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ESPN Films - The Fab Five
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2011
I just got finished watching this movie.....and I have three things to say #1 "IT IS ABOUT DAMN TIME" and #2 "WOW" and #3 "I LOVE THIS TEAM". I thought that ESPN did an excellent job of the release of this movie on Selection Sunday! The directors did an excellent job also with portraying one of my favorite basketball teams of all time!! Just wow folks, and I am honestly still excited that I just saw this!!!!!

The movie takes you on a brief stint of when these 5 guys came out of high school, up until the ends of their careers at UofM. I won't get into too much detail about this movie, cause it is a must see... but if you dont know who the Fab 5 is, or you are a fan of basketball you need to see this movie!!! It is 100% authentic, and holds nothing back. From the fun to the racism to the heart-ache this team experienced over 2 years it is just amazing and non-stop.

You also get to see good close up conversations and opinions of Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson, Jimmy King, and 3 others players (along with coaches) off of the 1992 and 1993 teams. I was a bit disappointed not to see Chris Webber at all in this movie...but if you know the story, I see why he doesn't show his face. Just so much good came from this team from flare to fashion......and they were actually a lot better than people give them credit for! I would have also liked to seen a cast of opposing college coaches and players, that played against this team make an appearance, but the Fab 5 was hated and by many is still hated, I'm sure!

This movie is very exciting, deep, and a bit emotional for anyone who can relate to what these guys experienced within their careers. If you like the book "THE FAB FIVE" by Mitch Albom.....this movie is a good visual summary of that!!! The book is overall better, cause there is a lot more detail of course. Please get the book or the movie, this is a great gift for any sports fan to own. I hope this DVD has a lot of special features, but if not this is still a great film. THE FAB 5 shall LIVE ON with me 4-ever! Thank you ESPN, finally!!!!!

- A. Lindsay (LOUISVILLE, KY)
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2011
I agree that this story, the true story of the Fab Five in their own words, is long overdue. I title my review "Almost Perfect", because other than Chris Webber not being involved with this documentary, I thought it was perfectly done. Chris is obviously still carrying around alot of baggage from his time at Michigan, alot of unresolved baggage. The other 4 members say he simply won't talk about the "timeout" or the money he got from that Michigan booster. He needs to talk to someone about it or it's going to haunt him for the rest of his life. I look back at his NBA career and see how all that baggage affected him throughout his career. The trouble he got in early in his career with the Bullets/Wizards with smoking pot and drinking and then later when he was with the Kings and was afraid to take the big shot in the clutch against the Lakers in the playoffs. The latter was the direct result from the 1993 title game, he was afraid to fail under the spotlight again, he wouldn't take the big shot for fear of missing it and being labeled a guy who choked in the clutch again. The "timeout" was't all his fault and now more than ever I can understand why he called it in the 1st place. The assistant coach on the bench signaling for a timeout, teammates yelling for him to call a timeout and his point guard, Jalen Rose, on the replay running away from him instead of running towards him to get the ball from Chris. All these years I've thought about the play and thought to myself "where was Jalen, where was Jalen"?? When I played, I was always a center or power forward and when I got a rebound I was coached to look for your point guard and get the ball to him, he should be coming to get the ball from you. Which is exactly what Jalen Rose should have been doing to help Chris Webber. In the replay you can clearly see Chris looking for Jalen and Jalen running away from Chris with a UNC player between them waiting for Chris to pass the ball so he could intercept it. Chris tryed to pass Jalen the ball but saw the UNC player go for the pick at the last second, so Chris held onto the ball, traveled, which the refs let go, then dribbled in a panic up court into a trap with coaches and teammates yelling and screaming and called the infamous timeout. One can't help but wonder what might have happened had Jalen ran towards Chris to get the ball from him instead of running away from him. I never heard Jalen say why he didn't do just that, I would love to hear his answer. Chris Webber was one of the best, most talented, charismatic, exciting college basketball players of alltime and I hate the fact that he is remembered for that one play. I love ya Jalen but your as much to blame as Chris for what happened, you should have helped your friend and taken some of the heat with him, that kid was crucified and he didn't deserve it then or now. Sorry, I've just been wanting to write that for about 18 years now. Anyway, the documentary was very well done and I'm so glad to see that all 5 of them went on to successful careers in basketball, sports journalism and business. I'm very proud of all of them because I don't think anyone, especially the white media would have given any of them a chance to do anything outside of basketball sucessfully and they have proven them all wrong. Jalen Rose I am especially proud of, he went from a trash talking, loud, cocky punk on the court to become a very knowledgable, professional, articulate, well respected NBA analyst for ESPN. He did a great job with the production and narration of this documentary and I hope that he and Chris Webber are still friends and I hope he or any of his Fab Five teammates can help Chris to deal with and lay to rest these demons from the past he's carrying around. Let them go Chris, you were the most Fab of the Fab Five, they never even would have been in either title game without you. What happened was not all your fault, I love ya and every Fab 5 fan there ever was loves ya. I will buy this dvd when it comes out and every other Fab Five fan should too.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 21, 2011
"The Fab 5" is one of the better documentaries to come out of the increasingly excellent ESPN Films pipeline. It wasn't part of the stellar "30 for 30" series. But it's clear that that initiative raised the bar - both in terms of quality of the productions and in who they're attracting to make films. And, it's getting interesting guys like Jalen Rose to think, hey, maybe I've got a good project in me.

