As a lifelong baseball fan, anytime a filmmaker uses the game as a backdrop for a good story I’m more or less sold immediately. Chapman Way and Maclain Way‘s The Battered Bastards of Baseball was one of my favorite films of 2014 for beautifully meeting the above criteria. While today’s recommendation may fall a little short of that standard, director Jeff Radice‘s No No: A Dockumentary should still be considered mandatory viewing for baseball fans who just also happen to be Netflix subscribers.
Premiering at Sundance in 2014, No No: A Dockumentary chronicles the life of major league pitcher Dock Ellis. The All-Star and World Series champion spent a majority of his 11-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and is most widely known for claiming to have no-hit the Padres in 1970 while under the influence of LSD. While Radice’s film discusses Ellis’ famous outing, its emotional center lies in a willingness to candidly address the pitcher’s battle with substance abuse. Ellis was both an addict and a leader in the advancement of players’ rights. A broken individual and yet a beloved teammate and friend. The film shows Ellis in all of these lights and, in doing so, comes across as a genuine portrait of a man who devoted the latter part of his life to helping others learn from his own mistakes.
This week’s recommendation in hand, let’s get to our Top 5 list: