Matt Antell’s short film “Smooth” starts with Greg Berger narrating, “All I ever wanted to do was win. Solid defense, teamwork, sacrifice—these are the keys to winning.” This philosophy sounds like it’s spoken by a genius and applicable to the successful execution of any number of endeavors. In the case of “Smooth,” though, it pertains to basketball and doesn’t come from a conventionally brilliant mind.
As depicted in Antell’s short, Greg Berger (Alexander Chance) has overly positive illusions about his game skills, and his self-determination could really just be stubbornness. Standing at about 5’10, a bit stocky, and donning goggles, Berger looks more like a wrestler than a basketball player. Although he’s slow on the reflexes, he isn’t without enthusiasm. Berger is no string bean. If you push him down, he snaps back into place.
The entire film is about how hard he tries to impress the Coach (Thomas Craig Elliott) for a chance to make the team. You have to admire that every time Berger falls or misses the basket, he gets back up and keeps going. Berger can visualize the goal, he’s got tenacity, but he tries too hard. Coach observes that Berger isn’t having enough fun, and part of being good at something is enjoying the task at hand. After watching “Smooth,” you will also take the Coach’s words to heart.
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