Doc News: Disney and Ben Stiller Remaking “Quantum Hoops”

Doc-makers, a word of creative and financial advice: rather than jumping ship and taking a paycheck to direct a generic Hollywood comedy, instead direct a decent nonfiction film with a feel-good narrative that could easily be adapted into a generic Hollywood comedy. But not too decent, because nobody is ever going to remake a film like “Hoop Dreams” — but maybe “Racing Dreams” (eventually) and now definitely “Quantum Hoops” (more advice: someone make a doc titled “Quantum Racing” right away — whether or not it’s about the sailing team of that name). According to Deadline, Disney is teaming up with Ben Stiller‘s Red Hour production company and doc-maker Rick Greenwald for a dramatic redo of Greenwald’s little known 2007 sports doc, and screenwriter Stan Chervin (“Moneyball”) has been hired to pen the adaptation.

The original “Quantum,” which features narration by David Duchovny, follows the Caltech Beavers at the end of the 2006 basketball season. Known as maybe the worst college team ever, the Beavers had at the time not won a conference game in 21 years, or any game in 11. Of course, they go to Caltech, so they’re total nerds, but perhaps they just needed the right coach… You get the picture, but you likely haven’t seen the film, and that’s probably to Disney and Red Hour’s preference. Theatrically the doc earned only $7,000 and it’s currently not even on Netflix. It is on DVD (and Amazon VOD), however, so Netflix’s status is part of the annoying issue I wrote about recently in my Movies.com column (everyone click the “save” button on the “Quantum Hoops” page now). I haven’t seen it yet either, but I’m still curious who they’ll get to star, as coach Roy Dow (seen in this video), as I can’t think of a single actor who resembles the guy. Maybe it’s the baldness that’s throwing me off.

Check out the trailer for the original “Quantum Hoops” after the jump.

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Miami 2011: “Mooney vs. Fowle”

I don’t know that I’ve ever attended a screening where the crowd is so into the documentary on screen (well, maybe the Bieber doc). James Lipscomb’s 1962 “Living Camera” episode “Mooney vs. Fowle” played to a crowd mostly made up of people who are in the Drew Associates’ vérité classic, and they understandably treated the film as if it were a slideshow projected at their high school reunion. People all around me talked amongst themselves, pointing out themselves or friends. At first it irritated me that I couldn’t always hear the dialogue from the actual film, but after a while I had an appreciation for what this experience was for everyone there. Most had apparently never seen it.

The doc brings us back to a 1961 football game played in front of 40,000 people at the Orange Bowl. A high school football game, pitting Miami High against their rivals from Edison High. The title refers to the coaches of each, and the film follows them separately, with their real families and their clan of players, in the days leading up to the big event. And then at last it astonishingly chronicles the game from all kinds of angles you wouldn’t expect from even the newly mobile tools of the Drew crew. Today’s television coverage doesn’t come nearly as close to capturing the spirit of the sport and its fans the way Lipscomb does here.

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