Back when this first came out, I had heard that it was like Hoop Dreams, only even more gully. Which obviously meant that it was a must that I see this shit. Even if it wasn't as good as Hoop Dreams, the fact that it's even being compared to that film means that it has to be fucking incredible. The other thing that I found interesting was the idea that it might actually be gullier than Hoop Dreams. Can a film even be gullier than Hoop Dreams?
In a word, yes. This film is easily the gulliest shit I've ever seen before in my life. In fact, if a film could be any gullier than this, I'm not even sure I would want to see it. Hoop Dreams was cool because the daddy was on crack, the coach was an asshole and everybody was walking around rocking Starter coats and suede fronts. But this shit? Oh my fucking God. Literally every other scene in this shit is a coach assaulting the shit out of one of the players. And when I say "assaulting the shit," I mean straight up fucking coach on player violence.
See that big two earring rocking jig pictured above? He's Taurean Charles. Just beyond being one of the scariest fucking 17-year-old kids I've ever seen before in life, the dude is a serious laugh riot. He's basically the Lebron James of shitty Florida high school football and since it's the South and shit, there's no restriction on him doing shit like walking right off the field to collect on his bets and making an appearance in class whenever he feels like it and what have you. That is until he gets knocked right the fuck out during a game and ends up being paralyzed for a while.
So he's out for what appears to be about 2 days. When he comes back, he's obviously shook and attempts to half-ass during practice lest he fuck himself up again. When the coach sees what's happening, he gets pissed and orders one of the other players to knock the shit out of him. The other kid won't do it, so Taurean and the coach end up getting into it. The coach warns him that if he keeps talking like a little bitch, he's going to kick the living shit out of him. Taurean calls his bluff and then, before you know it, the guy just fucking attacks. That scene alone was one of the wilder things I've ever seen before in a film.
Honestly, I wrote a much better post about this, but I ended up losing it just like I did Monday's Battle of the Sexes. The bottom line is, regardless of how you feel about high school sports or documentary films, you need to see this shit. It's not a better film than Hoop Dreams, but it's in the same vein and it definitely has its share of oh shit moments. I caught it on Showtime On Demand at Jo and Kim's house. It should be there until the end of next month.
I did a little Google search in order to find that excellent yearbook picture and found that this Charles kid has become one of the main Cracksmokers of NCAA Football.