FILM & FEAST
FIT FOR A KING
By Chris Kessinger
FILM : More Than A Game (2009)
In a Tweet : Today, Lebron James is the greatest basketball player in the world, but where did it all start? “More Than A Game” takes a look at the origins of Akron’s Favorite son.
What it’s really about : Five talented high school basketball players from Akron, Ohio, star in this remarkable true life coming-of-age story about friendship and loyalty in the face of great adversity. Coached by a charismatic but inexperienced player’s father, and led by the future NBA superstar Lebron James, the “Fab Five’s” improbable seven-year journey leads them from a decrepit inner-city gym to the cusp of a national high school championship. Along the way, the unity of the team is repeatedly tested, both on and off the court, as James exploding worldwide celebrity threatens to destroy everything they’ve set out to achieve together.
Why it’s Good : It’s nice to see a documentary that’s not afraid to explore the good and bad sides of a city like Akron with such honesty. For any Akronite, there are plenty of recognizable landmarks that make the city a character in the film itself. Kristopher Belman wrote and directed this documentary that sometimes feels like a movie, but the film has a shocking way of bringing you back to reality to show that these men are playing for their futures. It’s easy to focus a film on the biggest star in the world, but the stories about the other four men is something that you don’t hear often. The home movie footage casts a wonderful progression giving the audience a never-before-seen look into the lives of these superstars.
How it will surprise you : Belman has a way of getting James to open up unlike anyone before him. The story of James family’s troubles to find a stable residence, as well as James lack of relationship with his father, gives the audience a very original story to the documented superstar. This isn’t just a film about basketball, or about friendship, it contains two main underlying messages : Always strive for more, and never let where you came from define who you are as a person. Perhaps I was most surprised about the under-the-table offerings that were presented to these young men; it’s a dirty side of sports that we don’t often see in documentaries.
Soundtrack Extras : The song, “Forever” by rap artists Eminem, Drake, Kanye West and Lil Wayne was inspired by this film and can be heard during the film’s closing credits.
FEAST : Swenson’s Drive-IN
It has been well-documented that Lebron James has one place in mind when he’s back home, cruising the streets of Akron, in search of the taste that defines this city: Swensons Drive-In. Wesley T “Pop” Swenson began selling his delicious hamburgers in 1933, out of the back of his station wagon at the newly built Buchtel High School. The next year, Swenson opened the first Swensons on South Hawkins, near Market Street. He owned the restaurant until 1949 when he sold the business to Robert Phillips. In 1952, a second location opened on East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue. For more than 80 years, it has been a destination for Akronites and the city’s visitors.
Film Freak’s Suggestion : While this place has everything from fried chicken dinners to garden salads, I’ve always enjoyed a simple and practical choice: The Galley Boy. This double-cheeseburger garnished with an olive is topped with two secret sauces and encased in a lightly buttered bun. The fries are wonderful, and the onion rings are an edible time-machine back to the 1960’s car hop joints, but if I only have a couple bucks in my pocket, I choose the Potato Teezers. This tasty potato and cheese combo gets it’s zesty kick from a touch of Jalapeno, and it’s the kind of thing of which dreams are made. Finish off your meal with one of Swensons 18 flavors of deliciously creamy milkshakes; strawberry and banana are this critic’s favorites.
You can find Swensons in the Greater Akron area at :
40 South Hawkins Street………..330-864-8416
658 East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue…………330-928-8515
40 Brookmont Road……….330-665-1858