Brighton Beach Memories of the 2nd Street Park Boys (Lean-N-Mean)
Mar 8, 2011 (Updated Mar 8, 2011)
Review by ChrisJarmick
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Memorable people you'll care about.
The Bottom Line: Some memorable stories of a group of boys who once played street basketball together that you won't soon forget.
The BOYS OF 2ND STREET PARK is a 2003 documentary (originally on Showtime) about a group of guys who grew up in the late 1950s and 60's in Brighton Beach, N.Y. They aren't famous guys, there's no twist where it turns out these guys all were part of a robbery or discovered a cure for the common cold or made the perfect pizza. There's also no chase scenes or sexy naked women.
Recommend this product?
It's worth watching. Give this one ten or so minutes and you'll most likely be hooked.
Directors Dan Klores and Ron Berger quickly establish a calm intimate tone of familiarity with the primary group of guys they interview. The talking head interviews and anecdotes are punctuated with a generous helping of archival footage of the Brighton Beach and Coney Island areas of New York. There's old pictures, old home movies, and we quickly get a sense of time and place. A past that doesn't exist anymore unfolds in front of us.
For most viewers, they won't know the places being talked about, but you'll probably relate on some level to the stories of childhood friends anxious to get outside and play with each other, and stories of favorite hangouts.
You ever wonder what happened to the gang of kids you grew up with? The crazy kid? The hyperactive kid? The jock? The pot-head? The book smart nerd?
Well, in a way that's what this documentary is. A group of guys now in their mid-50s tell several stories and eventually about the basketball team they created that was good enough to play in the city tournaments and face off against a flashier all-black team; a story about a first love (and we even get to hear from the girlfriend); Stories of growing up together, attending concerts, doing drugs, embarking on a cross country trip.
You get more interested and curious about all of it as the documentary continues. I could tell you more and ruin some of the heart-wrenching stories-both very sad and quite upbeat-but I won't.
I could tell you there's an ending that will give you goose-bumps and make you smile-but I won't do that either.
Discover the charms of this one for yourself. I really enjoyed it. You probably will too.
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