I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

My Photo
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story (2005)

On March 24, 1962, professional boxers Emile Griffith and Benny "The Kid" Paret met each other in the ring.  The bout was shown on NBC on national television.  It was the third time the two had faced each other in a fight.  The first time, Griffith won the welterweight title from Paret in 1961 via knockout.  Six months later, Paret won the title back from Griffith.  The third time would change Griffith's life forever.

Griffith backed Paret into a corner during the sixth round, and punched him repeatedly.  Several of the people interviewed for this documentary differed as to how many punches Paret took.  Some said 17, others said 25, and still others came up with different numbers.  Paret was knocked out cold while still on his feet, then he slumped into the corner.  Griffith was declared the victor, and said during an interview immediately afterwards that he hoped Paret was okay.  Unfortunately, Paret would never be okay again.  The Cuban slipped into a coma, and died ten days later.  I box as an amateur, I've been hurt in the ring.  I've seen others get hurt in both amateur and professional fights on TV and in person.  But the footage of Griffith and Paret's fight had me flinching.  The fight was very brutal.  Some think that Griffith may have been getting payback on Paret for using a gay slur against him during a weigh-in. 

The documentary follows Griffith's life with all its ups and downs after that fateful night, as well as the effect of that tragic bout on boxing.  I learned that the fight brought up calls from politicians to ban the sport (although nothing came of the protests). That fight was also the reason why boxing disappeared from network TV in the 1960s, not to return until the 1970s.  Griffith himself is somewhat of a mystery, especially concerning his sexuality, and how the impact of Paret's death really affected him mentally and emotionally. 

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tyson (2008)

James Toback directed this documentary about the boxer who was once known as "The Baddest Man On The Face Of The Earth".  "Iron" Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight boxing champion at the age of twenty, beating out Floyd Patterson's record of being the youngest champ.  The film opens with the fight where Tyson captured the win.

Tyson does most of the talking, which is a switch from other documentaries where there a lot of talking heads discussing the main subject.  The soft-spoken man who breaks into sobs about the close relationship he had with his late trainer Cus D'Amato is in stark contrast to the fighter who brutally beat down opponents.  Tyson appears in middle age to be a much more contemplative person.  The fighter is one who has regrets, but who has learned to recognize patterns that led to past problems.  All of those problems are highlighted -- the time spent in jail on rape charges, the substance abuse, biting Evander Holyfield's ear during a fight, the failed marriage between Tyson and actress Robin Givens, losing his title belt to Buster Douglas.  But there's the feeling that the angry juvenile delinquent from New York still bubbles underneath the surface.  This is a excellent documentary that sheds some light on a man who is praised and downgraded at the same time.

Labels: ,

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

The story begins where the last one left off -- Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) steals the elder wand out of Dumbledore's (Michael Gambon) coffin, believing that it will grant him unlimited power.  Meanwhile, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermonie (Emma Watson), and Ron (Rupert Grint) continue their search for horcruxes, the things where Voldemort has hidden pieces of his soul.  By destroying the horcruxes, Voldemort's power weakens.  Voldemort gathers an army and declares a full-scale war, and the weight of destiny bears heavy on Harry's shoulders.

Those who have read all of the books should find this last chapter of the film series satisfying as it follows the story without leaving too much out.  They will recognize references to things that happened earlier in the books.  Those who just watched the films without reading the books will find much to be surprised about, especially concerning Professor Snape's (Alan Rickman) role in all that has transpired before.  Warning:  have tissues ready at the end of the film.

Labels: , , , , ,