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July 25, 2018


Rock RubberFew are the number of people who could make a documentary about themselves that would be as entertaining as “Rock Rubber 45s.” Bobbito Garcia’s survey of his life as a New York pop culture icon of basketball, hip-hop, sneakers, filmmaking, and all-around bon vivant is captivating for its unabashed honesty and sincerity. Born of Puerto Rican decent, “Bobbito the Barber” describes his warts-and-all childhood under a workaholic mother and a negligent father. His swagger and self-deprecation come in equal parts. He fearlessly wades the waters of his sexual abuse victimization to describe how he was able to put the past behind him. Tricky stuff.

Also heartbreaking is Bobbito’s telling of his time spent playing basketball at Wesleyan, where his stellar basketball skills were ignored with a vengeance by a racist coach.

Rosie Perez, Michael Rapaport, Questlove, and Lin-Manuel Miranda are just a few of the celebrities who give their two cents about Bobbito’s dynamic influence on culture, especially that of New York City.

Bobbito’s litany of accomplishments run the gambit from performing basketball tricks at stadiums across the country, authoring the first article (“Confessions of a Sneaker Addict” for Source magazine) about the intricacies of sneaker culture, authoring a book about sneaker culture, working as a promo rep during the early days of Def Jam Recordings, to hosting a TV show about sneakers.

Bobbito Garcia

“Rock Rubber 45s” is a personalized crash course into New York culture that charms by virtue of this film’s charismatic subject. Sure it’s self-reflexive; that’s the point. The music is infectious, the graphics are slick, and the vibe is hot. It might not be the best documentary every made, but this movie jams.

Not rated. 96 mins. (B) (Three stars — out of five / no halves)

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