CFF Review: Ted Stenson’s ‘Events Transpiring Before, During, and After a High School Basketball Game’
If you’re interested in a nostalgia-soaked comedy that’s a literal slice of high school life (or even if you’re not), then Ted Stenson’s “Events Transpiring Before, During, and After a High School Basketball Game” is absolutely a perfect film for you! Set in 1999 Calgary, the story follows multiple storylines involving a wide variety of high school students that are all unfolding simultaneously as the school partakes in a home basketball game that’s almost guaranteed to end in a loss.
Throughout the course of the events that transpire during the game (pun intended) you’re be presented with a roster of characters among which you’ll surely be able to find someone reminiscent of yourself, as well as other people you knew in high school. There’s not a single well-known actor in sight, yet every single performance feels incredibly genuine. You’ll share moments with counter-culture theater students who want to make a statement disagreeing with one another on the execution, a basketball team comprised of stereotypical but nuanced high school archetypes (including a carefree stoner, a film buff trying to explain “The Matrix”, and a nerd that just doesn’t want to get dunked on) who honestly couldn’t care less about the game, a struggling referee (who between arguing with his wife and losing their dog misses basically the entire game), and the two basketball coaches who couldn’t be more different in their approach to coaching, among others. That’s the strongest aspect of this movie by far is the honesty with which it depicts both the teens and adults; they all feel like fully realized human beings you’ve encountered in your life before.
The cinematography isn’t flashy, it’s subtle and sufficient because it doesn’t have to be anything more. The humor, the heart, and the genuine nature of the characters within the movie are what make it great. It’s not at all a sports comedy either, as the basketball game is nothing more than a framing device driving the character interactions; there’s not a single frame of actual basketball being played throughout the seventy-five minute runtime, only shots of the events unfolding on sidelines and in the stands.
It’s rare that a movie containing nearly nothing in the way of compelling events and character victories can leave the viewer feeling as empowered as this one does when it ends. There’s something so wholesome and honest about the events that transpire before, during, and after this high school basketball game that there’s almost no way someone could watch this and not feel uplifted by the time the credits roll. A universally recommendable comedy that you won’t want to miss, and you can sweat your nostalgia out on Tubi, Amazon Prime, and VOD now.