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Movie Reviews

Rebound: The Legend Of Earl "The Goat" Manigault (1996)

ReboundIn this inspirational made-for-HBO biopic, a professional basketball player from Harlem hits bottom after becoming addicted to drugs but cleans up his act and dedicates himself to teaching inner-city kids to play.

In the Harlem of 1959, young Earl Manigault lived with Miss Mary, a warm hearted, hard working woman who was devoted to his care, after his mother died. He was a young teenager who was just starting to burn up the local basketball courts, playing against older, more experienced players. Earl comes under the scrutiny of parks supervisor, Mr. Rucker, a well-known local and former street basketball player, who started the well-respected Ruckers League, and Diego, a self-styled coach and older local basketball player. He also gets to know Legrand, the local drug dealer. 

Our Take: I love watching this movie because it relies heavily on the concept of simply never giving up. Whatever dreams you may have had before that first drink or smoke, you can still see them fulfilled in recovery. It also clearly demonstrates how ready our 'friends' are to pull us back into the mire. 

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 11:21:00

SPUN (2002)

Spun1Spun is an unclassifiable ensemble piece, intentionally bleached of soulfulness and high on visual invention and comic depravity. Set in north Los Angeles, where meth freaks lurch from one motel room to another in search of companionship and a score, the film stars Jason Schwartzman as Ross, whose life is rapidly disintegrating.

Fielding phone messages from his mother and trying in vain to reach an old girlfriend, Ross spends most of his time on a feverish circuit with the half-mad Cookie (Mena Suvari) and Nikki (Brittany Murphy), the dangerously paranoid Spider Mike (John Leguizamo), and a macho drugmaker called the Cook (Mickey Rourke).


Our Take:We tried to sit through this movie, honest. It was simply terrible. It starts badly and gets worse. It has the same annoying jerky motion effects as Requiem For A Dream. It was bad there and it is worse here. The storyline is vapid with contrived characters The movie is unnecessarily soaked in obscene language. Some bad language would be tolerable if the movie had any redeeming qualities, but here it is simply gratuitous. The cast is in itself a talented bunch but here they are working with a dead animal.

Movies for CR can be gritty but should be relatable with some redeeming qualities. There is hope for the addict and good CR movies should show this. This does not mean that every good CR movie has a happy ending, but at the same time it should have a decent script that details the reality of drug abuse without it trying to look like a Matrix rip-off. Good storytelling is always better than special effects. (See: The Lost Weekend)

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 11:15:00

The Lost Weekend (1945)

TlwOur Take: Classic drama about N.Y.C. writer struggling with alcoholism. Critics consider this a masterpiece of serious filmmaking. Still appeals to genre fans seeking gritty, character-driven fare with strong dramatic value. This is a brilliant piece of movie-making. This looks at addiction in a real way without trying to 'Hollywoodize' it. It is a pity that it did not deal with the recovery side more but little was known about it when this was made. Definitely worth seeing.

Don Birnam, long-time alcoholic, has been "on the wagon" for ten days and seems to be over the worst; but his craving has just become more insidious. Evading a country weekend planned by his brother Wick and girlfriend Helen, he begins a four-day bender. In flashbacks we see past events, all gone wrong because of the bottle. But this bout looks like being his last...one way or the other. Written by Rod Crawford @

The unsuccessful writer Don Birnham is an alcoholic. Only his brother Wick and girlfriend Helen managed to keep him sober for 10 days and plan a little vacation on the countryside for the weekend. But Don manages to send them both away the evening before. Alone at home, without any money, he's desperate for something to drink. Written by Tom Zoerner @

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Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 00:21:00

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