Friday, October 09, 2009

Movie Month: Once More with Feeling

“Basketball is a vehicle…,” says Dru Joyce Jr. as the camera pans slowly across an empty gymnasium. The metaphor introduced in the opening scene of the aptly-titled More Than a Game powers a poignant and textured story of brotherhood, fathers and sons, and friendship.

First-time director Kris Belman benefited from both good timing and good fortune. The project began as a 10-minute film-school assignment (that earned Belman a B+) and might have been relegated to obscurity but for a real-world narrative arc that would make Disney’s screenwriters envious. Belman brought his camera back to his home town of Akron, OH just as five boys were beginning their high school basketball careers. He finally wrapped shooting seven years, three state championships, one defining loss, and one rocket ride to stardom later.

The film, which opens nationally today, will garner a great deal of publicity because of LeBron James’ involvement. The truth, though, is that the NBA star’s story is just one of five. Perhaps the most compelling scene in the movie comes at the end of the five teammates’ career at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School. On senior night, when players walked to center court accompanied by their parents, LeBron (whose love for his mother is clearly documented in the film) chose to make his final entrance with Sian, Willie, Romeo, and Dru III.

We’ve spent some time documenting the themes of friendship and loyalty in More Than a Game. But if the movie’s soul is the friendship between the teammates, its heart lies in the relationship between Dru Joyce III and his father. The elder Joyce set out to do what million of other fathers do (and many more should) – he set out to be there for his son, coaching rec league and then AAU teams. It was only an accident of fate that put him on the bench as the head coach of St. Vincent-St. Mary’s after the Vikings had won consecutive state championships. The following season tested his faith, his belief in himself, and his relationship with his son.

We love sports because they reveal character. In the end, More Than a Game succeeds because of this fact. Failure teaches Coach Joyce a lesson in humility and perspective, and he in turn offers the same gift to his team. “My job is not basketball,” he says, “my job is to help them become men.”

My biases with respect to More Than a Game are clearly established, so let’s get that on the record. But despite the fact that I’m in the tank for the film based on a unique personal experience, it definitively exceeded my expectations. This is anything but a star turn for LeBron James, and his emphatic refusal to promote the movie as such speaks highly of his love for the people that helped him get where he is today. We give it 70 Gheorghes out of 77.

160 comments:

rob said...

i love me some barack obama, but i'm guessing even he is wondering what the hell the nobel prize people are doing.

zoltan said...

I saw that Obama won as I was riding in the elevator. Did he win because we're still fighting two wars? I don't understand.

Parenthetically, I get most of my news from the TV set in the elevator at work. Pretty pathetic.

Dave said...

i'm just being honest, but this movie sounds like it's going to lack synergy. but at the end of the day, it is what it is, a sport's movie-- it's not like the directors are going to think outside the box, you know?

but what can you expect from a review written by a low hanging fruit?

Dave said...

that's the best comment i've ever posted. i would like some sort of award.

rob said...

and the nobel for achievement in obscure blog commentary goes to:

tr

rob said...

also, i just got word that my nobel prize for reaching things on high shelves without assistance is in the mail. it's a very proud day for me and my family.

Dan said...

what's really interesting is that the nomination deadline for nobel was february 1st. that's 2 weeks after taking the oath. pretty productive 2 weeks i must say.

TR said...

Thank you! Quite a surprise to win against esteemed competitors like "Dave" and "Marlin."

I'd like to thank, in no particular order: My parents, Ron Jeremy, my sister, Gary Busey, the first girl to touch my penis, Dave Winfield, Bob Dylan, my kids, Chad Lowe and Chad Kroeger.

zoltan said...

I think it's a sports movie. Beware the grammar police.

Greg said...

No offense Rob, but one of my most annoying phrases is "I love me some (blank). Why can't you simply say, "I love (blank)? It's like saying, "I love me" and then adding some other noun to it. Just doesn't make sense. Also, Dewey used say that a lot (I love me some grits) and he was known for being irritable some times.

TR said...

The director of the soon-to-be-horrendous movie Couples Retreat? None other than Peter "don't call me Ralphie because Christmas Story was 25 years ago" Billingsley. And he and Vince Vaughn are buddies.

Unexpected.

Dan said...

yeah...their friendship started when they both "starred" in an afternoon special about 100 years ago - it was about steroid use - peter had a problem with and his good buddy vince tried to get him back on the straight and narrow...

