All About Food had my Teriyaki Steak again. I’m so excited to tear this up. #yummy #foodporn #tasty #allaboutfood (at All About Food)
Grilled Teriyaki Pork Chop with Mac & Cheese and Yellow Rice. Delicious…. #yummy #grub #foodporn #allaboutfood… (at All About Food)
Relationship Tip: There are 3 things that are the key to a fulfilling union. #Communication allows for there to always have understanding. #Respect allows a relationship to be on equal terms and #Trust is the basis of everything. Follow these things and happiness is yours…
Pebble Steel Review (by Pocketnow)
Here is a quick review of the Pebble Steel watch. I am still not a huge fan of smart watches because all the information that is streamed to you can easily be seen on your phone. One day I will see what the big deal is hopefully….
LENNY COOKE MOVIE OFFICIAL TRAILER (by Lenny Cooke)
Your Must-Watch Hoops Doc: The Rise and Fall of Lenny Cooke
BY BETHLEHEM SHOALS
For basketball fans of a certain age, the trailer for Lenny Cooke was a jolt. As a pained, haunting version of “The Star Spangled Banner” plays, we see 2001 footage of Brooklynite Cooke—once considered the equal of LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony—taking the youth basketball circuit by storm. Then, abruptly, we’re with an overweight, despondent man whose million-miles-away stare is cinematic anti-gravity. That’s Lenny Cooke today.
The full film of Lenny Cooke follows the contours of that trailer, emphasizing the past but refusing to shy away from or leave with easy conclusions from the present. (Full disclosure: I wanted to see the film so badly that I arranged a screening in Portland; the film opens in Seattle and Chicago on Nov. 29, then expands to other major cities in subsequent weeks.) Linear storytelling is not this doc’s strong suit; if you want to know what happened to Cooke between then and now, this film won’t really connect the dots. This is not a film about what happened to Lenny Cooke or even why it happened. Thus, almost defensively, it’s also not delving into why Cooke wasn’t drafted in 2002, passed over 58 times, or why he failed to stick as an NBA free agent.
What it is about—what it has in spades—is a record of how it happened, a sense of time and place that allows impressions to trump information. The unvarnished, scenes of Cooke’s life on top of the world are loose, even abstracted. But they capture the preps-to-pros boom in a light we’ve never seen before. The later footage, when Cooke attempts to come to peace with his squandered hoop dreams, is wrenching and, in some ways, miraculous. A lesser man would’ve long ago been dragged under. That Cooke has ghosts, not demons, is one of the small triumphs that keeps Lenny Cooke from being an exercise in raw tragedy.
The backstory of the film is almost as convoluted as Cooke’s saga. In 2001, young filmmaker and native New Yorker Adam Shopkorn approached Cooke about filming his journey to the NBA. Back then, Cooke was considered a surefire NBA prospect, even if he opted to skip college. Watching him play at summer talent farms, you’re transported back to that time. For the documentary’s subject and its initial author, this was a straightforward proposition.
The Cooke we see in these scenes is the Great Destroyer, slashing through defenders, nailing jumpers, and dunking with calculated abandon. Cooke was the prototypical NBA wing, 6-foot-6 with long limbs, rippling muscles, and lithe movements. In this setting, it’s hard to tell if Cooke’s no-look passes and twitchy ball handling demonstrate versatility or an incorrigible case of NYC swagger. Still, it’s impressive, and Cooke tears through the competition right up until a young LeBron James knocks him off his pedestal with an acrobatic game-winner. This moment has become the stuff of lore; it marked the beginning of James’s ascent and, supposedly, the beginning of Cooke’s demise.
Shopkorn’s camera drops out after Cooke leaves his suburban New Jersey haven for Michigan, trading in a well-meaning guardian for a shady agent. The fateful NBA draft, as with Cooke’s years as an international journeyman, is represented here by broadcast footage. There’s no mention of the life-threatening car accident that happened during this period, but again, this film isn’t about causality. Cooke was one person and now he’s another. That contrast, the before and after, is at the heart of Lenny Cooke, and that’s more than enough to sustain it.
When Shopkorn reconnected with Cooke to finish the project, he brought in feature film directors Josh and Benny Safdie. Their ambling, naturalistic style lends itself well to present-day Cooke, an affable void of a man who seems to have let go of what could have been. The problem is, he’s never been anything but a basketball prodigy, broken or otherwise. In one especially sharp scene, Cooke reminds his friends that “Lenny” came from basketball—to everyone else who knows him, he’s always been “Leonard.” The good news, if you want to call it that, is that Cooke isn’t misery incarnate. He clearly relishes fatherhood, gets along well with his fiance, and takes great pride in his cooking. He’s not addicted, or dead, or in jail. Just a man out in Emporia, Virginia, unsure of exactly what to do with himself.
