No No: A Dockumentary  (2014)

On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Years later, he admitted that he had mistakenly thought he wasn't pitching that day, and took a hit of LSD before the game. I expected a documentary focusing mainly on that game, but got way more than that.

I'm a huge baseball fan, and I love the history of the game. Beyond just Dock Ellis, this showed a really interesting perspective on how the game has changed a great deal since the 70s. Ellis was a loud, proud black man, which still wasn't fully accepted in Major League Baseball. He was also really into drugs, from coke and weed to LSD; you would think that made him an outlier in MLB, but from what this movie laid out, it was way more common than not.

The movie is made up of interviews with Ellis (who passed away in 2008), his teammates, friends, and family. They tell stories from his youth to his death, focusing on everything from baseball to drugs to women. I tend to prefer documentaries that utilize a narrator, but the way this was edited worked perfectly without one. Each interview flowed into the next, telling the narrative in its own way.

I thought I would just watch a story about a unique moment in baseball lore, but got treated to much more. A a member of the first all-minority lineup in MLB history, an All-Star game starting pitcher, a World Series champion, AL Comeback Player of the Year; a drug addict, a playboy, a woman abuser; a recovering addict, a sober man, a drug counselor. Dock Ellis lived a pretty intense life from beginning to end.

 

 

On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, "No No: A Dockumentary" gets a 7 out of 10.