THE ROLLER DERBY STARS OF THE 70 s ARE BACK! In the 1970 s, they were the most popular sports stars on TV, a bigger draw than Major League Baseball. And then, virtually overnight, they disappeared until now. JAM is the ... more »story of the American Roller Derby League, a group of veteran Roller Derby stars now in their 50's that are determined to make a comeback. For seven years, award-winning filmmaker Mark Woollen chronicles league owner Tim Patten as he pours his heart and entire life savings into a revival of this uniquely American entertainment. JAM takes you on an epic journey filled with unimaginable drama, bitter rivalries, heart pounding action and an incredible cast of characters you'll never forget. Hilarious, heartbreaking, inspiring, JAM is an amazing story about the lengths people will go to achieve their dreams.« less
"A interesting documentry into the current politics and goings on behind the scenes of the retro banked track sport known as Roller Derby. The story is sad yet inspiring. One can only root for former Bay City Bomber owner Tim Patten for putting his life savings and much of his free personal time in bringing a sport he and many loved, and keeping Roller Derby going as long as he did!"
Kristi Simmons | Bend, Oregon | 05/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jam is a must see for any roller derby fan or roller derby skater. The story is inspiring, it shows what one is willing to do to keep their dream alive and to keep them feeling alive."
Windy Bailey | Ewa Beach, HI | 09/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very interesting insight into the world of roller derby. Whether you're part of the modern flat track movement or old school derby - it's a must see"
Pathos at its highest level.
Robert P. Beveridge | Cleveland, OH | 07/28/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Jam (Mark Woollen, 2006)
There were two movies entitled Jam released in 2006. I actually thought I was getting the Craig Serling traffic-accident flick when I fired off a request for this one, but what I got instead was Mark Woollen's documentary on the attempt to recapture the glory days of roller derby circa 2002. (The attempt, it should be noted, is still going on as I write this; Cleveland has its own team, the Burning River Roller Girls, and it's certainly not the only city in the midwest that does.)
Thanks to both the nostalgia-based subject matter and the sense of desperation that pervades the lives of the subjects, this reminds me a great deal of Chasing Ghosts, the documentary about videogame superstars. With roller derby having had its heyday in the sixties and early seventies, however, the former stars to be found here are older, and thus even more pathetic than those in the other film. I use the word "pathetic" here not only in its current comic sense, but also in the original sense of pathos; while you're both laughing at and pitying these people, you have to admire the kind of tenacity that will cause people to bang their heads against a wall for thirty-plus years in the face of complete public indifference. (Especially since the rise in popularity of roller derby that seemed impossible a few years ago does seem to be getting underway.)
This is one of those movies where all the filmmaker really had to do was get out of the way and let the subjects do their own work, and it's amply done here. Well worth your time. *** ½ "
Jam - A Rollicking Good Documentary
Janna | Ukiah, California, USA | 06/23/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Jam follows an eclectic group of middle-aged roller derby stars on a seven-year comeback odyssey. For those unfamiliar with televised roller derby's format during the 60s and 70s, this uniquely American art form, with its scripted story lines and choreographed stunts, combines elements of 19th-century melodrama with roller skating action. Two teams, one heroically playing by the rules, the other wickedly cheating at every opportunity, enact live theatre while skating on a banked track. Roller derby fans cheer the good guys and boo the villains, making this a truly interactive entertainment.
Inspiring, poignant, and hilarious, the film captures a certain quirky "only in San Francisco" sensibility as it chronicles the colorful lives of fiercely determined skaters as they doggedly pursue their roller derby dreams."