Last week I got to talk a whole bunch about the New Jersey State Prison that was featured in the film Lock Up. Unfortunately, I was never employed by the Charlotte Hornets, so I can’t give similar insight for Juwanna Mann. Instead I’ll take this time to speak about the athletes that were featured in the film (that’s part of the reason it was chosen after all). In the film we got to see Jamal Jeffries play for the Charlotte Beat, a fictional team consisting of him, Vlade Divac, Muggsy Bogues, Dikembe Mutombo, and Rasheed Wallace. This would probably be the most entertaining team in the history of the NBA (two seven-footers, Jamal, the shortest player in the NBA, and Rassshhheeeeed Wallace!), but a trainwreck otherwise. As far as acting goes they were all pretty solid. I was pleasantly surprised. However, they were only featured in the opening scene, which is a shame. If I could have a wish granted regarding this film, it would be that there existed some cut scene where Rasheed shows up to try out for the Banshees dressed in drag, only to get quickly ushered out by Jamal. Rasheed reveals that he knows Juwanna is Jamal (“Balls don’t lie,” says Rasheed, pointing at Juwanna’s crotch) and wants in on the action. Jamal refuses and Rasheed promises to not reveal the secret. Having been neatly tied up, the plot point is never heard from again. Sigh… if only.
I certainly would wonder how it was possible that a man could play on the team for a whole season without having a physical/drug test reveal his gender. I would have to conclude that there was a conspiracy to let it happen (for increased ratings) or that the league was so financially strapped that simple physicals weren’t even conducted. Neither option would be a good look for the league.
By the way there is a fantastic MonoSklog in this film. We knew this film probably had a MonoSklog (because… well… it just would) and it really, really delivered. Big Momma’s House level banananananananas. I call it Mi Equipo Es muy bonito. Well worth checking out if you can find it (it does not appear to be on YouTube).
As for my BMTsolution: this film was not based on a book… but if it was it would be a 1970s postmodern novel about how Buffalo Braves star Jared Jefferson struggles to cope with the pressures of NBA stardom along with those related to his secret life as a man in the midst of a male-to-female sex change operation. I would have read the book and been touched by its stirring portrayal of Jared’s vulnerabilities in a world that has yet to know his true self. Then I would watch Juwanna Mann and realize what the film was trying to tell us all along: life’s too short. Laugh once in awhile. It would then go on to win the Smaddies Baddies Freddy Got Fingered Award for film that isn’t that bad. Alas, what could have been.
‘Ello everyone! Juwanna Mann? More like Iwanna Turn This Movie Off! Heeeeeyooooo. BMTsolution means I need to be positive …. I believe in myself, I can do this. Let’s get into it.
- Good – I thought Pollak, despite apparently having no desire to be in this film, was pretty solid, especially in the second half of the movie. The movie’s premise isn’t as ludicrous as I thought it would be. And the movie is charming in a we-aren’t-going-to-even-address-the-absurdity-so-don’t-even-worry-about-it kind of way.
- Bad – The premise is ludicrous and absurd. It only gets more so when they finally address the fact that Juwanna would have been immediately drug tested by the league, and then forget about it two seconds later.
- Nunez is okay, but there is no way a movie like this should rely on him.
- In something like Big Momma’s House or Norbit the makeup itself was enough to warrant the movie existing. It was legitimately impressive (there is a reason Norbit was nominated for an Oscar, the makeup). Here … Nunez pretty much wears some foundation and fake boobs. Congrats guys.
- I’ll end it just by saying: in the movie his team is allowed to continue playing in the playoffs after he is caught, WTF?! That is ridiculous.
Let’s do a new game called BMT News with George Sklogonopoulos. In this game I’ll pose a social-impact question from the recently watched movie and try and answer it. Here: If the events of Juwanna Mann occurred in real life what would this mean for the WNBA, and what would happen to Jefferies?
In my opinion: The playoffs would be suspended pending a large scale investigation and most of the high-level executives for the WNBA would be removed. Jamal Jefferies would be banned for life from all sporting activities and would become a pariah, especially once allegation of sexual assault are uncovered (and they would be, he assaults all of the women throughout the film). This would be the biggest sports story in history, so explosive it would potentially take down an entire league. And it would make an incredible movie eventually, a truly heart-breaking drama of a man who wanted to play basketball so badly he lied to the world. I’m tearing up here. Get Netflix on the horn, we’re doing a reboot of the franchise.