Rock the Paint (2008) – By Brian Morton

 Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of sports movies…in fact; I may be the only person in the country who’s never even seen a Rocky movie! So, when I saw a basketball movie in my in-box, you can imagine that I was less than excited. Well, that movie, Rock the Paint, was not only better than I imagined, but it’s actually a great basketball movie that’s not entirely about basketball.

The story here is about Josh, a kid from small town Indiana, who’s on track to become an all-state basketball player in his town. When his father uproots them, and heads to Newark, New Jersey, you know that culture shock is on the horizon. And, to some small degree it is, but that’s not the centerpiece of the movie. Josh meets the local kids (all Black naturally) and there’s some initial conflict, but no more so than would ordinarily be there when there’s a new kid in town…no matter what race any of the kids are. Josh soon finds himself befriended by Antoine, and finds out that they’re both on the school’s basketball team. As the story unfolds, there’s some racial tension, but it’s initiated by Josh’s little brother (an annoying kid who…for lack of a more politically correct term…would be called a ‘wigger’). In the end, Josh and Antoine find that they have more in common than either would have imagined in the beginning.

Rock the Paint is a rare thing, a sports movie that’s not all about sports, basketball is a nice background for a story of friendship and race. And, with a soundtrack provided by Wyclef Jean, this is a movie that’s well worth your money! I’m giving Rock the Paint four out of four cigars, because, while I’m not a ‘sports guy’, I can actually say that I really enjoyed this movie. You can enjoy it for yourself by heading over to the Allumination Filmworks web site for more info. So, until next time, when I’ll be rethinking my opinion on sports movies, remember that the best movies are bad movies.