

bring this funky flick back.

463

:

It would not be in the top

464

:

echelon of hip hop themed movies,

but to your point, to both your points,

465

:

you know, legends in this Common,

Queen Latifah,

466

:

Pam Grier, Phylicia Rashad

467

:

and Stuart Scott and the cameos, Dwight

Howard, Dwayne Wade, etc., etc..

468

:

So yeah, stargazing, it’s

469

:

historical folks in this film

470

:

that you should check out.

471

:

Bring it! C’mon!

472

:

Bring it!

473

:

C’mon!

474

:

Hip Hop Movie Club is produced by your

HH emcees JB, BooGie and DynoWright.

475

:

Theme music by Boogie.

476

:

We got a bunch of live events

in the first half of:

477

:

you can learn more at our website:

HipHopMovieClub.com.

478

:

Come hang with us!

479

:

And whether you're listening

to the podcast or watching us on YouTube,

480

:

we appreciate you.

481

:

Thanks for tuning in.

482

:

Remember, don't hate.

483

:

Initiate.

484

:

Initiate.

485

:

Take that step, make that move.

486

:

The first step is the hardest.

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