If you read this Substack with regularity or follow my Twitter account, you surely already know that I have a number of issues with the quality (and accuracy) we’ve seen through four episodes of HBO’s Winning Time drama series on the 1980s Lakers.
Yet I wouldn’t dare suggest that I have the only worthy view on the show to share and figured it would be great fun to consult a true expert — Rolling Stone’s Alan Sepinwall — for his insights.
After Sunday’s episode, I came away feeling like Adrien Brody’s portrayal of Pat Riley made him seem (and even look) like Sonny Bono much more than Riles. Sepinwall was the perfect, wise foil to field my contention that the show’s apparent intent to rewrite so much history in the name of creating cinematic tension drags down the watchability of the product.
Sepinwall, after all, is publishing weekly reviews every Sunday night as we get a new installment of Winning Time. So I couldn’t wait to connect with him to dissect the series from all angles in the same exacting manner he does in print, which I think (hope) we achieved with an hourlong Spotify Greenroom session Monday afternoon.
We spent a good 55 minutes talking through my issues with the show’s portrayals of Jerry West and Riley, among others, and why Hollywood is generally less concerned with precise storytelling in the world of dramatization. Because Sepinwall is also a Knicks superfan, we set aside the last five minutes for him to go deep with us on Julius Randle, Tom Thibodeau and Leon Rose. Which he definitely did.
If you weren't able to join us live ... fear not. Full-fledged paid subscribers to The Stein Line, as always, get a recording emailed to them after the fact to catch up on the conversation at their leisure.