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Kudos to Ving Rhames for a job well done as the flamboyant boxing
promoter Don King, who is still with us in the boxing game, although
he's toned down quite a bit. I'll bet Rhames had a lot of fun playing
this role. King, meanwhile, will always be King, and you ring fans know
what I mean by that. Still, I wonder if he doesn't cringe watching this
biography of him.
As interesting a career as Mr. King has, that doesn't mean I enjoyed watching this movie. It's extremely racist, at least in the first half which turned me off so much I don't recall if even finished the film. All white people were portrayed as bad people. How is that permitted, when the opposite is not. Just the typical double standard employed by most filmmakers.
However, to be fair, King was a bad, bad dude in his early days and the film is portraying that. He's a much different person today. It's just that it's not fun to watch, nor is the profanity in here fun to hear. I don't mind "language" since I'm no choir boy, but this is ridiculous in here. Don't let the "made-for-TV" label fool you. It was made for HBO, and anything goes on that network.
Ving Rhames is a truly amazing actor and always gives a wonderful performance. I always think of him as electronic expert Luther Stickell in the Mission Impossible movie series with Tom Cruise. In this film, he tackles a very challenging role and pulls it off magnificently! He should have gotten an Emmy for his outstanding work as a true American monster Don King. Don King was inducted into the boxing hall of fame recently, can you believe that? Someone said that is like burying Benedict Arnold in Arlington Cemetary. Don King did not hold anything remotely resembling an honest job until he was 40 years old and went into boxing promoting. He was nothing but a common criminal. He was a numbers runner for the Clevland syndicate and killed two men. In the first case, it was ruled justifiable homicide, in the second case it was more despicable. This man beat another man to death on a public street in front of many eyewitnesses. He literally kicked him to death until his brain ruptured. For this crime he only served a few years in prison. Rhames made me laugh in this film with his amusing portrayal of King's flamboyance and colorful use of words, but there is nothing funny about this man and the damage that he did to boxing. The most horrible thing that he did, and I WANT EVERYONE READING THIS ON IMDB TO HEAR THIS!!!LISTEN TO WHAT I AM SAYING. In 1980, Muhammad Ali came out of retirement to fight Larry Holmes in an effort to become the only man to ever regain the title three times. Before this fight, Ali had to have a physical at the Mayo clinic which is one of the finest clinics in the US. They sent a report of their findings to Don King and he supressed this report and let the fight go on. They found out that Ali literally had a hole in the membranes surrounding his brain. He admitted that he had tingling in his hands and slurring of his speech. All they would have to do is listen to tapes of him from ten years before to hear how his voice had changed. He couldn't do simple things like hopping or touching his nose with his finger (the things police have people do to take a DUI test). Don King talked of how much he "loved" Ali. IF HE LOVED HIM SO DAMN MUCH WHY OH WHY DIDN"T HE CANCEL THE FIGHT. King was so powerful do you think that he couldn't have done it. Eddie Futch was one of the legendary trainers in boxing. He trained Joe Frazier and said he loved him like a son. In the third fight he had with Ali in Manilla, Eddie stopped the fight because he knew Frazier was blind and couldn't defend himself. Keep in mind, he thought Frazier was ahead on points and it was the last round. That is a true gentleman and that is what Don King should have done with the Ali Holmes fight. Ali suffered a horrible beating that was unbearable to watch. Sylvester Stallone said it was like watching an autopsy on a living person. Ali was damaged even more by this fight and it was all because of a scumbag named Don King. Don King is a monster and he is like a Frankenstein monster because we made him and we let him get away with it. Joe Louis must be turning in his grave!!!!!
Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA...and ORLANDO, FL
"Now if you all didn't have Don King...You'd have to invent him!", proclaims a larger-than-life Don King at the end of this HBO biopic. Moments later we see the standard, "Some scenes or events have been changed or altered for dramatic effect" biopic disclaimer clause. Makes you wonder just how much is really 'true' and how much is HBO invention! (Possible HBO payback for Pay-per-View deals that haven't gone so well?) Do the words "Conflict of Interest" mean anything to anybody?
HBO movies are invariably a 7* to 10* experience for me...Especially biopics.(OOPS! Decided to let this typo stand...Has a rather ironic/sardonic ring to it, wouldn't you say?) ONLY IN America was not up to HBO's usual standard of excellence. Since 5.5* is not an option, 6* is what you see above. What kept America somewhere in the barely OK zone, as opposed to not at all, were the numerable pop-cultural nostalgic moments, events and personalities, in addition to the behind-the-scenes story itself.
