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Sunset Park

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steve Gomer
Produced by Danny DeVito
Dan Paulson
Michael Shamberg
Written by Seth Zvi Rosenfeld
Kathleen McGhee-Anderson
Starring Rhea Perlman
Fredro Starr
Music by Kay Gee
Miles Goodman
MC Lyte
Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Release date(s) April 26, 1996
Running time 99 min.
Language English

Sunset Park is a 1996 basketball film. It stars Rhea Perlman as the head coach of a high school boy's basketball team from the Sunset Park neighborhood in New York City. The film also stars rapper Fredro Starr and an early film appearance from Academy Award nominee Terrence Howard. The film was produced by Perlman's husband, Danny DeVito.

The film touches on a variety of subjects including drama and comedy. The film was released in April and went on to gross about $10 million at the box office. It didn't garner much attention from any award ceremonies and was not nominated for any major movie award. The film received an R rating due to adult language and situations, drug use, and violence.

The film was shot on location in New York City. It was shot at various locations in the city. Included in filming locations were various high schools and public buildings as well as the world-famous Madison Square Garden.

The Sunset Park soundtrack featured one of the first solo appearances of Ghostface Killah.


Phyllis Saroka (Perlman) is a P.E. teacher at a school in New York City. Looking for more, she reads a flier at her school that Sunset Park High School is looking for a new boys basketball coach. Looking for more money to pursue opening a restaurant, she decides to give the job a shot despite not having any knowledge of basketball. She contacts the correct people and is given the job.

She shows up for her first day on the and the team is already skeptical of her. When she walks in one player is heard saying "I know we gon' lose every game." She then let's the players run the team, calling their own fouls, running their own plays, and basically allowing them to be carefree. During a game, she makes some bad decisions which irks some of the players on the team. This inspires her to learn more about the game with the assistance of her players. They help her and the team begins to slowly have some success.

The team also has to deal with outside forces that threaten the team. Shorty (Starr) is on probation and eventually gets into more trouble. Spaceman (Howard) is also on probation, is constantly using drugs, and has trouble with a teacher. Busy-bee (De'aundre Bonds) is shot during the season and misses several games. Several other players on the team are having academic trouble and some don't even get along with each other. The team members also find out that the coach only plans to stay with them one season and then leave to open a restaurant.

The team eventually comes together despite their differences and troubles. They end up having a very successful season, so successful that they make it to the city championship. They go to Madison Square Garden to face their opponent. They play them close but ultimately lose the game. Afterward, the coach informs them that they should be proud of themselves and that she will return next season.


Phyllis Saroka (Rhea Perlman): A physical education coach who takes a job coaching boys basketball at Sunset Park. First, she takes the job to earn extra money for a year to open a restaurant but begins to become close to the team and eventually helps make them successful. She informs the team she will return next season after the city championships.

Shorty Doo-Wop (Fredro Starr): The leader of the Sunset Park team. He becomes the closest to the new coach and actually helps her out the most. He turns on her once he finds out about her restaurant venture but eventually comes back to form and lead the team.

Mona (Carol Kane): This is Phyllis' best friend. She supports all of Phyllis' decisions and brags about her achievements to others. She is not seen that much within the film.

Spaceman (Terrence Howard): The carefree member of the team, he is the quiet, to-himself individual at the beginning. He eventually becomes a key component of the team on the inside. He has conflict with a teacher and Shorty as the film progresses.

Barbara (Camille Saviola): Another friend of Phyllis, she is a lawyer. She defends Shorty when he gets into legal trouble at the request of Phyllis. She gets very angry when she finds out Shorty actually committed the crime he was accused of and she got him off the charges.

Busy-bee (De'aundre Bonds): An undersized player, he is very supportive of the team and his teammates. He yearns to play but does not get very many chances to do so. He is shot while somebody tries to steal his coat. When he returns, he is given the chance to play and becomes successful.

Butter (Talent Harris): The main inside man on the team and is also somewhat of a leader as well. He is also a ladies man and is constantly bragging about how many women he has and has had in the past.

Drano (Antwon Tanner): Drano is a guard on the team. He is scared to shoot the ball despite having good shooting skills. He is eventually given the confidence to go ahead and shoot the ball though and becomes a long-range threat for the team. He is also seen as the smart guy of the team because of his excellent school work. He is actually seen tutoring other team members.

Boo Man (Guy Torry): A comedic character in the crowd during Sunset Park's games. He is constantly making fun of the players, their game, and the coach.

Mr Santiago (John Vargas): is the principal that makes it hard for everyone.

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