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More Than a Game
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28 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Boys becoming Lebron became "King James"

Author: joshfarcone from United States
7 September 2008

This documentary follows Lebron James(NBA superstar) and childhood friends....from the earliest part of his life. From grade school friends, to youth travel ball, to playing at St Mary's High School, to being drafted in the NBA. When four tight buddies become the court as well. Almost a biopic...but not. Amazing what an Akron-Native with time and a camera could accomplish following around "King James".

Although this film follows a professional basketball players rise to fame, it is more about the friendships and loyalty involved in the process. You can't become a star without having trust and faith in others around you. Turns into a great study of professional athletes, what it takes at all ages, but also the emotion and friendships that shape the human....we fail to look at these stars as normal guys like ourselves...and we shouldn't. You will understand just who and what they are through movies like this.

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24 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Documentary serendipity!

Author: benl-4 from Toronto, Canada
9 September 2008

What a stroke of luck to undertake a basketball documentary about a grade school team that includes the undiscovered future NBA star LeBron James!

Using film and game video footage interspersed with computer effect enhanced photographs, excellent editing and well-mixed music we get a compelling revealed story about four boys turning into men under increasingly intense public scrutiny.

I particularly liked the way the director "animated' photographs by extracting layers and changing the focus. This was probably a necessary technique to extend limited early footage, but it brought in a dimension that many documentaries are lacking

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

They're just human

Author: yaktam from Canada
21 March 2010

To be honest, one of the best documentaries I've ever seen. A truly feel good movie. I'd heard about Lebron James, but never really knew much about him. Then my son and me watched the movie. To say it was inspiring (especially for the little guy) would be a gross understatement. The best part of the movie was finding out that Lebron became who he is today, because of a small group of people that became his extended family. As a parent, and a fellow human being, its hard not to have tears well up at the end of this one, because we all want to be loved. They all found that love - in each other. The side effect was an amazing basketball story.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Worth It To See LeBron At An Early Age

Author: Ras-I Thrill from United States
27 May 2010

If you know or care anything about high school hoops on a national level, there's one stretch of the truth that will jump out at you near the end of this movie -- that being the assertion that St. Vincent-St. Mary is playing in a national championship game in what was the senior season for LeBron James and the rest of the "Fab 4/5". Of course, there is no national championship game for high school hoops, at least, not like there is in college. LeBron and his crew won the Division II Ohio state championship as seniors, then would have had to be voted national champs in one or more polls. And I don't remember if they were consensus national champs; since it's all done by polls, it's possible one or more polls had some other team as its national champ that season.

Maybe that only means something to me because I'm a basketball fan. For everyone else it probably suffices to say that this is an entertaining film, if a bit thin on details and questionable at times in its accuracy. As basketball documentaries go, More Than A Game can't hold Hoop Dream's jock, but seeing action clips of LeBron as a youngsta make it worth the rental.

One last basketball junkie point: For my tastes the film makers should have gone into more detail about the LeBron-Carmelo Anthony HS matchup. It's glossed over a bit in this film so you don't get the sense of what a battle that game was between two good teams and two future NBA stars (36-8-5 and six steals for LeBron, 34-11-2 for Carmelo). Nor is it emphasized that LeBron and St. Vincent-St. Mary lost the game.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

More Than LeBron James

Author: jdesando from United States
6 October 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Remembering Michael Jordan is feeling no player in basketball history could ever approach his skill and charisma. The smooth documentary More Than a Game offers the possibility that Le Bron James is everything Jordan was and maybe more. Yet it succeeds in deflecting James' glory by showing how his "Fab Five," as they called themselves at Akron's St. Vincent, St. Mary's in Ohio, overcame difficulties to become national champions.

Although the documentary follows the usual arc of win, lose, win for sports stories, similar to Hoop Dreams, I had satisfaction that I witnessed a phenomenon of history—a team that survived briefly without James(who later won a court decision to be reinstated), qualified for the nationals, lost the national championship only to come back the next year victorious. Clichéd as that might be, it's interesting history. The impact of media coverage, especially the growing awareness of James's transcendent talent, is never fully explored in favor of spreading the story amongst the five star players and coach.

Because James is a producer of this film, it's easy to see how it slides over the controversies such as his mother's financing a Hummer for him. There may be other more egregious acts, yet it's hard not to like the self-effacing star, even harder to discount the emotional challenges facing a coach who must coach his own son. Indeed the story of Coach Dru Joyce is every bit as interesting as that of the players, neophyte as he was to coaching basketball and with his son in the starting lineup. This is where director Kristopher Belman is at his best as he carefully reveals the difficulties such a situation brings.

