Watched O. No, not The Story of O, just O. Mary Anne and I saw a preview for it on a videotape a while back, and I thought, huh, looks like an interesting high-school basketball movie full of romance and jealousy. Mary Anne had to point out to me that it was an Othello retelling.

Mekhi Phifer is quite good in the lead as Odin "O" James, and Josh Hartnett is at least as good in the Iago role (a character named Hugo Goulding). (He kept reminding me of Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley, somehow, though they don't look much alike.) Unfortunately, Julia Stiles (one of the main reasons I wanted to see this) as Desi doesn't have much of a part; she does fine with what she's got, but she's done much better elsewhere. (In fact, I've liked her a lot in everything else I've seen of hers: Ten Things I Hate About You, State and Main, and Save the Last Dance.)

I'd say the movie's a decent adaptation (not that I remember the original well enough to say that), but nothing special. (A quick once-over of a detailed plot summary of the original reveals that the movie does quite a good job of mapping almost all of the major incidents of the play to a modern high school setting.) Some nice race stuff. Some weird camera work—unnecessary too-long establishing shots, filming Hartnett from a distance and through glass doors, etc. Overall, not nearly as good as Ten Things I Hate About You or Clueless in the high-school-adaptations genre, but much better than Cruel Intentions.

Seems like I've seen a bunch of movies featuring black high-school boys who play basketball in the past year or so. This, Love and Basketball, Finding Forrester. . . . I thought there was at least one more, but I can't think of it. Maybe I was thinking of Save the Last Dance, which didn't focus on a basketball player but did have an interracial romance featuring Julia Stiles.

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