Dan said...

the acting was stellar, really.
don't know if you saw any promos of this comedy troupe that vince went around with in a tour bus a couple of years ago - it was a documentary - the life of a struggling comic trying to make it yada yada yada...peter directed it. it too, sucked.

rob said...

greg, with all due respect, go fuck yourself.

Dan said...

http://defamer.gawker.com/354075/vince-vaughn-fights-roid+raging-ralphie

rob said...

i mean, can't a guy do a terrell owens homage in this town anymore?

rob said...

and the nobel for missing the point of dave's self-described best comment ever goes to:

zoltan

Dan said...

nice utilization rob...i think you've got the hang of it

Greg said...

Rob, shouldn't you say, "go fuck you, some self"

Marlin said...

Yo, yo, yo. TR I'm really happy for you and i'ma gonna let you finish, but I just had to say that Geoff's obscure comments are the best and low hanging fruitiest of all time.

rob said...

point, greg

rob said...

with all due respect to the other comment threads out there, this one has the potential to be one of the greatest comedy rhombuses of all time. and we haven't heard from several highly regarded commenters yet.

TJ said...

Marlin gets a half point as well.

zoltan said...

Oh, I got the point. But I didn't think the apostrophe was part of it.

TJ said...

You know what would make this comment thread even better?

A ring of cheese around the comments.

Jackpot!

zoltan said...

And points are huge.

rob said...

z-man, i know you're new and all, but the apostrophe gestapo are real and they're everywhere.

rob said...

and dave' knows it.

rob said...

hey, peace prize dude. why the fuck are we bombing the moon? that doesn't seem very peace-y. what did the moon ever do to us?

TJ said...

I'd rather discuss Soleil Moon Frye's celestial bodies.

TR said...

SMF had them reduced, Teej. Tragedy.

TJ said...

Oh, I know, but they're still huge...

Geoff said...

I'd like some consideration for the half drunk weekend nights where I inadvertently post under my wife's name.

We are bombing the moon not because its is easy. We are bombing the moon because it is hard.

Dave said...

zoltan, obviously you did not read the credits of the film. jeffrey sport produced it. yes, it is another one of sport's productions-- in fact, it is jeffrey sport's best film ever! what a sport's movie!

i will now go back to teaching english.

Dave said...

i am proclaiming THAT last comment as my best one ever. '''''''!

Mark said...

With all due respect Rob, the phrase comedy rhombus is mine and I don't appreciate you using it without my permission. I know, at the end of the day, we're all "on the same team" but I was the one who came up with that phrase by thinking outside the box. So kindly go fuck you some self.

Mark said...

I second Geoff's nomination. Maybe he'll even bring back his female alter ego for me as a birthday gift.

Geoff said...

I'm in a meeting right now where three men are wearing bow ties (out of eight). I am not at a barbershop quartet convention either.

rob said...

hanging with the farrakhans again, i see. that side of you is under-publicized.

Dave said...

i just had some sort of interaction outside the in-school-suspension room (and i was late getting there because of posting comments) with a woman who looked like a lunch aid and introduced herself and then told me some stuff about the delinquents in the room. it turns out she's not a lunch aid, she's the vice-principal-- i didn't recognize her. in my defense, she's very short and weird looking and it's her first year and i never attend any meetings.

Dave said...

i am proclaiming THAT comment as my best one ever. ever.

Geoff said...

Wonky management lobbyists and radical muslins dress similarly. See? We all learned something today.

Mark said...

In case anyone is wondering, playing two full city league playoff games in one night, drinking a red bull @ 8 pm in
order to get ready for game 2 (which didn't start until 8:30) and then going home and drinking and smoking until 1 am so you get some sleep is a horrible idea and will leave you feeling like shit the next day. It's a good thing I'm not working a trade show all day. Oh wait...

Mark said...

Did I mention that the trade show Im at is called Senior Fest 2009? Yep, my day is awesome.

TJ said...

I'm sure you don't scare the geriatrics at all.

Mark said...

I look surprisingly trustworty when I'm dressed up.

The bright side to being here is that the free popcorn is fantastic.

TJ said...

As is the free metamucil I'm sure.

Mark said...

I would've assaulted somebody today if it weren't for my iPhone. God bless you Steve Jobs.

TJ said...

Want to find the nearest tattoo parlor in a strange city?

There's an app for that.

Mark said...