The sly comment about James at the end of the obligatory "what happened to whom" may be the best indicator that as manipulative as this doc may be, it has a sense of humor about a serious sports story.

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LeBron's home team

Author: SnoopyStyle
21 July 2016

It's 2003. LeBron James, Dru Joyce III, Romeo Travis, Sian Cotton, and Willie McGee are preparing to play the National Championship Game. The documentary takes a look at these five teenagers in Akron, Ohio growing up and rising up to be one of the best high school teams. They were a shoe-string unknown team playing in the AAU tournaments with teams from across the country. In 1999, they lost the championship game by two points on a final miss by LeBron. LeBron is the future NBA star dubbed the Chosen One. Dru is the undersized kid with a chip on his shoulder. Romeo is the angry addition in the sophomore year. Dru Joyce II takes over after their coach abandons them for a college job.

This is more or less for fans of LeBron. It has his cooperation. It's mostly basketball with some personal revelations. The most important aspect seems to be their close-knit friendship and loyalty of belonging to the group. It has some insights and drama even for non-fans of LeBron. It doesn't really have anything too dramatic with the exception of LeBron's suspension. More than anything, this is about LeBron's nature and his connection to his home town.

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A must watch by all mothers and fathers, educators, teachers, Pastors, youth workers, coaches and anyone who loves basketball

Author: boonsengkam from Malaysia
10 May 2014

This is story telling at its best. Not only is it a highly entertaining basketball movie, there are so many life lessons that you can learn from watching it. So many topics come to the fore. Father and son relationships, manhood, aspirations, discipline, submission, spirit de corps, unity, fairness, justice, overcoming adversity, respect, obedience, friendship, greed, dealing with fame, community spirit, achievements, single parents, loving mothers, father figures, faith, God, religion, destiny, purpose in life and success. You also se selfishness, pride, disunity, arguments, rebellion. It's all here.

I highly recommend this movie to all teachers, coaches, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, Pastors, youth workers. Today is Mother's Day 2014. If it weren't for King James' mother, her faith, fortitude, grit, love and determination, he wouldn't be where he is today. Father's Day is on the horizon! Coach Drey and his relationship with his son is one of the pillars of this movie. All fathers, spiritual fathers and fathers-to-be should watch this DVD or movie. Pastors and youth leaders, watch this movie and you can extract many life lessons.

To me, the best part of the movie was watching Coach Drey in action. His prayer on basketball being in God's small scheme of things put the perspective on the entire movie. How many men could pray a prayer like that? in the society that we live in today, winning is everything. Do we use basketball as a tool to achieve what God wants us to do in the lives of others, or does basketball use us? This movie is more than just sports, it is about a journey of character building and creating men out of boys.

To me, Coach Drey is a humble man. How do I know this? I know because humble man prays to a God whom he knows is in charge of the whole situation and is bigger than he is, Only a humble man admits that he has a lot to learn and is still learning about basketball by reading books of basketball greats and watches videos. Only humble man listens to his wife's advice on a life-changing decision of taking over as head coach when he is paralyzed by the thought of destroying the dream. Only a humble man talks to his son and asks his son if he was too hard on him. The humble man speaks of his own fears and frailties as a father, and a whole dependence on Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.

I am amazed at the locker room scene where Coach Drey pep-talks the team in a firm, soft-spoken and controlled manner. I expected a hung-ho speech and a morale-boosting talk by Coach Drey but what emerged was words of wisdom, soft, yet hard hitting to the core of the players psyche. I believe that loud and harsh words from Coach Drey were not necessary because of the relationship between coach and players. He had already threatened, yelled, screamed, admonished and discipline the players over the years in the training sessions and on the battlefield of tournaments. He was their father figure. Coach Drey was the 6th player of the Fab5. Even when the team was behind on points at the start of the 4th quarter of the Championship Final game, he did not yell, scream or give his boys the hair dryer treatment. He knew what to say to them and they knew what he meant.

Here's another thing I observed. There is a scene where the boys are sitting on the basketball court and Coach Drey is talking to them. The janitor is sweeping the floor with a broad brush broom. The boys are in his path. He does not stop and does not deviate from his path. Boys lift their legs to let the broom and handler pass them by. Then they lower their legs and resume their previous posture. In that situation, despite being basketball stars of their college and their State, they submitted to the lowly floor cleaner who was just doing his duty.

In the movie, I also got a glimpse of the emphasis of Christianity and on Jesus Christ among the black community of Akron, specifically of the family members and relatives of the players. My faith is lifted up. Through this movie, I am inspired to be a better husband and a better father.

