Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:
I really like the documentary work of Billy Corben. He’s got a feel for muckraking sensationalism as well as a knack for weaving talking-head interviews into dense, colorful swathes of information. You can sense his inquisitiveness, his wiliness, and his sensitivity: his movies brush up against all sorts of unusual, sometimes un-PC ideas without becoming declamatory or turning into polemics. And he seems to have a talent for getting folks to open up. “Broke,” Corben’s ESPN piece about the money mismanagement habits of professional athletes, is both empathetic and unsparingly clear-eyed concerning the mental faculties of its subjects, whose cluelessness seems of a piece with their bravado. Even now, talking about how they squandered millions, they seem to be bragging. As if their recklessness served as further proof of their greatness.
- “Broke” is on Netflix Instant.
- This Distracted Globe on Corben’s 2006 “Cocaine Cowboys.” It might be the most riveting gangster movie of the past 10 years. It, too, is on Netflix Instant.
- Also on Netflix Instant: Corben’s “Cocaine Cowboys 2,” which is good but not nearly as juicy as its predecessor, and “The U,” which deals with the University of Miami football program. In some ways “The U” is a more appropriate sequel to “Cowboys”; it shares the earlier film’s focus on money, ego, and ethnicity, and the roles they played in shaping 1980s Miami.