12 March 2006
They were television sports stars of the '60s and '70s, a bigger draw than major league baseball. And then, virtually overnight, they disappeared. Now, one man has brought them all back to reclaim their lost glory! Shot over seven years (1998-2004), JAM follows the saga of the America Roller Derby League, a group of fading Roller Derby stars who, despite the fact that they are in their 50s and 60s, are determined to make the sport a national sensation once again. At the center of it all is Tim Patten, the league's founder and impresario. Diagnosed HIV positive in 1983, Tim believes his passion for Roller Derby is what keeps him alive. Against all odds he pours thousands of dollars into different schemes, ranging from starting an Internet TV show to hiring models, in an effort to bring in crowds. At the same time, he cares for his partner, David, dying of full blown AIDS, and fends off attacks from a former business partner who runs a rival Roller Derby outfit. Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, JAM takes you into the skater's world on and off the track. With their outsized egos and broken bodies; they struggle with addiction and financial ruin; they're paid twenty five dollars a game; they bicker and backstab; they are, as Tim says, the "ultimate dysfunctional family." But they live for the roar of the crowd, a few minutes in the spotlight and for a chance to recapture their celebrity status. Laugh-out-loud funny moments mixed with scenes of heart-wrenching sadness, stunning betrayals and unexpected humanity: this is how audiences have described JAM. From the on-track battles, where long-time friends become gladiators engaged in vicious fistfights and 50-year-old skaters pull off eye-popping stunts, to the off-track struggle to simply let the world know Roller Derby still exists, this film shows us that the pursuit of a dream can drive people to unbelievable extremes.
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