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Above the Rim (1994)

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Story of a promising high school basketball star and his relationships with two brothers, one a drug dealer and the other a former basketball star fallen on hard times and now employed as a security guard.

Director:

Jeff Pollack

Writers:

Jeff Pollack (story), Benny Medina (story) | 2 more credits »
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Duane Martin ... Kyle Lee Watson
Leon ... Shep
Tupac Shakur ... Birdie
David Bailey ... Rollins
Tonya Pinkins ... Mailika
Marlon Wayans ... Bugaloo
Bernie Mac ... Flip
Byron Minns ... Monroe
Wood Harris ... Motaw (as Sherwin David Harris)
Shawn Michael Howard ... Bobby
Henry Simmons ... Starnes (as Henry Simmons II)
Iris Little Thomas ... Waitress
Michael Rispoli ... Richie
Eric Nies ... Montrose
Bill Rafferty Bill Rafferty ... Himself (as Bill Raftery)
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Storyline

Story of Kyle-Lee Watson, a promising high school basketball star, and his relationships with Birdie, a powerful drug dealer, and Birdie's brother, Thomas 'Shep' Sheppard, himself once a promising high school star at Kyle's school, now employed as a security guard. Written by <xDiezel21x@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Hardest Part Of Winning Is Choosing Sides. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Sport | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong language, and for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Above the Rim - Nahe am Abgrund See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,738,800, 27 March 1994

Gross USA:

$16,192,320

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,192,320
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

New Line Cinema See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tonya Pinkins played Duane Martin's mother, although in real life Tonya is only three years his senior. See more »

Goofs

During the final basketball game Birdie's bandanna changes positions multiple times. See more »

Quotes

Bugaloo: Yo, Kyle, tell this funny-looking nigga how long it took me to call you back after you beeped me.
Kyle-Lee: A couple of minutes.
Bugaloo: A couple of minutes, Mo. That's called good business. Prompt service. You know what I'm saying?
Motaw: Get the fuck out of my ear.
Bugaloo: Anyway, yo, Kyle, I told Birdie that you was in. Money was hyped. He had like an orgasm and shit. I think that nigger like winning more than money and twice as much as pussy and shit. Motherfucker jerk off to winning.
Motaw: Alright, you motherfuckers finished? ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

References Family Matters (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Stick 'Em Up
Performed by The Beastie Boys
Written by Adam Horovitz / Adam Yauch / Mike D (as Mike Diamond) / DJ Hurricane (as Wendell Fite)
Courtesy of Grand Royal Records
See more »

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User Reviews

Standard Urban Drama Without Any Drama
29 January 2018 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Above the Rim (1994)

** (out of 4)

Kyle (Duane Martin) is an intelligent black kid who is growing up in a rough neighborhood but he might have a way out when he gets some interest from various college scouts. Kyle's friend gets him involved with a drug dealer named Birdie (Tupac Shakur) who offers him some great stuff but he doesn't realize what might be connected to it.

When you look back at the early 90s, Hollywood was cranking out a lot of urban dramas thanks in large part to the sucess of BOYZ N THE HOOD. These urban dramas look at a variety of situations so it was only a matter of time before the basketball courts became the plot and the end result is ABOVE THE RIM.

I don't think there's any doubt that the filmmakers had their hearts in the right place but the movie just doesn't work as well as it should have. The biggest problem is that there's really nothing new here. You've got a smart kid who isn't bright enough to see why he shouldn't be connected to this drug dealer. You've got the bright kid who is also a whiz at basketball, which is going to attrack sharks because of the money aspect.

All of this is told is a familiar fashion and what's worse is the fact that it doesn't throw us any surprises or anything else for that matter. The film and the characters basically play out as you'd expect them to so there's really nothing here that keeps the drama up.

The one saving grace are the performances, which include nice work from Martin, Leon and Marlon Wayans. You've also got a nice performance from Bernie Mac in a supporting bit. The film belongs to Shakur, however, you once again showed what a major talent he was in the acting field.


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