Combustible Celluloid Review - Stephen Curry: Underrated (2023), n/a, Peter Nicks, Stephen Curry, Reggie Miller, Kevin Durant, Dell Curry, Sonya Curry, Bob McKillop, Ayesha Curry, Spike Lee
Combustible Celluloid
Stream it:
Download at i-tunes iTunes
With: Stephen Curry, Reggie Miller, Kevin Durant, Dell Curry, Sonya Curry, Bob McKillop, Ayesha Curry, Spike Lee
Written by: n/a
Directed by: Peter Nicks
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for brief strong language
Running Time: 110
Date: 07/21/2023

Stephen Curry: Underrated (2023)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Iron Steph

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Oakland-based filmmaker Peter Nicks (The Waiting Room, The Force, Homeroom) has — like the master documentarian Frederick Wiseman — always made movies about institutions, with a fly-on-the-wall approach. So it seems odd that he would make a documentary about a celebrity, and inarguably one of the greatest NBA players of all time. Yet, not only does Nicks find a way to make Stephen Curry: Underrated personal, he also tells a spectacular story, with organically built-in highs and lows. The Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry was born the son of Charlotte Hornets star Dell Curry, dreamed of becoming a pro ball player, but stalled out at a too-short 6' 3". Steph suffered brutal training sessions with his father, sometimes to the point of tears. But he persevered. When it came time to go to college, no school would recruit him except Davidson College in North Carolina, just a 27-minute drive from Steph's Charlotte home. There, under guidance from coach Bob McKillop, he thrived and, in 2008, brought the team, the Wildcats, to the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

Curry left Davidson after his junior year for the NBA, and went on to lead the Warriors to four championships, in 2015, 2017-18, and 2022. Nicks was lucky enough to capture the winning 2022 season for the end of his film. But the real gift is getting to see Curry go back and complete his college degree, and even attend his graduation ceremony. It's a powerful scene, and we can see that Steph's mother is far prouder of this moment than all of his basketball achievements combined. Whereas Nicks's earlier film Homeroom, a portrait of a year at an Oakland high school, was unexpectedly derailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stephen Curry: Underrated finds an almost magical story arc. Nicks puts it all together with skill, using clever but effective editing and audio techniques to increase the drama. Far from a celebrity adulation piece, Nicks's film humanizes Curry, and reveals that he didn't do it all on his own.

Movies Unlimtied