Events Transpiring Before, During, and After a High School Basketball Game (CIFF 2020)

If ever there was a movie that felt like a mid-season episode of a sitcom, it’s this one. Events Transpiring Before, During, and After a High School Basketball Game takes a large group of characters, gives them simple, achievable goals, and has them try to achieve them. That’s the whole movie. So why does it feel like a mid-season sitcom episode? Because each individual storyline is very barren that the only way it would work is if we have some prior attachment to the character involved. The film doesn’t give us that. As such, it doesn’t succeed in drawing us in or making us care about anything that happens.

Essentially, every character gets boiled down to one or two ambitions and the vast majority of their dialogue and actions are about that thing. An assistant basketball coach really, really, really wants to install a new offensive scheme, for example. And that’s all there is to that person. One of the basketball players is really into the deep philosophical implications of The Matrix—and almost every dialogue exchange with this character is about that. This pattern repeats over and over to the point that we learn nothing of consequence about everyone and wish instead that the movie chose to focus on one of these individual storylines and flesh it out instead of constantly cutting between them and giving us nothing substantive. What would work in a sitcom format where we already know who these people are falters in the way that it’s presented here.

I mention sitcom specifically instead of the more general television show because Events Transpiring Before, During, and After a High School Basketball Game is a comedy. There are some laughs and it’s not ever boring, although some of it will also induce cringes in the audience—some intentional, some not. It does feel authentic and captures the late-’90s atmosphere well, and its mix of professional and new-to-acting actors are solid. If it were adapted into a television show, it’d be worth watching. I’d like to get to know these characters and follow them in their lives. But as a feature film and an introduction to them? It’s a distraction and not the worst way to spend 75 minutes, but it doesn’t do much for anyone watching it except pass the time.

Conclusion: Events Transpiring Before, During, and After a High School Basketball Game is too thin to work as a standalone movie.

Recommendation: There’s charm to it but Events Transpiring Before, During, and After a High School Basketball Game is too lacking to recommend.

  • 4/10
    Rating - 4/10

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