Indeed, he did. Not only did Rose produce this film, he also has large chunks of screen time recalling the events. Anyone who's seen him on ESPN knows what a revelation he is as a commentator. He's not Sir Charles (is anyone?), but he's got his own unique style that can't be taught. It's that personality that bursts through again in "The Fab 5." The other guys - Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson, and Jimmy King - provide their insights, too. It's easy to see why the country fell hard for The Fab 5: these are very likable guys.

What's missing, of course, is Chris Webber. That's a shame. He should have participated. I'm sure he was concerned about how he would be portrayed for his role in the Ed Martin scandal (he was convicted of criminal contempt for lying about his relationship with Martin). In those situations, my feeling is you're better participating and telling your story, rather than letting someone else tell the story for you.

And tell it, Rose does. He offers a spirited, emotional defense of Martin, noting "Big Ed's" well-known generosity towards high school stars. In that context, he expresses his disgust at Webber's disavowals. It's the film's most powerful passage...and the most relevatory one in terms of the relationship between the two. Don't expect them as co-hosts any time soon.

My other favorite part of the film: hearing how much The Fab 5 meant to today's stars. If you're of the LeBron James era - he was born in 1984 - The Fab 5 heyday (1991 - 1993) is seared into your consciousness and forms a large part of your basketball DNA. To hear it from this guys is really great.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 16, 2012
Michigan's infamous "Fab 5" - Jalen Rose, Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson - may be the greatest recruiting class of all time. They are surely the most notorious and fascinating. "The Fab 5," produced largely by Jalen Rose, gives these talented hoopsters the opportunity to tell their own story.

This documentary - splendidly made and entertaining as hell - is as controversial as the basketball players themselves. Love them or hate them, the defining aspect of the Fab 5 is that for all their hype and talent, they never won anything. They shocked the basketball world in their freshman year by heading to the national title game starting 5 freshmen, where they got creamed by a juggernaut Duke team. They followed this up by returning to the national title game as sophomores, only to lose to a juggernaut North Carolina team (full disclosure - I graduated from UNC in 1993, so the infamous "time out" game was during my senior year in Chapel Hill and remains one of the great events of my life). They were the talk of college basketball for two years, but suffer from that nagging fact.

All they have left is the talk. And so they do. Jalen Rose even goes so far at one point as to say, "We were bigger than the score of the game." Unfortunately, Rose doesn't realize that nobody is bigger than the score of the game. It's that kind of mindless self-regard that makes the Fab 5 such an endless topic of discussion.

But when Rose, King, Howard and Jackson talk, they tell one hell of a story. From their high school days through to the NCAA sanctions, these guys lived one hell of a ride. They also had the good fortune to play in a golden era of college basketball - the concept of one-and-done had not yet arrived. Indeed, a few short years later Chris Webber likely wouldn't have gone to college in the first place (unless he wanted to) - he had the skills as a high school senior to go straight to the NBA and play well. But when the Fab 5 played, college basketball was as deep and talented as it ever had been.

