Ask (Feb. 3, 2009)

Question: What’s the word on The Winning Season, that girls basketball movie starring Emma Roberts and Shereeka Epps? Is it any good?

— Angela, Dallas, TX

Answer: I haven’t seen the movie myself — it premiered at Sundance last month — but the reviews have been pretty good, and Lionsgate just bought the distribution rights, so we’ll all be able to see it sometime this year or next.

The Winning Season stars Sam Rockwell as a grouchy alcoholic coach forced to coach a high school girl’s basketball team. Think The Bad News Bears-meets-Hoosiers-meets-Believe in Me.

Yes, that means it’s another movie about a girl’s sports team that is really all about the dysfunctional male coach, which is annoying. But many sports movies about boys teams follow the same formula, and there are so few movies about a girls sports team in existence (no more than a dozen or two have ever been made) that I’m willing to overlook this.

Some of the cast of The Winning Season at Sundance: (L-R) Sam Rockwell, Rob Corddry, Shareeka Epps, writer/director James C. Strouse, Emma Roberts, Meaghan Witri, Rooney Mara.

Emma Roberts plays the coach’s daughter and defacto leader of the basketball team; the rest of the team (there are only seven players) is played by Melanie Hinkle, Shereeka Epps, Rooney Mara, Emily Rios, and Meaghan Witri.

Veteran actress Margo Martindale (The Riches, The Hours, Million Dollar Baby) also has a small role as the lesbian bus driver, "bringing subtlety to another potential cliche," according to one film blogger’s review of the movie, which goes on to describe her as, "not only the good cop to [the coach's] bad-boy routine, but an emotionally intuitive go-between capable of translating the girls’ needs back into terms he can understand."

Here’s the trailer:

Loving the girls’ attitude — not loving the mustache. Is the movie secretly being funded by NBC to promote My Name is Earl?

Question: With next month’s return of Stephanie March on Law & Order: SVU (since I’m an avid Olivia & Alex fan I can’t help but wonder) is there any news of a possible lesbian romance (or hint of one) between the detective Olivia Benson & ADA Alexandra Cabot on the show??

— Ashley

Answer: No.

(OK, I suppose nothing can ever be completely ruled out, but in my Professional Lesbian opinion, that has about as much chance of happening as Max getting a decent storyline on The L Word.)

Question: When is the Dead Like Me movie coming out?

— Ruby, Honolulu, HI

Answer: The straight-to-DVD movie starring Ellen Muth and Whitley Jasmine Guy that continues the Showtime series will be released in the U.S. on Feb. 17. (Thanks to reader SurfRider for the tip!)

Here’s the official description of the movie:

When George (Muth) and her colleagues get a new boss whose focus is on moving souls quickly and enjoying life without consequences, the team begins to break the strict reaper rules. While her friends fall victim to their desires for money, success, and fame, George breaks another rule by revealing her true identity to her living family. As the reapers struggle with their roles on Earth, they each find that death can be just as complicated as life.

So that whole "you can sleep when you’re dead" slogan on that bumper sticker I bought in college was a lie? I want my $1.50 back!

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