Archive for Saturday, April 3, 2010

The basketball play’s the thing in ’Guru of Go’

April 3, 2010


From “The Blind Side” to “Hoosiers,” sports movies often remind us that real events can seem more incredible than fiction, and that some stories and characters might seem simply too good, too sentimental or too far-fetched if they weren’t already true. Add the sports documentary “Guru of Go” (3 p.m. Saturday, ABC) to that list of films.

Who would believe a Shakespeare scholar as a basketball coach who inspired his players with quotations from the Bard? The “Guru” here is coach Paul Westhead. His remarkable story takes him to the peaks of coaching Kareem Abdul Jabbar and a new kid named Magic Johnson to an NBA championship to getting fired in short order. He then accepts a coaching job for a relatively obscure college.

But at Loyola Marymount, he executed his “System,” a fast-paced, high-scoring strategy that some described as track meet and others denigrated as “street ball.” There Westhead also coached a remarkable tandem from the housing projects of his native Philadelphia, Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble.

With plot twists and turns worthy of a big-budget movie, “Guru,” directed by Bill Couturie, recalls how Loyola’s enchanted 1989-90 season came to a tragic halt when Gathers, born with an enlarged heart, collapsed and died on the court in the middle of a game. Kimble would later pay tribute to his fallen comrade with a gesture that left few dry eyes in the basketball world. The team would rally and come close to the NCAA championship that year, but that Hollywood ending was not to be.

• More than a half-century old, the 1956 epic “The Ten Commandments” (6 p.m. Saturday, ABC) has been a staple of Easter-weekend programming for decades and continues to command respectable ratings.

• TCM devotes Easter Sunday to films about religion or inspired by biblical tales, beginning with “One Foot in Heaven” (5 a.m., TCM) and concluding with the 1928 silent film “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (12:45 a.m.). Highlights include the 1973 hippie Jesus musical “Godspell” (7 a.m.).

Today’s highlights

• The final four tangle at the NCAA Basketball Tournament (5 p.m., CBS).

• Zac Efron leads the teen warbling in “High School Musical” (6 p.m., Disney) and “High School Musical 2” (7:50 p.m.).

• A teen takes on dragons and such in the 2006 fantasy “Eragon” (8 p.m., Syfy).

Sunday’s highlights

• Scheduled on “60 Minutes” (6 p.m., CBS): medicine for Uganda; patenting genes; smokeless tobacco.

• “Unfaithful: Stories of Betrayal” (8 p.m., Discovery Health) examines the psychology of cheating and why many think about infidelity and others act upon it.

• Down to business on New Britain on “The Pacific” (8 p.m., HBO).

• A serial killer cornered on “Cold Case” (9 p.m., CBS).


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