The other maddening thing about this documentary is Chris Webber's absence. Webber may be the most tortured successful hoop star ever - in part because he was so great and failed, and in part because Webber had a tremendous appreciation of the moment. He was always aware he was a star, and showboated appropriately. But Webber was also well aware of the curse of the flamboyant talker - you had better back it up. So while Webber backed it up with sterling stats and an amazing highlight reel, he never backed it up with what mattered most - a championship. Webber carries two great shames - one is his mind-boggling flameout at the end of the 1993 title game, and the other is his well-earned sanction by the NCAA. Still tortured by these demons, Webber refused to take part in the documentary, which is kind of like doing a documentary about Apple Computer without Steve Jobs offering his perspective.

"The Fab 5" remains a strong documentary, but it's all from the perspective of these guys - Jalen paid to get his story told. While these guys do some slick stuff (they take credit for originating certain things, like baggy shorts, when they really popularized stuff that other folks were doing) by talking, the fascinating thing is that they think they can talk themselves into championship status. You can't do that - that's one of the great things about sports - titles must be earned.

Rose points out, "Nobody remembers who played on the Carolina team that beat us." You're wrong, Jalen - George Lynch, Brian Reese, Donald Williams, Eric Montross, Derrick Phelps, Kevin Salvadori, and Scott Cherry beat you, and they have the championship ring to prove it. (Jalen will have to console himself with the gazillions he made in the NBA - I'm sure he's doing just fine.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2011
I purchased this box collection for my boyfriend and he was thrilled. The packaging is of very high quality and he loves every one of the films which are excellently produced. I definitely recommend this set for anyone that loves sports or documentaries. I'm not a huge sports fan but I am also hooked on these films.
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on October 15, 2013
This was a very well executed documentary, but a couple of factors keep it from being a truly "definitive" or "perfect" record of this particular moment in College Basketball history.

The "Fab Five" phenomenon reached even down to where I lived and breathed basketball as a sixteen year old in Western Australia; at a time when college ball was rarely even acknowledged amongst the glamour of a Jordan led NBA, Webber's Michigan jersey still started making appearances at playgrounds here. The point being that if it could reach to a b-ball fan that far away, the level of their (sports) fame in the US would have been massive and I believe the documentary captures the whole notion that what the fab five were, did indeed grab a nation's attention. Plus there is plenty of great action from on the court.

Of the film's shortcomings, the major one is the most obvious as well; the absence of central figure, Chris Webber. For various reasons, Webber's story needed to be told in order for a proper understanding of the events is be brought to a film successfully. Unfortunately, he (unsurprisingly) declined to be interviewed for it. This is pretty frustrating through out, especially considering all the other players are there. We're left with others to merely give their opinions on Webber and essentially speak for him alongside a film maker trying hard to give an unbiased view of a man who refused to help tell the full story. Also unsurprisingly, the enigmatic Jalen Rose does a lot of the talking (as he produces the film as well) and gives both honest and funny recollections, if maybe the arrogance of his youthful Michigan days is still uncomfortably present.

The second and probably only other element that disappoints is the way in which the story has been told. I would not say this film is bias towards the Wolverines and the Five, but rarely do we hear from anyone that wasn't a part of the team that isn't a media writer or broadcaster etc. The facts are not polished or any truths muddled (you would hope anyway - but certainly the honesty of the players during their interviews was refreshing and appreciated), but the sheer proud support of what these young men were and what they represented and meant to College ball that saturates the documentary makes it both hugely entertaining and just a little manipulative.
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on November 23, 2012
After nearly a month of sneak-previews and promos, ESPN unveiled its two-hour Michigan Fab Five documentary on Sunday. And as a lifelong fan and proud resident of the state, I can honestly say this was a well-thought out, engaging look at one of the most influential teams in college basketball history. When it comes to offering up a go-to history lesson for youngsters, this piece was a resounding success. But hiding behind a few surprise quotes (half of which were released before the airing), at its core, this broadcast felt incomplete. The material on its own, was brilliant. The delivery, for a variety of reasons, just couldn't match the overwhelming hype.

