|Index||3 reviews in total|
Spike Lee needs to ease back and take his time.
He is not Woody Allen and cannot make a decent film every year.
The same problems that plague Jungle Fever, Get on the Bus and Bamboozled torpedo Jim Brown: All American.
What starts out as a completely engaging portrait of one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring athletes to ever walk on a field quickly loses steam halfway through when Spike looks into Brown's domestic abuse problems and family relations. Looking to investigate them only to vindicate Brown, Spike shows he's only interested in showing how fantastic Brown is and deflecting any criticism.
In one segment, Brown explains an incident in which he reportedly threw a woman over a balcony, which he denies. The woman involved, found 30 years later, explains what happened, saying she was trying to get away from Brown, who was beating her. Instead of asking Brown, oh I don't know, what's up with that, Spike just lets Brown get away with being portrayed as another black man hassled by the White establishment.
While Brown faced tremendous challenges because of white America's intransigence and racism, he wasn't perfect but Spike doesn't seem interested in allowing for a balanced take.
If it wasn't for the loads of great anecdotes about Brown, provided by teammates, coaches, friends and Brown himself, and the insane footage of Brown mauling defenses as a running back, the documentary would find itself in deep trouble, weighed down by too much extraneous footage and too many long-winded explanations by Brown of his lack of parenting.
I think this is a good documentary on a man who was once a top athlete and Hollywood actor. It told of Jim Brown's high and low points in both his life and careers. I liked Spike Lee's fact based reporting by using not only Mr. Brown to tell of the events but those who not only witnessed these events but were able to give a play-by-play description of the incidents. Fans that have followed Jim Brown's career may be upset that a few of his movies were not listed as well as credit for his bold decision to be a centerfold in one of America's most popular male magazines. Something that probably will not ever be duplicated by any other top athlete or movie star of this or any other time. I think a little more time should have been given to the 1970's time line of his life and film career. Great library collection for Jim Brown fans!
Director Spike Lee analyzes the multi-faceted football legend, groundbreaking actor and restless humanitarian in exhaustive detail. Beneath his stern, rock-solid exterior, Brown is an amazingly human figure, quietly thoughtful and passionately dedicated to what he believes in. I found it motivational just listening to the man speak, whether he's fondly remembering his football heyday, discussing the implications of his acting career or admitting his personal faults as a partner and parent. He's not without a few blemishes, but which of us is? Coming into this with the expectation of little more than a rose-tinted lesson in sports history, I was surprised when the discussion about Brown's athletic career barely took up a third of the running time. Jim is much more than an athlete-turned B-Movie actor, and Lee expertly coaxes this notoriously reclusive character into explaining why. A touch long-winded and egotistical, just like the man himself, it's mostly worth the investment.
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