There are two acts to Lenny Cooke. There could easily be three, but that’s not the structure set forth here. I do wonder, though, if the door hasn’t been left open for another, one that’s as much about the film as a part of it. We get hints of it when Cooke attends a Knicks game and chops it up with former peers like Melo, Amare Stoudemire, and Joakim Noah, an executive producer on the film. A friend of mine suggested that for Cooke himself, the process here was a kind of therapy. Revisit the past, confront the present, and get it all out there once and for all. What’s left is a version of the past that’s both out of reach and free to be its own kind of legacy. Where Lenny Cooke is remembered not as a bust but as the kid who terrorized competition in 2001.
As the film makes its way around the country, though, it’s the dizzying highs as much as the confounding lows that stick with viewers. Lenny Cooke is no longer a disappointment, he’s a tantalizing what-if who never got a chance to pan out. In his day, he was an icon, and that’s a lot of what Lenny Cooke has reawakened in basketball fans. Cooke was one of the last great New York ballers, a Connie Hawkins-like mystery whose potential has become its own kind of reputation. He was also the zenith, or the nadir, of the preps-to-pro movement: a raw, untutored talent on a ride nobody wanted to slow down or complicate; the kind of prospect pro teams lusted after and then hated themselves for in the morning.
My own theory? Lenny Cooke didn’t get drafted because teams relished the chance to be able to opt out of the gold rush. Cooke was everything threatening about that era of basketball. Keeping him out of the league was, in a way, a restorative measure, an attempt by front offices to convince themselves that sanity still reigned. Of course, the 2002 draft was a mess of unknown foreigners, and in 2004, high school ballers came back with a vengeance. But at a crucial juncture, the player who represented the NBA’s worst nightmare gave GMs just enough ammunition for them to pass him over and feel like they were still in control. Cooke was made into a very public example, something that had consequences well past draft night.
Cooke has been talking to youngsters as the ultimate cautionary tale. Maybe Lenny Cooke will allow him to redefine himself not only a fuck-up but also someone who was, in his day, as great and electric as there ever was.
My lunch today. Chipotle BBQ Smothered Chicken with Mac & Cheese with Yellow Rice… This is great… #chicken #foodporn #yummy #greatfood #grub #allaboutfood… (at All About Food)
And people say he can’t score. #Lebron makes #61 look easy. The #Bobcats weren’t ready. #NBA #Miami @kingjames….
Relationship Tip: Going through a bad break up can be devastating but the worst thing you can do is jump directly into another one. You need time to heal emotionally and learn to love yourself before you can love again. #truth #realtalk #relationship #happiness #quote..
I just finished watching 12 Years a Slave and I am ashamed of myself. I was actually afraid to watch this movie because I didn’t feel I could deal with the situation that my ancestors dealt with. Even though I have lived my life as a good person, I should bend down on my knees and be thankful that the people of my past were so strong and able to make it through the atrocities that they went through to make it possible for me to live freely today. Every time I see someone of my ethnic background making a fool of themselves from now on, I will be embarrassed and ashamed because many people died to give us all the opportunity to be able to live our lives as free as we would like. The sad thing is that many of us choose to not only to be unaware of history but we betray all the things that many people stood up and died for to make it possible for us to live the way we do today. Slavery as we know it from 12 Years a Slave may be gone but the slavery of our minds is alive and well during the days we are living in. We must do better and we must make others better. If I can speak to one person and help them change who they are to be better than I will be better for it. The chains on our body may be gone but we must break the chains that we have on our minds. It starts with me and I will be better everyday. Please watch this movie. Hopefully it will change your life. Like it has changed my life..
Mediterranean Sea Bass with Mac & Cheese and Yellow Rice. I love lunch. 😊.. #foodporn #yummy #greatfood #grub #AllAboutFood… (at All About Food)
Relationship Tip: Everyone wants a relationship that is free of arguments. This is not possible if both parties are allowed to be themselves. People are different and they won’t always agree if they’re being true to themselves. Embrace your differences and enjoy not having secrets… #trust #realtalk #quote #respect #relationship…
My homie @cheekbonez is a writer and director of films. His new movie is going to be incredible but he needs help financing his next masterpiece. Check out his other films and you will see that he has an amazing eye and a lot of talent. #movie #film #kickstarter #nyc…
It amazes me the level of talent that is in the world that hasn’t been tapped. My homie Dontae is an incredible visionary. He puts a lot of work and passion into his craft. He has some famous friends and family but he is going to make it on his own merits. Check his film Focus. It is a true window into the world of the ghetto and a story that inner city kids have to deal with on a daily basis. The next time you see someone that looks like they could be considered a thug, before you judge them try to empathize on what they may have to endure in life. I can’t wait to see what’s next on the agenda of Dontae. Great things are coming..