Above all else, Chris Webber's presence, or lack thereof, cannot be overstated. This was the Fab Five, after all. Every one of the key components back then, from the coaches to the role players, came aboard for interviews. Webber's shocking denial sealed the fate of this documentary from the onset, and never gave this project a chance to flirt with excellence like it deserved to. In terms of sheer popularity, Webber has been, and will always be the unquestioned king of this bunch.

In a way, director Jason Hehir was handicapped from the jump with an incomplete cast at his disposal. Doubling up on the quotes from Jalen Rose was perfectly fine because he's a well-spoken, interesting individual, but let's be real here: This felt like the equivalent of interviewing the '96 Chicago Bulls sans Michael Jordan, with the idea that asking Scottie Pippen most of the questions would supply the crutch of the quotes.

I'm a huge fan of the 30 for 30 series, and secretly hoped this particular topic would end up under the ESPN microscope. I had no problems eating up every minute of this nostalgic trip back to my childhood, but for a two-hour show lacking the biggest star it tries to promote, I could help but feel like many topics were glossed over. Michigan fans should probably go ahead and purchase this DVD as soon as it's available. However, as far as casual observers go this didn't quite reel in the viewers like it could have.
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on March 21, 2011
I finally got around to watching this on ESPN after hearing so much about it. Wow. It's been several hours and I'm still replaying scenes from this documentary in my head. I was in my early twenties when these young men forced change on an establishment that wanted to keep the status quo. They were so dynamic to watch back then and hearing them speak today, it is obvious that they learned much during that time. This documentary shows the other side to the brash, trash-talking youngsters of the past. They came across as grounded adults in these interviews.

Particularly impressive was Jalen Rose. His honesty when admitting his past feelings towards Duke and Grant Hill was beyond refreshing. I read Grant Hills response before I saw the documentary. Now that I've seen the documentary, it sheds a totally different light on Rose's comments. He was simply explaining how he felt at the age of 18 or 19. He even explains why he felt that way, admitting jealousy was a factor. I loved this scene for its mixture of honesty and humility. Whether you agree with him or not, they were HIS feelings and he spoke them, knowing it would not be well received by some.

This was very well done. The people that spoke appeared to speak from the heart, rather than sensoring themselves for the camera. Truth is what I treasure most in a documentary. I was actually sad when my 2 hr were up with The Fab Five...Loved it!!
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on March 14, 2011
Since I grew up watching "The Fab Five" I coudln't wait for the premiere of this documentary and I must say it was well worth the wait. I would have to say the highlight of this film for me was Jalen Rose, he was always my favorite of the group and this documentary proved to me why. He is in your face and made some comments that I knew would create controversy; but I think that is why he is well-liked he comes off brutally honest and is hilarious in doing so. I really enjoyed how the documentary was directed and the musical score. I would say this is a classic that I am glad to add to my collection.

The Fab Five are legendary, love or hate them that is something critics will never be able to take from them. As Jalen points out in the film (not verbatum)- Can you name who won the National Championship 3 years ago? Five years ago? Can you name the starting five of the UNC team that beat them in 1993? Or the Duke starting five in 1992? The answer is simple, No.

The downside (but it doesn't really take that much away from the documentary for me) is the absence of Chris Webber. It would have been really nice to have his input but having the other four members input still made it feel authentic to me. They did an excellent job with this film and I can't wait for more like it...
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on March 18, 2011
The Fab 5 made it okay to be young, black and gifted on the basketball court. They are iconic and trailblazers in many ways... They were martyrs in many ways ridicule for being themselves called hoodlums, thugs, and worst simply because of their style of dress and color of there skin. Imagine a group of young African-Americans playing a brand of basketball that captured the sports world by storm yet their every move is being chronicled by a vastly white media contingent. They were labeled in a negative fashion because they were largely misunderstood by white media who loved to hate what fab 5 represented(black brashness). This all due because they brought their hip-hop ways to basketball court. On the brighter side of things this documentary allows you to see the brotherhood, love, respect and togetherness they had for each other and their teammates. What's also over looked is the fact that they the Fab 5 represent in many ways average inner city black kid who was bright, intelligent, savvy and charming; kids who if given the proper guidance and encouragement could grow and blossom just like a rose. I love this documentary it full of truth and candor. Like Juan said twenty years ago they shook up the world and everybody had to take notice.
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