Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot Movie Poster Image
Inspiring docu on NBA star has some salty language.
  • NR
  • 2014
  • 106 minutes

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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The importance of willpower in order to achieve one's goals. Hard work and practice. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nowitzki emerged as a star basketball player not simply through talent but also through hard work and willpower. Despite some missteps along the way, Nowitzki manages to remain humble and dedicated to his team rather than himself. 

Violence

Nowitzki has a tooth accidentally knocked out by an opposing player, blood shown. 

Sex

A woman revealed to be a con artist tries to claim she is pregnant with Nowitzki's baby.

Language

"S--t." "Damn." 

Consumerism

Nike featured prominently throughout. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Talk of European teens at a basketball camp drinking beer during the downtime of a basketball camp. Beer and wine drinking. Cigarette smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot is a 2014 documentary about Dirk Nowitzki, the professional NBA player from Germany who helped take his team, the Dallas Mavericks, to victory in the NBA Championship. While on the whole a positive documentary -- with testimonial after testimonial from players, coaches, and staff attesting to Nowitzki's greatness both on and off the court -- the documentary also shows the low points, such as his brief engagement to a woman revealed to be a con artist who tries to claim she is pregnant with Nowitzki's baby, and when his mentor and trainer spent a month in prison due to charges of tax evasion. Nonetheless, what emerges overall is a positive role model -- especially for kids who play basketball and sports in general -- who espouses the values of hard work and willpower in order to achieve one's goals. There's some beer drinking, including photographs and testimonials of Dirk and other teenagers at a basketball camp in Europe in which they spend their downtime drinking beer, and a scene with cigarette smoking. Infrequent profanity: "s--t," and "damn." Also, unsurprisingly, the Nike logo is featured prominently throughout. 

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What's the story?

NOWITZKI: THE PERFECT SHOT examines the life and career of Dirk Nowitzki, who helped lead his team, the Dallas Mavericks, out of last place and, despite playoff losses and unrelenting media criticism of his seeming inability to come through in the clutch during playoff season, an NBA Championship. Testimonials from players, owners, and team staff attest to his hard work, dedication, and willpower both on and off the court, as well as the symbiotic relationship he has with Holger Geschwinder, an older and wise mentor who uses his vast skills in applied physics and athletic technology to help Nowitzki in his physical training as well as his methods to help develop "the perfect shot" through computer simulation. 

Is it any good?

This documentary presents a complete portrait of Dirk Nowitzki's life and career, and what led him to take his team to the NBA Championship. The successes and victories, the hard work and dedication, the positive testimonials are common throughout, but the documentary avoids being simply a fluff piece and is unafraid to bring up the losses and intense media and fan scrutiny during the low times of Nowitzki's career, as well as his misfortune in being temporarily engaged to a con artist, and his mentor's brief stint in prison for tax evasion. 

On the whole, Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot shows the importance of willpower in order to achieve success. It also shows the positive impact of a mentor -- in Nowitzki's case, a former athlete and physicist named Holger Geschwinder, who uses applied physics and computer technology in his "Institute for Applied Nonsense" to help Nowitzki achieve maximum success on the court. Testimonials from team owners, teammates, players from rival teams, members of the Mavericks' front office, as well as from loved ones help to create the image of a young man from Germany who overcame obstacles in language, culture, and the common perception from American media that European players are "soft" to become one of the greatest basketball players in NBA history. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the ways in which Dirk Nowitzki is shown to be a positive role model both on and off the court in Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot. What does this documentary teach about the importance of practice, dedication, and willpower? 

  • Throughout the movie, there are positive testimonials from team owners, teammates, players on rival teams. Why are they included in this documentary, and what would be lost if they weren't there? 

  • While on the whole a positive documentary on the life and career of Dirk Nowitzki, the movie does show some low points both on and off the court. Do you think that showing these low points helped to present a fuller picture of Nowitzki, or did it seem sensationalized simply to keep the documentary interesting?

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