"In Camera" Magazine featured an article about The Playaz Court AKA
"The Court." Greg Morgan and cinematographer Jessica Gallant were
interviewed about the style and how it was shot. Check it out.
won the Aurora Award in the Best Low Budget Feature catagory for The Playaz Court!!
The Court is the
story of two brothers, Juwan, 25 and a graduate of law school, and Reggie, 18, and the
different ways they view their lives and importance within the city of Inglewood,
The story takes
place in a basketball gym on the hottest day of the summer. There is a bet made on a game
between Rick, the sole white player in the gym, and T-Bone, the cousin of Juwan and
Reggie. Ricks team loses -- he leaves. T-Bone goes to collect the money
its not there. T-Bone goes after Rick and a minute later theres a gunshot.
T-Bone is dead. Rick is gone. Reggie goes after him, finds him, shoots him in the leg and
drags him back into the gym. Why? To make Juwan kill Rick; to get Juwan back to street
level so they can relate again. Everyones screaming for blood. Juwan cant do
it his conscience wont let him do it. He insists on due process and they give
it to him: they put Rick on trial in their court.
simplest form, The Court could be seen as White Men Cant Jump meets The
Ox-Bow Incident. It is the story of two brothers, Juwan and Reggie Thompson, and the
different ways they view their lives and importance within the city of Inglewood.
Juwan, 25 years old,
went away to college on a basketball scholarship several years ago. Although he suffered a
knee injury, he got his degree and went on to law school. He returned to Inglewood to
marry his high school sweetheart, have a daughter and pass the California BAR exam. He
definitely wants out of Inglewood for himself and his family. They are trapped there
financially for now. Juwan has failed the BAR once.
Reggie, 18, is a
street hustler and gang member. He feels abandoned by Juwan and thinks hes an
"Uncle Tom." He has fallen into the street life under the misguidance of their
cousin, Terrence "T-Bone" Thompson, also 25. On the outside Reggies
content to be a hustler. On the inside, hes dying for the attention of Juwan as a
strong positive role model in his life.
The story opens with
Juwan and his best friend Lorenzo, a wannabe standup comic, going to play basketball at
the local gym. They meet with T-Bone and Reggie along the way. At the gym they run into a
few of the "regulars" and Rick, 25, white "All American" and seemingly
very out of place. Reggie and T-Bone are the only ones who outwardly object to Ricks
presence, but Rick has heard it all before and just continues to play.
After getting into
several verbal battles, Rick and T-Bone put their money where their mouth is and bet on a
game of four-on-four. Ricks team loses the game and Rick storms out. When T-Bone
goes to collect though, Ricks money is gone. T-Bone goes after Rick while the others
continue to play. After looking around fruitlessly, T-Bone searches the bathroom. After
searching all of the stalls, he turns to leave but cant as he is met with a
gun. He is shot but dies before he can tell who did it.
Everyone in the gym
hears the shot. They search but find no one and conclude it was some young punk having
fun. Juwan has a feeling something is still wrong. He continues to look and finds T-Bone
dead. Reggie is enraged and demands justice. Instead of calling 911 as he said he would,
he goes to find Rick, who hes sure did it. Rick is outside trying to find a phone
that works as his car is up on blocks. Reggie captures Rick and instead of shooting him,
he brings him back into the gym for Juwan to shoot a test of getting back at his
brother. Juwan, furious in the moment, wants to shoot Rick, but at the last second,
prevails with a cooler head. He knows its not right. He tells them they cant
just shoot him not without a trial.
So thats what
they give him: a trial in their Court.
arguments and a final key alibi, it becomes clear to everyone that Rick is innocent.
Everyone, that is, except Reggie who demands vengeance for T-Bone. Rick keeps talking
about the guy he suspects actually did the shooting, an enormous man he previously saw
walking in the hallways of the gym. Reggies sense of loss is deepened by the fact
that he feels responsible for T-Bones death. He knows the enormous man Rick is
talking about and had a "riff" with him.
Reggie goes to shoot
Rick but Juwan steps between them, telling Reggie if hes going to shoot Rick
hes going to have to take him out first. Reggie finally gives up and Rick is free.
By now, Rick is out of his mind with fear because of all hes been through. He grabs
a gun and holds it wildly, demanding that no one follow him out. As hes going to
leave, the police finally show up and see him with a gun. They shoot immediately, killing
him. Reggie is left with the image of a smoking gun and a dead body...an innocent dead
body and he is responsible. Juwan takes him under his arm.
Greg discusses the script with actor/writer Bob Cochrane.