Your Thanksgiving 2015 holiday week should be dominated by a few things: turkey (and lots of it), reconnecting with the family members you actually like, and the greatest hookup night of the year. While you're navigating those simple tasks though, you should probably be working your way into seeing Michael B. Jordan in Creed, a return to the Rocky film series, and another notch in the belt for Jordan, who can elevate damn near every project with his amazingness.
While most of the world was properly introduced to Jordan's acting chops during Season 1 of The Wire with his portrayal of Wallace, real heads will remember Jordan as the kid with an afro on Keanu Reeves' baseball team in Hardball.
Dope movie short, Reeves plays a gambler who is in for $6,000 to some bookies and needs to make cash... fast. He hears about a gig coaching a baseball team (the Kekambas) in Chicago for 10 weeks, making $500 a week, and takes the gig. As per usual with films like this, it takes a bit for the squad to a) warm up to coach and b) get their stuff together to actually start winning games. There are trials, tribulations, and pain, as well as the magnificent "G-Baby," who is the youngest of the squad but also their heart.
Jordan's Jamal wasn't necessarily a standout in the flick—he did get hit by a pitch and charged the mound during practice, and he "used his head" on a particular fly ball. But later on, he has to leave the team because his birth certificate has been altered and he's actually out of contention for their league. You don't see much of him until the very end in a play that shows what happens when kids in the hood who want to be a part of something other than "the life" have no other option.
While Hardball didn't show us the magic from Michael B. Jordan that we caught in The Wire and his career since, it did give us a glimpse of his range. He was able to play straight man, smart aleck, and ultimately a hardened kid who's forced to grow up faster than anyone should.
Luckily, for us, we've been able to watch his career mature over the last 14 years. Long live Michael B. Jordan, long live the Kekambas.