I'd like to nominate my girlfriend for a Nobel prize for delivering this delicious plate of bourbon chicken to me.

Mark said...

Well played TJ.

Greg said...

I love me my iphone. Tonight, I will drink me some beer and fuck me some girlfriend.

Mark said...

Greg has a girlfriend?

Greg said...

Yeah.....with a vagina and everything. Facebook should have told you

Mark said...

Does she know that your name is Greg or are you going by Gunther or Hans or something?

TJ said...

Hans Gruber...

"Mr. Takagi, the code please..."

Dan said...

Hans MacGruber...a german villain who can get out of any mess with nary a tool

TJ said...

Negotiable bera bonds...

zoltan said...

Yogi Berra and Barry Bonds? Or bearer bonds?

rob said...

the rhombus is rholling along, annihilating everything in its path.

(acknowledgement to mark for the creation of the rhombus (tm))

TJ said...

Is that a Star Trek 4 joke?

rob said...

annihilating, not assimilating

TR said...

Random straw-man for the team:

Eric Byrnes is the Flaming Lips of major league baseball: whimsical, amusing and easy to root for after a quick glance, but ultimately lacking the chops to sustain staying power over the long-term after a brief flirtation with major stardom.

TJ said...

Are you getting weed delivery again?

Whitney said...

I would ask that question of TR as well. What are you smoking?

The Flaming Lips (who played W&M's tiny Trinkle Hall when we were in college; I think Dave might have gone to see them on a whim) were a one-hit wonder candidate after "She Don't Use Jelly" made its mark on college radio, MTV, and Beavis and Butt-Head. But their last few albums have brought them back to the indie mainstream (Da've, that is an example of an oxymoron). "Race for the Prize," "Fight Test," "The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song," and especially "Do You Realize?" are all legitimate hits (not on FM radio, natch). And the concerts are adult circus. It's the single most insane, weird, and ridiculous stage show I have ever seen. And I've seen Teejay karaoke.

I love me some Flaming Lips. But more importantly... aren't we long overdue for a Beavis and Butt-Head reunion? I figure the boys are about 30 now. I am dying to see what became of them.

Marlin said...

The understudy for that role is Nick Swisher.

TJ said...

I've only karaoked (sp?) twice in my life. Can you name those two songs?

Whitney said...

I am following Soleil Moon Frye on Twitter. She's one of those Twitter people who tells the world what she had for dinner and what her cat is doing. Terrible. But I can't break it off her. It is what it is.

TR said...

But when you break it all down, the Flaming Lips just lack rock-n-roll balls. I saw them once in concert and thoroughly enjoyed because I had put myself in a very good state for a Flaming Lips concert, but I just think they are too much schtick and not enough chops. I guess I'm just announcing that I've given them a real shot, and I don't see it.

It's like a lady that looks sexy at a bar when she's all dolled up, but when you take her home, tie her to a pipe in the basement and hose her off, you're disappointed at what's underneath.

Whitney said...

Teejay's karaokes: "It's Raining Men" and "Let's Hear It For the Boy." And he nailed them both.

Geoff said...

TJ probably sang "Don't Stop Believin'" and "The Final Countdown".

zoltan said...

TJ sang "When Doves Cry" and "Give it to Me Baby".

TJ said...

Who wants to actually win this? Think boys...think...

zoltan said...

"Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" used to get some airplay (the song, not the whole album). You're doing yourself a disservice if you don't give the Flaming Lips a chance. You might like "Clouds Taste Metallic."

zoltan said...

TJ sang "Satisfaction" while driving around a quarry in a 1985 LeBaron convertible with the windshield kicked out.

Dennis said...

Gotta be Ice Ice Baby.

rob said...

tj sang 'round and round' by ratt and 'daydream believer' by the monkees.

TJ said...

Fucking Zoltan...vinner, vinner, chicken dinner...

Not really, but seriously, if we doing "Raw Deal" jokes, it is what it is...

rob said...

tj sang 'under pressure' by bowie to the tune of 'ice ice baby'.

Dan said...

was it a wood-paneled lebaron?

TJ said...

1 - I'm tone deaf. And realize it.

2 - I like the New York Yankees.

zoltan said...

I love me some wood paneling.

zoltan said...

You covered a Bernie Williams song?

rob said...

if you fucking sang 'god bless america', i'm going to jump up and punch you in the balls.

TJ said...

