'Undefeated' demands a recount on the shots
Well. This is a first.
Every year when I wrap up the annual shots column, there are inevitably a few images that linger into my mind and make me wish I had considered them a little more, or make me wish they hadn't hidden from my memory until it was too late. But never has such a shot hit me so hard that I could legitimately say it might have been my top choice.
Yesterday I sat down to watch the documentary "Undefeated" again in preparation for today's Oscar Guide on the doc feature category. I've actually revisited each nominee because, it's such a close race, I felt I needed to dig through each one a second time. In any case, an image in the film's final moments stood up and shouted out to me, demanding retribution.
The film, as you likely know, recounts a season of football at the embattled Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee, and the shot in question comes at the conclusion of the final game depicted (the outcome of which I won't spoil). The camera moves in on coach Bill Courtney as he hugs one of his successful players, OC Brown. He buries his face in his pupil's shoulder as the mic picks up the words he pushes through tears. Starting on OC's face, we circle around the embrace. However, when the camera comes back around to OC, a single tear has streaked his cheek, the first of many as we push in on his face and capture a very real, very raw moment.
This shot is phenomenal. It certainly brought tears to my eyes (one of a couple of moments in the film that do that, in fact) and is just so expert in its simplistic execution.
I don't know who is responsible for the shot. I thought about tracking the thing down and getting on the phone with someone applicable, but I actually decided against it. I don't want to explore it too much because it's so pure on its own. So whether it was Daniel Lindsay or T.J. Martin (co-directors of the film who also shot it themselves) or some other department hired hand who was behind the camera for that moment, if you're reading, just let me say this: Bravo.
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
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