This is a high-quality documentary. The graphics and image special effects are amazing and highly entertaining. Watching a diminutive sub 5-footer sink 3-pointer shots with ease will inspire you. Watching archive footage of the Fab-5 dismembering other teams because of their intuition and close team-work is awe-inspiring. it is a story worth watching and I believe that as you watch it, you will be challenged in your spirit, soul and body. Frankie "Moodurian" Kam, Malaysia.

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Great Sports Documentary About LeBron & His Teammates

Author: Desertman84 from United States
25 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

More Than a Game is a sports documentary film that follows NBA superstar LeBron James and four of his teammates through the trials and tribulations of high school basketball in Akron, Ohio, and James's journey to fame. The film trailer was released in April featuring the single "Stronger" by Mary J. Blige, which she released in support of the film.

It is a documentary that focuses in on 5 young basketball players - LeBron James, Dru Joyce III, Romeo Travis, Sian Cotton, Willie McGee - and their coach, Dru Joyce II, performing on an AAU team with the growing stardom of the future NBA superstar, LeBron James. Taking them through their pre-teens to high school, the film follows their incredible journey as the unknown Ohio team rises to the top of youth athletics. The moral really suggests that to win, a team has to fight until the end to achieve a goal, even if the challenge seems easy.

Director Kristopher Belman examines the way that bonds are formed and tested with this profile of four high school basketball players who formed a remarkable chemistry over the years, eventually going on to play for St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, OH -- with one of them realizing their common dream of becoming an NBA superstar. LeBron James was still in high school when Sports Illustrated dubbed him "The Chosen One" and all-eyes turned toward the St. Mary-St. Vincent team. But while most cameras focused on the court, only Belman managed to capture the remarkably personal exchanges that occurred in the locker room as the team prepared for their games and celebrated their victories. And while James may have been the breakout star of the group, Belman still takes the time to offer detailed profiles of diminutive shot-sinker Little Dru, stocky Sian, and wise-beyond-his-years Willie -- the other players who formed the so-called "Fab Four." The subsequent addition of Romeo Travis necessitated the expansion of their nickname to the "Fab Five." As the adversity rises and James enters into his senior year, he faces the resentment of outsiders who would attempt to capitalize on his talent, and endures pressures that most teenagers will never know.

Though the film may not delve as deep as some would prefer, More Than a Game is an inspiring documentary featuring likable youngsters, a positive message, and some exciting in-game footage

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0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

More than a Game? Not really...

Author: adpjan ( from Ohio
25 January 2014

I was told to watch this documentary for my screen writing class. I must say, horrible, horrible movie. All around, one of the worst things I could have watched. I must admit that I am not a big sports fan, but there are many sports movies and documentaries that I do really enjoy. But those films had, well, a story to them. I know what writer/director Kristopher Belman was thinking. 'Let's just throw a bunch of crap together and star LeBron in it and it'll sell big. Hell, it worked for the Justin Bieber documentary!' I don't know who's rating this movie so high... It's insane.

More than a Game is a movie starring LeBron James during his high school years, and some other unmemorable, annoyingly cocky basketball players who just dominate everyone they play basketball against in. Then, of course, they get to play in the national championship game. As a side note, to captivate us as a movie audience, we need to cheer for an underdog in movies. Movies such as Miracle, Rocky, Rudy, The Mighty Ducks, Major League, Warrior, etc, were all movies about the underdog and out-heart the competition. It's what makes a movie enjoyable! No one cheered for the overly cocky champ Apollo Creed in Rocky. No one cheered for the Russians in Miracle. I don't even think the Russians did!

As an added bonus, we get to hear each of the kids struggles of growing up in the ghetto, and their courage to keep playing basketball against all odds. I'm not sure if anyone cares about that, because I sure do not. Maybe I'm heartless, but these guys make it so easy to cheer for their opposition. There really is not one good quality I could find in any of these kids, besides not being crack addicts. But if they were, I'm sure this film would be much more enjoyable.

I gave this movie a 2 out of 10 simply because I got to watch the whole thing in one sitting without jabbing my eyes out of my skull. Though i was quite tempted. Only the biggest LeBron fans will enjoy this movie. Don't waste your time.

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1 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

that's it ????

Author: dumsumdumfai from Canada
15 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

is there More in this movie?

And I thought 'Real Shaolin' was average. This exceeded my lows of TIFF08 on a documentary.

The "catch" of this one is of course Lebron. And they do have a story about the team and the life long friends he played with. But it's basically a story - plot together like the Hooser movie, with videos and home movies added with current interviews and looking backs.

Mind you there is message, loud and clear and lebron is NOT the main reason behind this doc - which I suspect as much and applaud the decision. But I thought the director would have had a deeper inside look ????

A story could have been 45min... but told in 1.45?

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