Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I was lucky enough to see a few documentaries at Sundance that I really enjoyed. One was "Old Partner," a story about an old korean farmer and his 40 year old, dying ox by director Chung-Ryoul Lee. Another was "Tyson," an incredibly candid and heartbreaking look into the life of Mike Tyson by director James Toback. Mike Tyson used to work out at my gym and I remember being frightened the first time I noticed him on the treadmill next to me, within biting distance. I felt the same when I saw the first images of his tattooed face at the beginning of this film. However, one couldn't help but fall a little in love with the brutally honest and self-aware man that Tyson portrayed in the film. He was funny too, making the audience erupt with laughter several times during the screening. There was all of the Mike Tyson we've seen in the media for years, the champ, his excess, his lisping use of many multi-syllabled GRE words. When he showed up for the Q & A in a tux the endearment continued. He said he was humbled and that he was happy we enjoyed the film and we could tell that he really meant it. I'll even admit that I teared up a bit when he spoke. While the way that the film was shot and edited left a bit to be desired, Toback would have had a hard time making this story less compelling. "Tyson," is an open apology to the public, an honest explanation with no excuses. You can't help but applaud a film about a man who has been feared and misunderstood for decades that makes you want to hug him on the way out of the theater.


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