LENNY COOKE (2013)
Directed by Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie
USA | 92 Minutes
Professional sports are known as a true meritocracy, a field in which the cream really does rise to the top, as there’s simply too much money at stake to operate in any other fashion. In uncommon instances, however, inefficiencies can occur and gifted players may fall through the cracks. Such is the story of Lenny Cooke. In 2001, Cooke was the number-one ranked high school basketball player in America, with future NBA greats LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony listed beneath him. Yet after declaring himself eligible for the 2002 NBA draft, Cooke, shockingly, ended up going undrafted, and became a journeyman playing in little-known leagues across the world. Today he lives in southern Virginia, a should-have-been-great who simply did not quite make it. The first documentary feature from American independent film scene fixtures Josh & Benny Safdie (Daddy Longlegs, The Pleasure of Being Robbed), Lenny Cook explores the fascinating question of how, exactly, Cooke’s seemingly assured future could go so awry.
Praise from the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival:
“Penetrating and heartbreaking” —Scott Foundas, Variety
“Poignant, fascinating… You’ve never seen a sports movie like this before” —Eric Kohn, Indiewire
“An emotionally stirring cautionary tale… will stand with Hoop Dreams and Sugar as the best portraits of failed path to sports stardom” —Brandon Harris, Filmmaker Magazine
“Honest…devastating…New York’s Hoop Dreams” – Rafe Bartholomew, Grantland
This film opens tomorrow (Friday December 6th) at the Howard Gilman Theater at the Lincoln Center, with Lenny Cooke himself, as well as the filmmakers Josh and Ben Safdie during the 7pm screening. On Monday, there will be a Q&A hosted by Rafe Bartholomew.
More info: Official Site
Buy Tickets: Lincoln Center
Got a chance to talk with Lenny and the filmmakers of the doc a couple weeks ago. The film is a shattering portrait of a guy who honestly told me, “I have no regrets.” There is something so innocent and untouchable about him, too, even with the missed opportunity for basketball glory.
Go see the movie if you’ve got the time and money this weekend.
Racially biased marijuana enforcement…effects extend far beyond the degrading experience of being arrested and jailed. Most serious are the lifelong criminal records produced by a single arrest. Twenty years ago, misdemeanor arrest records were papers stored in dusty file cabinets. Now they are computerized and instantly available for $20 or less from commercial database firms…Employers, landlords, schools, banks and credit card companies rule out applicants on the basis of these now universally available records, which have been aptly described as a “scarlet letter” and a “new Jim Crow.”
A damn shame.
Michael Bay has responded angrily to reports that he had “apologised” for elements of the Transformers films, and has clarified his comments on the visual style of the new film…
Michael Bay is the worst director of all mankind, how does this trash continuously get put out?
[Mandela] was fighting against some great injustice, and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives — and Obamacare is front and center in that.
Rick Santorum on the linkages among Nelson Mandela’s fight against apartheid and the Republicans’ fight against Obamacare.
Ht: the Daily Dish(via politicalprof)
Dear Republicans: remember when Reagan vetoed sanctions against Apartheid South Africa? Think about that next time you’re about to bring out that weak bullshit about how Lincoln was a Republican.
I don’t really have much to add. In America, we sell assault rifles at Walmart.