Sunday, July 08, 2007

Better Know a Movie: Street Fight

Much to the chagrin of the Undude, I am taking a break from watching arthouse documentaries and reading political biographies by watching a political documentary. But there is something to be said about keeping to a reliable genre for a films that I know I'll probably enjoy. Street Fight was an exception - it wasn't a movie that i merely enjoyed, it was one that thoroughly captivated me. This film retells the 2002 Newark mayoral campaign that pitted Cory Booker, a rising black political star in the P.B. (Pre-Barack) era against incumbent black mayor Sharpe James.
Filmmaker Marshall Curry follows Booker's upstart campaign, which eventually gained the endorsement of Bill Bradley, Spike Lee and Cornel West, and shows the raw emotions of the campaign - both on the trail and in the war room. Both Booker, a Stanford All-American football player turned Rhodes Scholar turned Yale Law School graduate, and James, a candidate from the old school, are compelling figures, for different reasons. I won't ruin the ending for folks (though a simple Wikipedia search would reveal the ending - an Achilles Heel for all political documentaries I suppose), because the film is extraordinarily sublime in the way it vests the viewer in the outcome of an election held half a decade ago.
Because DudeSpin's Better Know series only touts movies that it recommends, I find giving out ratings to be a bit superfluous and self-defeating. Nevertheless, I am comfortable in saying that this film is nearly on par with State of Mind in its entertainment, educational, and aesthetic qualities - and that is no small compliment.


SportsGal said...

I can vouch for State of Mind. Jason and I watched it Friday night. It was fantastic (after I got over my initial disappointment that it was actually rhythmic gymnastics, not real gymnastics). Good recommendation, Dude.

If any of you are up for watching a non-non-fiction movie, I'd recommend Little Children, with Kate Winslet. The book was excellent as well.

I'm currently reading "It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case and the Lives It Shattered" by Mike Pressler and Don Yeager. Two separate people at the paper gave it to me for free. Some of the anecdotal stuff from Pressler's perspective is pretty interesting, and needless to say it makes Joe Alleva look like a fool, but there's so much over-the-top anti-Nifong and anti-Brodhead rhetoric that it kind of gets in the way.

Head Dude said...

Interesting. The fans would like a review of the book after you're done, with emphasis on Joe-bashing!

The Dude said...

I'm always glad to be of service to the Sportsgal. She did, after all, recommend the Christine Brennan classic Inside Edge to me a few eons ago.