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Defector At The Movies

Please Remove Jack Harlow From The ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ Reboot

Photo by Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

One summer, I believe it was the one between fifth and sixth grade, I watched White Men Can't Jump no less than 34 times. This is partly because one of the basic cable networks—it must have been USA or TNT—showed it basically every single afternoon, and I spent a lot of days just laying around at home doing nothing. But I also watched the movie so many times because I loved it. It's so good! It is, as my man John Keats once said, a thing of beauty, which is also a joy forever.

I tell you all of this so that you will understand that I do not make the following statement lightly: The United States government must intervene to prevent Jack Harlow from starring in the White Men Can't Jump remake.

If you are unfamiliar with Jack Harlow, all you need to know about him is that he is a white rapper who released a single in 2020 called "Tyler Herro." I suppose I could argue that the casting of a white rapper, who puts a great deal of effort into flaunting his whiteness within a predominantly black art form, to play a character who is defined by the seething insecurity that comes from trying to earn respect in a predominantly black sport, is exactly the sort of meta, too-cute-by-half stunt casting that makes so many reboots unbearable. But there is a much simpler argument to be made against Harlow becoming Billy Hoyle, which is that he's a boring drip! Something like 90 percent of White Men Can't Jump's commercial success and critical acclaim is owed to the crackling chemistry between Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes, and Rosie Perez, and yet someone thought it would be a good idea to cast a dopey rapper who always talks like he just woke up from a seven-hour nap in this movie.

The memory of Harrelson's performance will not make life easy on anyone daring to revive the character of Billy Hoyle. So if not Jack Harlow, then who should be entrusted with such a significant responsibility? You fool. You clown. That is the wrong question. Think bigger. The right question is this: Why waste our time with a White Men Can't Jump reboot, when instead we could make a sequel?

Check this out: It's 2022. Billy Hoyle's daughter is a top freshman recruit at Arizona. Sidney Deane's daughter is a sophomore at UCLA. The two start a fight with each other during a regular-season game, kicking off a brawl that results in them both being kicked off their respective teams. Six months later, they run into each other playing in the parks in New York, and they eventually decide to team up and enter a streetball tournament. Will they win? Will they lose? Will they become best friends, or enemies for life? Will Harrelson and Snipes be making a surprise cameo in the third act? You bet they will, buddy!

I will await a phone call and an offer of several million dollars from Hollywood.

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