Jesse Owens usually gets all the attention when people talk about the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, but the documentary Olympic Pride, American Prejudice looks at the other black athletes who traveled with Owens to Hitler’s Berlin 80 years ago, including Jackie Robinson’s big brother Mack, and Tidye Ann Pickett-Phillips, first black American woman to compete in the Olympics.
A variety of documentaries about Negro League baseball: Only The Ball Was White, Black Ball, Extra Innings: Preserving the History of the Negro Leagues, and The Long Summers of Lou Dials. [more inside]
"Assault In The Ring" (originally called "Cornered: A Life in the Ring") is a film about a boxing match that took place between undefeated prospect Billy Collins Jr and Luis Resto. What began as a match turned into a life altering moment for both participants - Collins' career dreams ended and Resto and his trainer Panama Lewis landed in prison for their illegal actions. The subsequent investigation and trial have led many to declare this bout the darkest day in boxing history. But the film-maker doesn't stop there. He tracked down the surviving principals and arranged meetings among some of them, trying to see if the documentary can be an occasion for reconciliation or justice. Watch the film in its entirety on Youtube here.
Team Spirit is a short documentary by Errol Morris about the funerals of passionate sports fans. (SLYT)
Former major leaguer and current minor league manager Wally Backman says some very colorful things. The full censored episodes are online (starting with Episode 1: Where's Wally Backman?) Mostly NSFW. [more inside]
"I'm just looking for a second chance. Other people get second chances. Alcoholics. Drug addicts. Spousal beaters. Not gamblers, though. But, if you want to put something on my tombstone that was very important to me, it’s 1,972. That’s how many winning games I’ve played in. So that makes me the biggest winner in the history of sports. No one else can say that." Here, Now is a short documentary that looks at baseball legend Pete Rose, as he lives his life today. [more inside]
Straight Acting [57m] is a first-person documentary about one man's journey from Mormon missionary to comfortably gay rugby player. [more inside]
On Any Sunday is a 1971 film about motorcycling. Narrated by Bruce Brown (director of The Endless Summer, it features Mert Lawwill (who later developed a prosthetic for amputee riders), Malcolm Smith, and Steve McQueen, among others. It can be viewed in its entirety on Hulu. It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature in 1971, and reviewed by Roger Ebert in the same year.
The Baseball Card Movie is a short documentary set in a baseball card shop frequented by collectors. Showcases the customers' different styles of collecting and the strange ways the card manufactures mange to sell packs for $100+. It's not for kids anymore, but it's not all bad. (Via)
Obsessed with Jews is a hilariously delightful documentary short about Jewish memorabilia collector, Neil Keller. Keller speaks effusively about Jews in basketball ("Ossie Schechtman, great story. Ossie Schechtman scored the first basket in NBA history.") and Jews in hockey ("The first Jew in hockey was Samuel Rothschild."), although contrary to the Chanukah Song, Keller provides a letter where Rod Carew explains he's not Jewish. The documentary is by Jeff Krulik, that mensch responsible for Heavy Metal Parking Lot. For more Jeff Krulik documentary shorts and a great article on Krulik's days in cable access TV, check the multimedia article here. (Click through the pages. It's worth it!)
Another Country is the name of Chicago Tribune photographer Scott Strazzante's long-term documentary project. Presented in diptych form, he shows the lives of two subjects on the same piece of land separated only by time. From the Cagwin family farm to a sleepy suburban Chicago subdivision, the striking images magically embody the old saying- the more things change, the more they stay the same. [more inside]