Archive for March, 2013

The Weather Man

People throw fast food at him. And its a minor point in the movie.

Continue Reading March 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

Just For Kicks

Reviewing a documentary is a pretty tough thing. Particularly without adding any unnecessary editorializing. Just For Kicks is a documentary about shoes. One would think it would be difficult to have a polarizing opinion on shoes. I did have issue with some of the matters they left out of the film. I also didn’t care for how they covered certain topics. However, my opinion on these minor points really doesn’t determine whether this documentary was well made and worthy of your time.

Produced, in part, by BET, Just For Kicks is a documentary about shoes and their relation to the hip hop and urban subcultures. In terms of covering the history of how shoes became a thing for people in urban areas of the country, it was very informative. Without spoiling it, they found people who knew the subject matter, sounded well informed, and could speak about shoes in an interesting and compelling fashion. At a certain point, the documentary begins to lose focus. They go off in a lot of different directions and only regains traction when it begins to discuss how shoes as a lifestyle is big business. Mostly athletic shoes are sold to people who are not athletic. 

Documentaries, like any other films, are driven in large part by their characters. Just For Kicks finds a bunch interesting characters to speak on the subject of shoes and hip hop culture. Some of these people own hundreds of pairs of shoes. Some like to have different kinds of shoes as fashion accessories that match the rest of their ensemble. Others are collectors of the rare and unique. And still others seem to just go with the crowd and buy whatever is popular at the moment. These people are engaging and passionate. They are unique and colorful. At the end of it all, you will understand why shoes are such a big deal with certain people in the urban market.

If I have a problem with this movie, it portrays this obsession with shoes as all positive. Nothing about this movie criticizes or examines the harmful impact this rampant consumerism has. People want to have the newest shoes that rappers or basketball players are hawking and as far as the film makers are concerned, that’s a beautiful thing. Only two times can I remember paint this subculture in any negative light. At one point a man states that owning 500 pairs of shoes constitutes a crack habit. And the very end, a guys girlfriend states she wishes he cared about Adult things as much as he cares about shoes from the 80’s. Even when they explore why people shoot each other for a pair of shoes, its portrayed as a good thing to do. You either have to be tough enough to wear a good pair of shoes or get murdered for not being tough enough to wear a good pair of shoes. Why not! They don’t even go so far as to criticize the corporations who make billions on these shoes every year while exploiting workers in the Third World. As far as the film makers are concerned, Nike is awesome and you should give them all your money or kill someone for their pair of Nikes. Because you can’t go out in public without looking awesome.

If you are interested in the history of shoes and the hip hop culture, this movie explains it very well. They do it in an interesting and colorful way with a lot of passion for the subject. If that is something you would like to know about, then this is the movie for you. If you’re fishing for a documentary that explores the subject matter in 360 degrees, this film is not for you. If your just looking for a good documentary for whatever reason, I have a hard time recommending it. It felt like a shoe commercial at points. It’s not a complete waste of time. I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch it again or recommend it to anyone.

March 1, 2013 at 10:36 pm Leave a comment