Wednesday, October 31, 2012

ESPN Films 30 for 30: There's No Place Like Home

I finished watching There's No Place Like Home. This is the third installment of ESPN's 30 for 30 Vol II. An episode guide for Vol II is here.

When I first heard about this film, it sounded like a dumb idea. Frankly, the first few minutes of the documentary are awkward.

This documentary tells the story of Josh Swade's fanatical quest to win at auction James Naismith’s original document outlining the rules of basketball. His dream is to win these rules for the University of Kansas, where he went to school and where Naismith founded the Jayhawks basketball program. Additionally, the film looks briefly at the history of James Naismith and Kansas basketball.

The story is told in an original format and style from any of the other 30 for 30's. Swade works for a film production company. He filmed his quest as it was happening, including his travels around the country trying to convince wealthy alums that his cause is worthy of their time and donations. Unlike most documentaries, it is not a recreation of the events, but the actual events documented on film as they unfold.

As the story unfolded, I found it more and more compelling. I had expected it to be one of my least favorite of the ESPN Film 30 for 30's, but it was not. In the end, I found it interesting and worth watching. I had ranked all of the Volume I films. I am not sure that I am going to rank the Volume II films or try to compare them to the original series.

I do think that they missed one opportunity. They should have used the rules of basketball as section headings for each part of the film. ESPN tweeted a few of the rules when the film was being shown and I think that it would have an interesting part of the film.

There's No Place Like Home is available on iTunes.

A trailer for the film is here.

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