For America to have really soared, it required a top-notch performance from Ving Rhames. Although there were some scenes where he does really shine, unfortunately, a lot of his acting seems more like a caricature, a crude parody of the real thing! That Rhames won a Golden-Globe for his portrayal of King simply baffles me. Sorry, his performance just doesn't seem that great to me! Putting it mildly, HBO presents an extremely unflattering portrait of Mr. King: A back-stabbing, foul-mouthed, self-aggrandizing, utterly ruthless, oft-times buffoonish and chronically malapropistic speaker. (Although he did show improvement on this score as the years passed) But, pop-culturally speaking, you can't deny there's a lot going on in America! Apparently, most people seem to like this film a lot more than I did...So, try it if you will!....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA!
Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
"Don King: Only in America" is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. If it wasn't a TV movie, Ving Rhames should have won an Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of this complicated man. The film is riveting from start to finish as we see King at his beginnings as a small time crook, until what he ended up- a big time crook. The film is a masterpiece- every scene works perfectly. Perhaps the best scenes in the movie are the ones with King alone in a boxing ring talking directly to the camera. Absolutely brilliant!
The great Ving Rhames plays a local Cleveland bookie and some time
ex-con maneuvering his way to the top of the nascent and dynamic world
of pro boxing.
Rhames, best known for his role as Pulp Fiction's gang thug Marcellus Wallace, plays a different type of tough guy and hustler in the form of an animated and verbally combative Don King; a persona he nails. Only in America also cameos Bernie Mac, Jeremy Piven and the late soul singer Lou Rawls.
For as much as other films like Any Given Sunday and Jerry Maguire have endeavored to depict the perceived evil, cutthroat and slimy nature of sports promoters, Only in America does so not by belaboring its players as bad people. Rather Don King's character is flamboyant, very human, and so exciting that, as he puts it "If you didn't have Don King, you'd have to invent him." written by Andy Frye, MySportsComplex.blogspot.com
I am an accountant and very versed in big business throughout history. When I saw the movie I was impressed with the mannerism of Don King during the early years and how he managed to overcome the American societal culture of the time. Of course the opinions of today are negative because we do not live in that time and more than likely have not done very much research into what life was like for the average person and definitely zero research for the unpopular black American. I for one am not for or against the mafia way of life or dishonesty, but you have to know something about ALL American history to attempt to understand why things happened the way they did and how the people of the time made a success of themselves. Don King has sustained in the same industries for decades against all odds, which included deep underground crime hurdles. I give credit where credit is due and if you are honest and not jealous, you would have to as well. The movie makers did a great job on the movie and I give them credit as well. Great movie. Thank you.
Even if you don't like Don King, you gotta give it up for Ving Rhames in
this movie. He is an able portrayer of Don King, from looks to personality
(heck, he made Don King a little likable!) The movie gave insight into a
sport that you either love or hate - boxing, as well as a look into Don
King's history. It made for good viewing and I found myself howling at
certain points. A bonus for me happened at the end, during a three second
stretch in which my boyfriend's head passed as he walked behind Ving Rhames
and Vondie Curtis-Hall at LAX!
I would definitely give this movie a 10!
the quality of this movie surprised me. The editing, dialogues, and
screenplay flow is superb. Tough for an actor to act to be Don King, an
actor himself. Learned new english words too: "tried to DISMERCIFY me".
would reccomend that the viewer see first "When We Where Kings", the
documentary of the Ali-Foreman fight in Zaire, because a good 20 minutes
this movie re-enacts many scenes straight from the documentary. There are
imaginative scenes and dialogues: how the character impersonating Don
talks to the camera [audience] saying how HBO is making a movie on him;
stunning beginning in which a scene from the past is bridged to the
zooming in on the footsteps on a stairway, then zooming out to see the
entire figure walking of a much older person.
Don King is a self-promoter the likes that few have seen in our lifetime.
This film takes a novel approach to telling the King story, blowing KING up
into as big a buffoon as possible, and using King himself (actor Ving
Rhames) in telling the tale. I give director John Herzfeld credit-it's a
novel and appropriate approach to the biography of a man who truly is more
caricature than real.
Rhames gives an inspired and convincing performance as King, breathing much life into a film from a book that was for all practical purposes stillborn.
Enjoy the movie for Rhames and pay little attention to the details.
The best thing to be said for this film is that Ving Rhames, usually a supporting player, gets a role he can really sink his teeth into. He alone tries to carry the film with his charismatic, vivid performance. The film itself is typical made for tv fare-conventional, fairly unimaginative cinematically, competent enough to be semi-entertaining.
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