Adam Shopkorn

Screen Shot 2013-04-24 at 6.11.04 PM

Lenny Cooke, directed by Josh and Benny Safdie (Daddy Longlegs), is an astonishing documentary centering around promising basketball star, Lenny Cooke, who in 2001 was the highest ranked high school basketball in the nation, ranked above even Amar’e Stoudemaire, LeBron James or Carmelo Anthony. Through happenstance and perhaps Cooke’s lack of motivation, Cooke was never drafted into the NBA, and now lives in obscurity in Virginia, overweight and struggling to get by financially. The impetus of Lenny Cooke came with the film’s producer, Adam Shopkorn, who was followed the headlines about Cooke in 2001 and convinced the rising star to be the focus of his documentary. When Cooke didn’t make it to the NBA, the project was temporarily shelved, but then Shopkorn approached the Safdies to help finish the film. The Safdies and Shopkorn then went to Virginia to film Cooke in the present time, and they bridged the older footage with the new to create a meditation on Cooke’s life trajectory. Per my review, I loved the film and was excited to sit down with the Safdies and Shopkorn to discuss bridging Shopkorn’s footage to the Safdies’ new footage, and the Safdies’ transition from narrative to documentary. They also go into great detail over one of the film’s standout scenes: Cooke celebrating his 30th birthday party at home in Virginia, during which time he drunkenly and tenderly serenades his fiancée with a Mario song. That scene is devastatingly powerful, for you almost forget that a camera is even present. It’s […]

read more...

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 3.20.49 PM

Imagine living every day of your life knowing that you are more famous for not amounting to anything than you are for your actual success. In Josh and Benny Safdie’s documentary, Lenny Cooke, the eponymous subject struggles with that exact reality. The film chronicles Cooke’s life from 2001, when he was ranked as the number one high school basketball player in the nation – higher than than LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony –  to the present, as he lives in relative obscurity in Virginia, overweight and struggling to earn a living. The question the film sets out to answer is what went wrong. The Safdies, making their documentary debut here, weave together a gut-wrenching tale of missed opportunities, sheer chance and reconciliation with the past. Very luckily supplied with hours of footage capturing Cooke in the most pertinent moments of his saga, the Safdies bridge the past to the present with excellent vérité-style cinematography and their keen ability to craft a well-drawn out, perfectly-paced film.

read more...
Twitter button
Facebook button
Google+ button
RSS feed

published: 12.22.2014
C-
published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-


Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
Fantastic Fest 2014
6 Filmmaking Tips: James Gunn
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3