Sundance Film Review: No No: A Dockumentary

Posted January 26, 2014 in
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Photo courtesy of: Ron Mroweic

No No: A Dockumentary
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Jeffrey Radice

I don’t care about baseball whatsoever, or any sport for that matter. I didn’t know who Dock Ellis was until  last year, when I read about him in Mike Brown’s SLUG Magazine article about athlete drug use—Ellis was famous for pitching a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates while high on acid in 1970. That fact alone was the reason I was compelled to see No No and, aside from 10 minutes of boredom I experienced during the segment focusing on Ellis’ trade history, director Jeffrey Radice surprisingly held my interest in a baseball player. Besides being famous for pitching on drugs, Ellis was known for his outspoken defense of black equality and his eccentric, untamable style on and off the field. Ellis, along with the rest of the Pirates, broke barriers and set precedents for black American athletes and developed a reputation for the Pirates as one of the wildest teams in the major leagues. From his days as a wild, gum-chomping rookie to his years as a post-baseball drug counselor, Radice uses archival footage, audio clips and interviews with those who knew Dock the best to trace the arc of the sports legend until his death in 2008. I enjoyed this and I really don’t care about sports—even casual sports fans are bound to love No No’s exploration of baseball’s high times in the ’70s –Cody Kirkland

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