The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Ant-Man and the Wasp
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All Critics (14)
| Top Critics (9)
| Fresh (6)
| Rotten (8)
Plodding but heartfelt, Something to Cheer About pays tribute to a time when basketball scholarships and professional opportunities were practically unknown. Back then, a player's only opportunity was to make history.
Despite a last-reel schmaltz attack, this sports doc presents its blockbuster-baiting material with unfussy immediacy and dignity.
The movie could have had much greater resonance were it not focused so monolithically on basketball. One wonders what life was like at Attucks High, or how the players' success on the court affected their lives off it.
Plays like a well-intentioned but somewhat dull HBO special.
At just over an hour, it seems better suited for TV viewing than a theatrical release.
One of [director] Blankenbaker's key acquisitions here is the grainy black and white footage of Crispus Attucks in action during the mid-1950s. It is stunning stuff.
Utterly conventional...but still works as an uplifting tale of success in adverse circumstances, and as a testimony to the power of one dedicated teacher.
The film is really geared toward basketball fans who won't mind the talking-heads format, and the glowing interviews that have more the tone of testimonials than a historical documentary.
It muddies key details (it's not clear we're seeing the '55 championship game until it's over), while never addressing others (the team's gifted coach quit in '57, but who knows why?).
Understands sport as much more than athletics, when basketball served not as a source of endorsement deals but as an opportunity for people who never had much before.
A reverential yet frustratingly skimpy nonfiction record.
Writer-director Blankenbaker fails to get much out of her subjects beyond surface generalities. It's a shame, because you know these men have stories to share.
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