Ananth Pandian has a beard, two little dogs and owns too many esoteric basketball related t-shirts. He lives in Boston and he’s addicted to the NBA and chap-stick.

Who doesn’t love a good movie? Whether we’re trying to eat a gallon of popcorn at the theater just to get a free refill or testing the limits of our home speakers, movies take us out of the present and in to another reality, if only for a few hours. Likely due to the lockout, NBA TV is trying to cash in on the allure of movies by debuting Courtside Cinema.

And while NBA TV’s Courtside Cinema lineup of “Space Jam,” “One on One” and “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh” are great movies that I could enjoy with my bros but wifey ain’t gonna curl up on the couch with me to watch any of ‘em. With that in mind, here are three romantic comedies that can help us get our basketball fix during the lockout while keeping your significant other happy.

Forget Paris (1995) – An oldie but a goodie, “Forget Paris” was written, directed and starred in by Billy Crystal. He has not been in that many movies recently, but during the 80’s and 90’s, he was doing big things. If you’re a big Larry David fan, you’ll be pleasantly surprised that their comedy is very similar. I first watched this movie more than 10 years ago and recently re-watched it with wifey (Netflix Instant!) and urge you to do the same.

Plot: Crystal is a NBA referee who goes to France for his father’s funeral and ends up meeting the woman of his dreams. After a brief courtship, they end up getting married. There are some great mid-90s NBA cameos and many players have speaking roles; look for appearances from “Thunder” Dan Majerle, Spud Webb, Charles Oakley (!) and, of course, Kurt Rambis, who makes a great glasses joke.

Great Quote:

Mickey: You’re out of here, Jabbar!
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Are you nuts? It’s my farewell game.
Mickey: Well then, let me be the first to say farewell.

For your girl: Paris (the City of Love!), relationships are looked at from a woman’s and man’s point of view, mid-90s fashion to ridicule.

For you: Amazing NBA cameos, a funny masturbation scene, the actresses who play NBA cheerleaders.

Rating:  (out of 5)

Just Wright (2010)– I have never been a fan of hip-hop artists acting in movies, probably because Mos Def decided he wanted to become an actor after “Black On Both Sides” came out which resulted in a garbage second album. Its wild to think that Queen Latifah used to be one of the main female voices in hip-hop but is now solely an actress. She’s actually good and it looks like Common may be trying to follow in her footsteps, as this is his first lead role.

Plot: Queen Latifah is a physical therapist that ends up helping New Jersey Nets star guard, Scott McKnight (Common), recover from an injury. In the process they end up falling in love. Duh.

YouTube Related: A real YouTube channel for fake Scott McKnight, and the Orlando Magic going to the premiere in Orlando. Both highly recommended.

For your girl: Common works out without a shirt in a scene or two, true love wins in the end, Scott McKnight is a sensitive jock and gold-digging women are ridiculed.

For you: A Stan Van Gundy cameo, Dwight Howard rocking Ed Hardy t-shirts in his first speaking role, and the All-Star game is played in New Jersey for some reason.

Rating:

Life as We Know It (2010) – I was actually shocked to find out that the NBA plays a role in this movie. Josh Duhamel’s character works as a technical sports director for the Atlanta Hawks, and seeing a fictional version of what goes on behind the scenes in a game broadcast is quite entertaining. Duhamel’s character has a sixth sense of when the broadcast should switch to a different camera to capture the best action, and that’s surprisingly fun to watch.

Plot: Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel are polar opposites but become guardians of their best friends’ infant child after the couple dies in a car crash. Due to their differences, they struggle to find a happy medium to raise the child. In the process they end up falling in love. Duh.

Missing: Steve Nash was supposed to make a cameo but I didn’t see him. His scene must have been cut.

For your girl: The glamorized life of Heigl’s bakery-owning character, a cute baby, but mostly Josh Duhamel.

For you: Christina Hendricks, Josh Smith has a game-winning dunk at the buzzer, the Phoenix Suns are involved in one of the more dramatic parts of the movie.

Rating:

If you don’t have a date/significant other to watch these with, get some tips from The Dating Jones or go sell something on Craigslist. And if you know of any other rom-coms that involve basketball, share the wealth in the comments below. We all need to get through this lockout, together.

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