Friday, October 4, 2013

Linsanity Movie Review

Linsanity Takes New York, World by Storm

It's hard to believe that over a year has passed since Jeremy Lin turned the NBA on its ear, with an incredible, all-star caliber run that turned his New York Knicks' season around (NY improved from 8-15 to the Playoffs, with most of their stars injured and unavailable.) Not only did success come on the court; but Lin became a worldwide star, culminating with his own catch phrase "Linsanity." Evan Leong takes an up close and personal look at the man behind the myth in his provocative documentary Linsanity; and the result is further evidence of how faith, perseverance and opportunity can turn "nothing to greatness" in the blink of an eye.

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: Jeremy Lin came from a humble background to make an unbelievable run in the NBA. State high school champion, all-Ivy League at Harvard, undrafted by the NBA and unwanted there: his story started long before he landed on Broadway.

What’s Best: Lin proves equal parts humble and likable (a rare combination, especially in a professional athlete.) Chalk this up to a strong upbringing that began with supportive parents (including a 5'6" dad who grew up practicing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's skyhook) a great rapport with his two brothers, and of course his faith. I suppose it doesn't hurt that he's also comfortable enough to rank his three favorite blankets (#3 - Sesame Street, #2 - Garfield and #1 - Lion King, which Lin refers to as "legendary.") Owner of an infectious smile and positive attitude, Jeremy delights at the little things in life... such as putting together a Homedics relaxation fountain (purchased on sale!) Once assembled, his face lights up like a Christmas tree. Great moment.

What’s Not: If anything, there's too great an emphasis on basketball, and not enough on Lin's faith. It's a difficult balance to achieve, but I got the impression that Leong wanted to focus on sports first. Lin admits, 'I love being the underdog,' but I have to second-guess the claims that racism hurt his chances to succeed. There's no denying the awful fact that idiotic (and mean-spirited) fans hurled insults at him during games, etc., but Lin did make it to the NBA. Perhaps it wasn't in fairy-tale style; but his journey ultimately attributed to his eventual fame. Job 1:21 The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away... Pretty fitting, don't you think?

Best Line: Lin gives credit where credit's due, 'I know God orchestrated this whole thing. There's too much out of my control; and the way it happened... It's just miraculous.' Modest throughout, he even manages to stay grounded with his friends. While discussing who's better (Kobe or LeBron) Lin's pals argue that Jeremy should know better, to which he cleverly replies, 'I don't know: I just have better seats.'

Overall: I love a good sports doc, and Lin makes for a most interesting (and likable) subject. Leong covers all the bases, delving as far as anyone could with a person who admits, "I hate the spotlight." Lin's head coach at the height of his popularity (current Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni) sums it up perfectly, 'He's what's right with sports.' Jeremy left the bright lights of NYC for Houston, when he signed a three-year, $25 million contract over the summer of 2012. Not bad for a Harvard grad, who got cut on Christmas morning. Linsanity is available now on Video on Demand, and screens exclusively at AMC Rio in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Click here to purchase tickets.

Grade: B