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“Go hard or go home.” Looming against a blue sky and brick walls, Pee Wee Kirkland asserts, “We changed basketball.” Playing the game on outdoor courts in New York City, he and his fellows forged a new attitude, a new style. “It was about living up to what you said, it was street flavor basketball.” Indeed, the pick-up games he’s describing have shaped all of basketball, a point illustrated over the past couple of weeks during the Eastern Conference Finals between the Pacers and the Heat, characterized by impressively athletic, physical play and all manner of trash talk.

“You have to be willing to sacrifice everything,” says Katie Wano, “Because once you’re in the air, you have nothing to protect you.” Wano played with Abby Wambach at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and as she speaks, Abby Head On, illustrates just how thrilling and challenging the move can be. Airing as part of ESPN’s Storied series starting 15 May, the documentary celebrates Wambach’s many achievements and narrates her life story, with the sorts of images you might expect: photos of her childhood, the youngest of seven children growing up in PIttsford, New York, apparently competitive from the moment she could be, admiring talking heads, and swelling music on the soundtrack, or, during moments of seeming reflection, an earnest piano plink. Following a basic chronology, from Wambach’s high school stardom through college and then her triumphs as a professional player, the film notes the 2008 friendly game, the 32-year-old Wambach’s 200th, termed by narrator Jack Youngblood a “testament to her durability.” The film includes as well a particular test of that durability, when Wambach collided with another player in 2008 and broke her leg. While she takes it as a lesson that “You can’t get too emotional,” US women’s national team head coach Pia Sundhage remembers thinking, “Gold medal, here we go, off.” At the London games in 2012, the US women’s team does win, with Wambach making a dramatic header.

“I think conservatism’s all about being a individual,” announces Nick at the start of Follow the Leader. One of three high school class presidents followed by the film, he’s eager to attend the annual Boys State Leadership Week, where he and his fellows will be learning all about “politics.” As the film begins, Nick, Ben (a liberal, at first), and D.J. (an independent, more or less) take this word to mean a career, dedicated to public service, fulfilling their own ambitions, and making changes in people’s lives. Over three years, Jonathan Goodman Levitt’s beguiling documentary reveals, all three undergo changes, some more drastic than others.

This is a charming clip of two accomplished women who have been together almost as long as my wife and I have. Yet still they debate introducing one another as ‘life partner’ or ‘wife’.

I like ‘wife’. My (not federally or state-recognized—and thus we are forced to declare ‘single’ on our tax forms) wife likes ‘wife’, too.

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"This flick is a superficial but eye-popping survey for armchair nature tourists.

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