Friday, November 2, 2007

No. 21 - One on One

I remember when One on One came out. I was still in high school, and I really hated basketball. I mean, really hated it. I hated playing it in P.E. I was terrible at it. So in the summer of 1977, the last thing I wanted to see was a basketball movie. Also, Robbie Benson not only starred in it, he wrote it. In the wake of Rocky, all of a sudden actors started writing their own movies (Burt Young's Uncle Joe Shannon in 1978 is an example). Even a positive review in Time from Richard Schickel, a critic I respected, didn't get me to the multiplex.

A year later, I watched One on One on HBO. Against Rocky-like million-to-one odds, I actually enjoyed it. Even though it was about basketball. But, you see, like most good sports movies, it's not really about sports.

It was directed by Lamont Johnson, who also directed the 70's racing classic Last American Hero. Benson gives a good performance, and his script is good. G.D. Spradlin, a classic 70's actor, is great as the coach. Annette O'Toole plays the love interest. The film explores the milieu of collegiate sports much like a Michael Ritchie movie. It is certainly a much better basketball movie than Drive, He Said. And to top of the 70's-ness of it all, Seals and Crofts warble the mellow theme song.

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