Keep trying tiny...

rob said...

point, zoltan

rob said...

did a little ol' blue eyes, did you?

zoltan said...

He did God Bless America while impersonating the Irish guy with the big ears.

TJ said...

I don't know rob, maybe I did...would you care to be more specific?

zoltan said...

Summer Wind?

Dan said...

don't know much 'bout TJ, but i'll guess an Elvis diddy....

rob said...

okay, so 'new york, new york'. do the same two hints apply to the other song?

TJ said...

Only Marlin can touch the panties...and do "Summer Wind"...

zoltan said...

You must have done a Tevin Campbell song, right?

TJ said...

rob wins song 1...song 2, well, the man knows what he's doing... and it's a big hit at the Irish Times.

rob said...

'danny boy' would be far too cliche. for most people.

Mark said...

Whenever there are this many interested people in TJ's karaoke history, well, I think we should be all allowed to call it a day. Its clear no more work is getting done by anyone at this point.

Mark said...

Has anyone ever figured out what the fuck is wrong with Tim Kurkijan's voice?

TJ said...

Yeah, this coming from the tattooed freak serving the Cocoon 3 cast.

Dan said...

pogues?

zoltan said...

That song by the Cranberries? "Did You Have To Use Your Finger?"

Mark said...

You don't have to be so hurtful TJ. And, I'm done with the oldies. My weekend has begun.

Whitney said...

Sweet Caroline.

Whitney said...

And a 1985 LeBaron is very close to a 1985 LeBron . . . which is when he was born* . . . bringing these comments full-circle back to the original content of this post.








*LeBron was born 2 days before 1985 actually began. But it was close.

TJ said...

Yes. Jesus you guys are retarded. Especially lawyer boy zoltan...

Whitney said...

And I swear I saw Teejay karaoke "Hooked on a Feeling."

Whitney said...

Lawyers in Love!

Whitney said...

Lawyers, Guns & Money!

Whitney said...

"Gavel in My Navel"

TJ said...

Maryland Midgets be Mystifying.

rob said...

'i fought the law'

Whitney said...

Something by The Chambers Brothers!

Whitney said...

The Cars' "Moving in Stereo" because it was featured in a movie with Judge Reinhold!

Whitney said...

...which would be an awesome song to karaoke to because there are like 2 lines in it.

Whitney said...

Legalize It!
Breaking the Law!
Long Arm of the Law!
Outlaw!
Fly Like a Legal!
You Can't Jury Love!
Holding Out for Lance Ito!
Gin & Juice! (Get it?)

rob said...

the rhombus has seized control of whitney. get outta the way, people. this ain't gonna be pretty.

zoltan said...

Fuck the Police.

zoltan said...

Like Ice Cube said, not like the band with Sting.

Whitney said...

Hey Z, I have to start Fred Jackson or Marshawn Lynch. Your call? Also, do I start T.O. or no? Also, does my team suck donkeys or what?

Whitney said...

Oh, and I was way off in my memory of TJ karaoke-ing "Hooked on a Feeling." It was actually a fat, pale homeless guy at a bus stop with his shirt off singing that song out loud. My bad for the false acc, Teej.

zoltan said...

I'm starting Fred Jackson this week, and I'm terrible at fantasy football, so start Lynch. Like I said, TO is going to have a meltdown in this game when they are losing at the half and he has zero catches. But you can't sit him - he's still really good in theory and who else would you start.

Greg said...

The Teej was singing "Private Dancer".

Greg said...

I bet Obama could win the Heisman if enough of his acolytes have him as a write-in candidate here:

http://promo.espn.go.com/espn/contests/theheismanvote/2009/

Whitney said...

I have Mario Manningham because I'm trying to demonstrate a tolerance for people's sexual preference. I have Percy Harvin because Mark says funny things here. Not Nobel-funny like Dennis, but definitely amusing.

rob said...

we acolytes are too busy carving another head into mount rushmore. maybe next year for the heisman thing.

Dennis said...

Love With Greg Rotz...

Whitney said...

If Obama won the Heisman, he'd do better in the NFL than Gino Torretta! Zing, Gino! You suck! Ha!

Greg said...

Gino Ballserelli is now...."Gene Balboa"!!!




Manuel!!! I need more....blood!

Whitney said...

Speaking of where are they now, Greg, check this out.

Mark said...

Greg...weren't you supposed to move to Dubia?

zoltan said...

