|Index||3 reviews in total|
I loved this movie. It's so tightly focused on the emotional heart of this family, and it stays zeroed in right on that. It doesn't spend time detailing everything that's happening, whether it regards agents, sneakers, or NBA wheeling and dealing. Sure, all that stuff is going on, and it does get mentioned (particularly the sneaker stuff) but it's not nearly as interesting as the emotional ups and downs of the family as they try to succeed where they had their hearts broken once before. And it's important to remember that this isn't an ESPN movie - they just bought it after it was done. People seem to think there were all sorts of cynical motives at work in the making and releasing of this film, but it was just a small independent production (with a crew of two, according to the director's commentary) about a local kid and the amazing year he had. How he's doing in the league now really is not the point. The dream is to make it there, and that's what matters for this movie. If you take it for what it is, and don't obsess over what's not in it, it's an incredible, emotional experience.
We had the honor to view the movie at the Jerusalem Film Festival in
the presence of the director Jonathan Hock. He did an outstanding job
of telling a wonderful family story - of a star NYC/Coney Island
basketball player, Sabastian Telfair and his very interested family.
There are two currents in this documentary. First is the focus on the senior year of high school of Sabastian as he leads Abraham Lincoln High to a 3rd NYC championship. Along with this is the pressure he encounters as he must choose going into the NBA draft or going to college at Louisville under Joe Patino.
The other and more profound element of the film is the family story - the strong mother, the brothers committed to help Sabastian and the "failed" brother who was not drafted into the NBA when it was expected.
This is the best sports movie I have every seen. It gives the viewer the opportunity to "meet" Sabastian and his family, learn about the high school basketball scene at the top level and the "business of the professional basketball in the NBA and in Europe.
I look forward to Jonathan's next project - perhaps a Cuban national who made in big in Major League Baseball and goes home for the first time in many years.
This is a good movie, because it is a documentary, and documentaries by nature start on such a higher playing field. As a documentary, it is somewhat below average. There are gaping holes and topics that are completely ignored that are integral to the subject matter. For one thing, there was not a single speaking agent or pro scout/rep in the movie. It is basically a summary of the games he played as a senior, a post season all-star game, the announcement of his shoe deal, one cover shoot, and coverage from the draft. That said, the content of the film is excellent... it is just not complete. I found Telfair's two older brothers to be radiant characters... the kind of stuff you'd never see in scripted material. Telfair's high school coach (not in as many scenes) was another highlight. Another odd thing about the movie is that it is clearly avoiding what is common knowledge to almost anyone who actually watched this. Telfair is struggling. He is arguably the 2nd/3rd PG on the worst team in the Western Conference... losing minutes to Jarret Jack (a late first round rookie) and Steve Blake (a backup on any other team). Lebron James was the first, and thus far only, elite performing star straight out of high school. This movie was clearly made in the wake of Lebron James in an effort to capture Lebron II. So instead of looking at the hype from the outside as a documentary, this movie itself is part of the hype. This is made clear based on the futile efforts to skirt Telfair's pro career. For one thing, this movie was released almost two years after its final event, the 2004 draft. Not all that suspicious, except that there was no text at the end of the movie, updating us with information on his pro career. Put those two together and it appears that ESPN tried to wait for him to be successful before airing the movie. Which gets us to what reeks about this movie. Telfair and his brothers seem intelligent and honorable, and they are being exploited in an effort to make money. This common nowadays with reality TV, but Telfair's career is at stake here. Dollar-crazed industries scrambled for the next Lebron, knowing and banking on the fact that plenty of money could be made before one of these guys even made it to the pros. This juicy topic is not addressed in the movie... as I said before, the packaging of this movie is just another example. The result is fans hating on Telfair and calling him a bust, which he is not. He isn't Todd Van Popple or Brian Bosworth... there was almost zero assurance for all the Telfair hype, again not his fault. That this movie was aired instead of the World Baseball Classic is another strike against the sickeningly self-indulgent ESPN. ESPN doesn't seem to realize that people like it and watch it because it is a window to sports, and not because of its slapdash, substandard original programing or haughty, moronic personalities.
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