Saturday, 23 September 2023

‘Hustle’ feel-good sports film; all things shark on TV


A feel-good sports movie can be a heartwarming pleasure even if the game is not one that you may follow with the dedication of a true fan. That’s the case here for this reviewer in Adam Sandler’s basketball-oriented “Hustle” on Netflix.

I have to admit partiality to major league baseball, football, hockey and occasional trips to the racetrack to place a few bets on the ponies. As for basketball, the names of today’s players are mostly not on my radar.

Most of us recognize former NBA stars like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain, and in many cases even former players like Doc Rivers and Julius Erving, better known as Dr. J of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Interestingly, Rivers and Dr. J figure into Adam Sandler’s nifty film, considering his character is Stanley Sugerman, a talent scout for the Philadelphia basketball team and a former college hoops player at Temple University.

It may stretch the imagination a bit too far to envision Sandler as an erstwhile player, but his character’s love for the game is so impressive that such thoughts are quickly dispelled.

Having grown weary of being on the road all the time and missing his daughter’s birthdays, Stanley is relieved when 76ers team owner Rex Merrick (Robert Duvall) promotes him to the long-coveted position of assistant coach.

Lugging baggage through airports and lonely nights in hotel rooms are not fun for a middle-aged man, and spending more at home with wife Teresa (Queen Latifah) and teen daughter Alex (Jordan Hull) will be joyful.

With the sudden death of the team owner, Merrick’s arrogant son Vince (Ben Foster) takes over and decides to send Stanley on a European tour to find what he calls the team’s “missing piece” for an NBA finals win.

Vince is such an odious punk that he doesn’t mind telling Stanley that he won’t be home for his daughter’s next birthday. One firmly hopes that the new boss will get his comeuppance.

Ending up in Mallorca, Spain, Stanley encounters Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangomez, an actual NBA player), a streetball hustler with a troubled past who proves to be unbeatable in one-on-one basketball games.

Taking care of his mother and young daughter, Bo fears losing his construction job when Stanley promises to be his mentor with an opportunity to play professional ball in America.

Back in the States, Bo’s passion and skill for the game does not immediately impress Vince and other executives, but Stanley has faith and empathy for his prospect and decides to invest his own time and money to train him properly.

The road to an NBA career is bumpy as Bo must prove himself against other prospects in the Combine, especially his nemesis Kermit Wilts (NBA player Anthony Edwards), a menacing presence who taunts the Spaniard with trash-talk about his family.

It doesn’t take a sports fan to figure out the eventual ending to a fairytale story of redemption and achievement, but watching the chemistry between Adam Sandler and Juancho Hernangomez makes “Hustle” an enjoyable and cheerful pleasure.

Bottom line for “Hustle” is that you don’t have to be a basketball fan to appreciate the passion and heart of the player and mentor leading to triumph over adversity.


For the last several decades, “Shark Week” has been a successful programming block on the Discovery Channel, and as summer draws people to the beach the return of this popular program gets underway on Sunday, July 24.

The 34th installment of “Shark Week” promises new locations across the globe and cutting-edge technology that offers revelations about the mating and migration patterns of sharks.

A celebrity twist to this year’s program will be the Impractical Jokers, whose act involves out-daring and humiliating each other, using their antics for a hysterical adventure of shark education.

National Geographic Channel celebrates its ten years of “Sharkfest” with more action-packed programming across more platforms than ever before that include Disney+, ESPN, ABC, Hulu and Nat Geo WILD.

Starting on July 10, “Sharkfest” allows viewers to sink their teeth into almost 30 hours of original programming and over 60 hours of enhanced content featuring captivating science and stunning visuals of the iconic apex predator.

“Sharkfest” aims to not only shine a light on the science of sharks, giving audiences a better understanding of the ocean’s most misunderstood predator, but also features their true beauty, power and mystery.

The six-episode series “When Sharks Attack” explores the rise of shark attacks in North America and beyond. What causes the alarming uptick in human and shark encounters?

Scientists investigate first-hand accounts, uncovering clues and details that will unravel the mystery behind the terrifying shark attack spike. Reminiscent of fear generated by “Jaws,” the answers will impact beachgoers around the globe.

“Shark Beach with Chris Hemsworth” features the Australian actor, known to many as “Thor,” on a mission to uncover the science of shark behavior and discover how humans and sharks can safely coexist.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

Upcoming Calendar

09.23.2023 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
California Coastal Cleanup Day
09.23.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Lakeport Splash-In at Clear Lake
09.23.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
09.23.2023 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Passion Play fundraiser
09.24.2023 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Acme Foundation 25th anniversary celebration
09.26.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
09.27.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Town hall on homelessness
09.28.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
09.30.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.05.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center

Mini Calendar



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