THE BASKET

Exquisitely Woven Masterpiece

Content +3
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: August 20, 1999

Starring: Peter Coyote, Karen Allen, Robert Karl Burke, Amber Willenborg, Jock MacDonald, Tony Lincoln, & Ellen Travolta

Genre: Historical Drama

Audience: All ages

Rating: PG

Runtime: 105 minutes

Address Comments To:

Sharon Lester
Privileged Communications
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Los Angeles, CA 90069
Phone: (310) 271-0202
Fax: (310) 271-2753

Content:

(CCC, BBB, L, V, M) Strong redemptive worldview with strong pastor & many moral virtues, although to get there you have to overcome prejudice & alieanation; 3 mild obscenities; some children scuffle, war time flashbacks with people being shot but not gruesome, various images of soldier who lost his leg, & threat of violence; no sex; no nudity; alcohol use; and, gambling partially rebuked, bigotry & prejudice overcome.

Summary:

THE BASKET is one of the most wholesome, uplifting, redemptive movies ever released. A new schoolteacher in a small town in the American Northwest during World War I uses opera and the newly invented game of basketball to help two German orphans who have been taken in by a strong Christian pastor.

Review:

THE BASKET is a redemptive masterpiece. This small movie, made in Spokane Washington of all places, is drawing rave reviews from everyone. Like THE STRAIGHT STORY and THE WINSLOW BOY, it tackles tough human conditions and resolves them with a redemptive grace. Unlike those two films, this movie was done by first timers, much like THE SPITFIRE GRILL, though without some of the foul language in that film. When the lead actor, Peter Coyote, stepped off a plane in Spokane, his first question was, “Who wrote the script?” As a screenwriter stepped forward, he said, “It’s good. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t.”

The story begins with an old man, Helmut Brink, opening a birthday present from his sister, Brigitta. It is a CD of a classic German opera, “Der Korb,” which means, “The Basket,” by Mueller. In her letter, Brigitta asks Helmut if he remembers. At that, the movie flashes back to 1918, where Brigitta and Helmut are two German orphans being sent to an internment camp in Spokane. Both their parents were killed in the war. After six months in the camp, the Reverend Dr. Douglas Simms houses them in his home. The Reverend Dr. Simms is the town doctor, the preacher and the undertaker of Waterville, Washington.

As Helmut and Brigitta are coming to Waterville, Ben Emery is coming back from World War I without his left leg. His father, Nicholas, hates the Germans for what they’ve done to his son and is seething with rage that Dr. Simms has brought in these two German children. Also at the same time, a new teacher is coming to town, Mr. Conlon, played by Peter Coyote. Conlon comes from Boston, Mass., and brings with him the new game of basketball, which he learned from its inventor.

Conlon doesn’t know whether or not he can teach the first day in the schoolhouse to ease the racial tensions between the two German children and the xenophobic town's children. He starts playing a German opera. The opera tells the story of a town in Germany being surrounded by barbarians. A mysterious stranger comes to town with a basket. The stranger tells them that the basket holds their victory over their enemy. Everyday in school, Conlon plays a little bit of this opera. The children go home to tell their parents the story, and like a mighty soap opera on TV, everyone wants to know what will happen next. Needless to say, Conlon also sets up a basket, so that the boys can play basketball. Helmut is the best shooter, but the other boys will not let him play.

Conlon finds out that a Spokane team with a winning record is challenging any other team to play them for a $500 purse. The town desperately needs this money and it seems that Conlon does too, to pay off some gambling debts that he incurred when he was a professional basketball player in Boston. In case you missed the metaphor, the German opera about the basket illuminates and elucidates the World War I story in Waterville.

When Mr. Emery’s son, Ben, dies, he wants the German children sent back to the internment camp. Violence and threats of violence are perpetrated in schoolboy scuffles and the destruction of Helmut’s prized basketball. Eventually, the big game comes and virtue, redemption and self-sacrifice triumph in a way that has never been seen before in a movie whose central motif is a sports game.

THE BASKET is one of the most wholesome, uplifting movies ever released. The quality of the production rivals a big budget Hollywood movie. Better yet, the emotional orchestration of the characters is perfectly balanced with the brilliantly nuanced plot. It deserves more than rave reviews from secular critics, it deserves attention from everyone who wants to commend the good.

If you like exciting, character driven dramas, THE BASKET will more than meet your expectations. It is a profound movie that all ages can enjoy.

In Brief:

THE BASKET is a redemptive masterpiece. This movie, made in Spokane Washington of all places, is drawing rave reviews from everyone. Starring Peter Coyote and Karen Allen, it tells the story of a new schoolteacher in a small town in the American Northwest during World War I who uses opera and the new game of basketball to help a pair of German orphans facing discrimination. The story includes a strong Christian pastor who takes the orphans into his home. Eventually, the big game comes and virtue, redemption and self-sacrifice triumph in a way that has never been seen before in a movie whose central motif is a sports game.

THE BASKET is one of the most wholesome, uplifting movies ever released. The quality of the production rivals a big budget Hollywood movie. Better yet, the emotional orchestration of the characters is perfectly balanced with the brilliantly nuanced plot. It deserves more than rave reviews from secular critics, it deserves attention from everyone who wants to commend the good. If you like exciting, character-driven dramas, THE BASKET will more than meet your expectations. It is a profound, redemptive movie that all ages can enjoy