Sunday, October 13, 2013

L i n s a n i t y (2013) directed by Evan Leong

Usually when people start talking about God my brain turns off. However, the more I've been around Asians and Asian Americans, the more I have become accustomed to God playing a part in people's everyday lives. Believing in a god isn't a bad thing as long as it doesn't close you off from accepting others or leave you thinking you've got a free pass to do whatever you please. Trusting there's a creator or higher power out there might keep people humble and grateful for what they have.

Having watched the 2013 documentary Linsanity about NBA player Jeremy Lin, a friend felt unsettled by Lin's comment that he played basketball for God.  I told her he probably means he's not playing for money, fame, or to please others.  I think it's nice he's not hiding the fact he's Christian, unlike how celebrities hide the fact they support animal rights because it's not glamorous.

Linsanity runs about 15 minutes too long. Perhaps some footage of Lin practicing on his own, eating meals, and wheeling his laundry could be edited. Also, the music while generally inspirational sometimes seems contrived.

All in all Linsanity presents a multi-dimensional Jeremy Lin-- talented, hard working, smart, thoughtful, and funny.  My favorite parts include Lin talking about when times got tough (you could feel his disappointment and fear seeping through the screen), a perfect ending and what it means to him, Yao Ming's advice to Lin, and Jeremy's response to Kobe Bryant's dismissive attitude.  The footage of Asian American fans going bonkers with Linsanity is a treat, too.  I found myself holding my breath when Lin shared how he's been called chink by NBA fans.  Watching the film in a theater full of Asian Americans, it's a slur all of us had likely experienced.

Finally, whoever decided to include footage of Jeremy Lin training with his shirt off in Linsanity, THANK YOU.

Linsanity, an official section of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, is playing in Chicago, New York, Houston, Honolulu, the Bay Area, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and Taiwan.

Update: You can also stream Linsanity on Amazon.  It's currently the #1 documentary on the site.  My husband watched it last night, and from the comfort of home the film doesn't seem as long or the music as overly dramatic.  I still recommend the editing changes, though.  And I still enjoyed seeing Jeremy Lin without a shirt.