No No: A Dockumentary

Dock Ellis will go down in history as the man who pitched a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1970 while tripping on LSD, though by the time he died of cirrhosis in 2008, he’d long since retired from baseball, sworn off drugs and alcohol, and become a substance abuse counselor. This documentary by Jeffrey Radice presents a well-rounded portrait of the volatile ballplayer, honoring his outspokenness during the black power era (which earned a him a glowing letter of regard from Jackie Robinson) and exposing his ugly history of domestic violence (which included jamming a gun barrel in his second wife’s mouth). What really distinguishes this, however, is its candid—and surprisingly flippant—treatment of widespread drug use in major league baseball; apparently Ellis had a lot more company when he was getting high than when he spoke openly about it.