Posts Tagged ‘Davy Rothbart’

Fiascos and hilarity abound in ‘My Heart is an Idiot,’ Davy Rothbart’s collection of essays about life and love

March 22, 2017

By Matthew E. Milliken
March 22, 2017

Davy Rothbart, the Michigan-born writer and magazine editor, is like most people: Get some drink into him and he tends to develops the gift of gab. Also like most people, inebriation tends to lower Rothbart’s inhibitions and impair his judgments.

What sets Rothbart apart is his knack for getting into hilarious misadventures — often but not aways with a helpful nudge from spirits — and his ability to spin them into enjoyable stories. Happily for readers, he’s assembled some of his wackiest hijinks in My Heart is an Idiot, a 2012 collection of essays that documents some of his strangest exploits and describes some of the people he’s met during his various jaunts.

The book, which functions as a sort of haphazard memoir, begins with an amusing but largely ordinary childhood reminiscence. “Bigger and Deafer” details the mischief Rothbart and his brothers got into when Davy was inspired to mislead his deaf mother about the phone conversations for which they were serving as intermediaries. The best part about the story is the twists that take place on its final page.

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One small-town team’s aspirations for basketball adequacy fuel moving documentary tale in ‘Medora’

April 5, 2013

After I watched the new film “Medora” Friday afternoon, I mused about how easy it would be to reinvent this sports documentary as a Hollywood feature. Let’s call this invented picture “Jockstraps.” Here’s the elevator pitch: A team of scrappy, lovable small-town losers join together to overcome personal problems and end an oppressively long basketball losing streak.

Thankfully, “Medora” has some — and only some — of these narrative elements but shares none of the glibness of my imagined high-school sports romp. There are no Hollywood-handsome 20-somethings hogging the spotlight in this picture, which was co-directed by Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart. (The latter man created Found magazine and may be familiar to listeners of “This American Life.”)

Instead, we have a collection of frequently awkward real teenagers, their faces blemished by asymmetrical lines, acne and scraggly facial hair. At once sadly and refreshingly, these (yes) scrappy but lovable losers don’t overcome all of the challenges they face.

The Medora Hornets’ first-year coach, police officer Justin Gilbert, opens the picture berating his squad for a pathetic fourth-quarter effort in which they were held scoreless. Gilbert, a charismatic and handsome young man, has to walk a fine line — he must shatter his charges’ complacency about losing without breaking their spirit.

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