Dubia moved to Crawford.

rob said...

greg's got a girlfriend with likelike parts, no way he's moving anywhere.

rob said...

dammit. lifelike.

Whitney said...

But I likelike the way you think.

Whitney said...

And I likelike me some girl parts.

rob said...

speaking of girl parts, all our lady commenters have been notably silent today. do they actually do 'work'?

Mark said...

They are probably at a sewing bee or a knitting circle.

Whitney said...

According to Shlara, G:TB "jumped the shark when they hired Zoltan."

zoltan said...

Wow. A stinging indictment.

Mark said...

I'd like to defend you Zoltan but Shlara likes basketball and called me funny once, so I'm clearly in the bag for her.

zoltan said...

Maybe I should make some sewing bee jokes?

Mark said...

Its a start.

Whitney said...

Zoltan, maybe if you tried harder to get to know Shlara. Here are a few tidbits to get you started:

1. She graduated from "the Harvard of the South."
2. She was a proud member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.
3. She loves professional basketball, the Washington Bullets/Wizards, and Gheorghe Muresan, not necessarily in that order.
4. She can sew like a champ and knit like a badass.
5. She enjoys long walks on the beach, a good snuggle by the fire, erotica not porn, the warm grin of a 3-beer buzz, the musical stylings of Dan Fogelberg (RIP), smart not smarmy men, the double standard, "anything Burberry," Fellini films, equal opportunity lovemaking, compassion and kindness, using the third person to describe herself, umbrellas on sunny days, KQ in a "nearly platonic" way, creme brulee (if it's done right), the French Riviera, two-day stubble on a hunky cleft chin, Phil Chenier not Mel Proctor, 20-year-old scotch, 21-year-old boys, posters of cats wearing clothes and saying funny things, the CrunchWrap Supreme, lovers who don't do drugs but look like they do, Stephen Colbert, alt-country not country, peekaboo blouses, natural hair colors, honesty not "I'm just being honest," Philosophy majors, sleeping late, and people named Glenn.
6. She thinks Whitney is "a bit much," and not in the good way.

zoltan said...

Wow. She sounds significantly different from every girl I met in college. I'll try to come up with a Shlara-centric post with these tidbits in mind.

I knew the Bills post was long, but a Bills/Browns preview was assigned to me and I was instructed to make it as bitter as possible. There's a lot to be bitter about when you root for the Bills hence the lengthy post.

Dan said...

can we see a pic of schlara please? she sounds pretty dreamy.

Dan said...

and by "we", i mean, "I".
thank you.

rob said...

william & mary's own brendan harris!

Mark said...

I just noticed Rob's tags for this post. One of which reads "Ohio High School Basketball".

Why? Are we ever using that tag again?

rob said...

i'm working on a soon-to-be discontinued series on the massilon/mckinley rivalry.

Mark said...

You saw the Josh McDaniels piece on ESPN...you can't fool me you little midget.

rob said...

i did not, in fact. what was it about?

Dan said...

happy saturday. coffee. internet. sportscenter. 3 dumps already. first saturday home and w/no schedule in months. bloody mary on deck. word to your muthas.

Dan said...

wow...obama moves to 4th past clausen in the heisman race. or did someone use that yesterday?

Geoff said...

Hey Mark...happy birthday. I tried to imagine for a second that I was you. Once I stopped crying I thought about what I, as you, would want for my birthday. So, I sent you a chain wallet and some black lace up boots. Enjoy. My birthday's in to weeks. I suggest you try the same drill...think gingham. I'll mail you a Vineyard Vines catalog.

Whitney said...

Happy Birthday, Mark. I thought this was a little weird to see on your Facebook page, though: (Direct copy + paste)

"I think I am Whitney. Its not for sure yet but I'd say there's a 95% chance. Thank you."

rob said...

way to go, sparky. not sure many of us thought you'd make it this far. might have changed our thinking on extending you a job offer.

Mark said...

Thanks guys. Geoff, I ordered you a new gag ball. You're an extra large, right?

Picks post is up too, ladies.

Mark said...

The Whitney I was speaking to on facebook is significantly more attractive than you Whit...sorry.

anniyane said...

More Than A Game was nice and i watched it with my son yesterday. though there are queue of documentaries i really love this movie as there are some thing More Than A Game such as friendship, courtesy , dedication and passion. it consisted all things in to one movie.

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