No One Gets Hurt and We All Laugh in the Best True Crime Sports Documentary Screwball

I’ve been watching a lot of sports documentaries lately. They don’t really fall into the Practically Trouble realm like Untold: Crimes & Penalties or some of the other sports documentaries I’ve written about here. One I’ve seen in the past is Screwball which covers the Alex Rodriguez steroid scandal from the early 2000s.

For those unfamiliar with Rodriguez, he was one of the best players of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Naturally, because this is baseball, steroids were involved. He’d later receive suspensions and even missed an entire year later on closer to his retirement.

What separated this documentary from many others was how it was told. Rather than have a bunch of talking heads or sassy journalists, it’s filled with reenactments with children in fake mustaches playing gangsters, thugs, doctors, and A-Rod himself. They lip-synch over people with the thickest accents making this one of the most intentionally funny documentaries about a crime you could see.

Screwball is the funniest sports documentary you may ever see

There may not be a funnier sports documentary out there. Many times the whole reason to make a sports documentary is to uplift the audience or cover a horrific event. I watched the recent Reggie Jackson documentary and I’m currently working my way through the Derek Jeter one. Their purposes are much different and biographical. Jackson is trying to end racism in baseball. Jeter’s is purely to promote his ascension into heaven whenever he eventually dies.

Rodriguez is heavily involved in the Jeter documentary, The Captain. It reminded me of this one. Screwball is about how one of the most famous athletes, Rodriguez, tried to cover up his use of an illegal substance with the help of some unsavory characters.

Who realized lip-synching children with big afros could be so funny? This is a documentary that I did have some difficulty with only because I’m usually working as I watch them. Like Steven Tyler, I didn’t want to miss a thing. I probably did. Still, with one eye on the moving picture and the other on making sure there’s food on the table, I found this to be one of the most intriguing styles of documentary filmmaking.

Not every subject in a documentary works with this style. Because no one was actually hurt, the filmmakers can get away with going comedic while informing.

I had no idea this is what Screwball would be when I started it. Pleasantly surprised, it’s one of my favorite sports documentaries. I won’t give it a full score because a lot of time has passed since I watched it. It’d fall somewhere around 8-9 out of 10. It’s a documentary for baseball fans but also for those who just like silly nonsense.

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