"I take orders from the Octoboss."

Posts Tagged ‘Muhammad Ali’

One Night in Miami…

Tuesday, February 16th, 2021

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI… is a very good straight-to-Amazon-Prime movie in that odd genre of “What if we got to see a bunch of familiar cultural and historical figures spend a night hanging out together?” In other words, it’s based on a play, in this case written by SOUL co-director Kemp Powers, who also wrote the screenplay for first-time-feature director Regina King. Of course we’ve known King as an actress since 227 and BOYZ N THE HOOD, and then she played Huey and Riley and got an Oscar for IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK and was a Watchman, but she’s also been directing TV since 2013. Her million dollar quartet here is made up of important Black Americans of the ‘60s who really were friends, but it’s a fictional story about them getting together at a hotel after Cassius Clay (Eli Goree, “PO No. 3,” GODZILLA)’s surprise victory over Sonny Liston on February 25, 1964.

In town for the fight are Clay’s spiritual advisor Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir, KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD, THE COMMUTER), the singer Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr., RED TAILS) and NFL great Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge, DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE), there to do color commentary. After the fight they meet up at Malcolm’s humble hotel room, guarded by two Fruit of Islam, the very serious Kareem X (Lance Reddick, JOHN WICK) and young Brother Jamaal (Christian Magby), who does a really funny double take and star struck grin when he realizes the guy he’s letting into the room is Sam Cooke. (read the rest of this shit…)

Forever The Greatest

Saturday, June 4th, 2016

tn_aliWe can’t really be shocked to hear that the great Muhammad Ali passed away today, but it still feels wrong. The champ lived almost as long with Parkinson’s as without, so he seemed unstoppable. He’d long since lost his incredible athleticism, his quick wit, his big mouth, and yet he kept going. He was out there, showing up in public every once in a while to pass the Olympic torch, receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom, attend the inauguration of the first black president, make himself known as an American Muslim, or tweet happy birthday to The Rock.

Until today we could still call him a living legend. Even outside of professional boxing his adventures were unparalleled. He had a gold medal (which he threw into the Ohio River after being disgusted with the racism he experienced at home – some dude found it in 2014!). He inspired the song “The Greatest Love of All.” He was a Wrestlemania referee. He had a cartoon where he went to space. He fought tooth decay. He fought Superman! (Don’t worry, his mother’s name was Odessa.) But we admired him most for the true bravery of living from his conscience, putting his career and reputation on the line to oppose the Vietnam War, to go public as a Muslim, and to speak out about racism, even if it bummed out Sly Stone on that ridiculously uncomfortable episode of The Mike Douglas Show. (read the rest of this shit…)

When We Were Kings

Monday, January 19th, 2015

tn_wwwkIf you were going to build the prototype for the ultimate man, wouldn’t it pretty much be 1974 Muhammad Ali? He’s a badass, a fighter with style. I don’t even really like boxing that much but I love to watch him dance around, swinging his fists so fast. Even Bruce Lee liked to watch him.

He’s handsome in a manly way. He’s charming, eloquent, and funny as hell. His humor is mostly based around making preposterous boasts… but it’s not some Danny McBride overconfidence thing, because he usually delivers. In this movie there’s an interview where he goes into detail about high speed photography and how one of his punches was proven to take only four one hundredths of a second, like a blink or a camera flash, and all this is setup for him to claim “Now, the minute I hit Sonny Liston, all of those people blinked at that moment, that’s why they didn’t see the punch.” A tall tale, but based on a true, provable incident.

Of equal importance, Ali has integrity of the Stickin It To The Man variety. He didn’t believe in the war so he refused to sign up for selective service, knowing it would endanger his career, reputation and freedom, and he held his head high the whole time. And he was outspoken about racism too. And he was right. (read the rest of this shit…)

Freedom Road

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

tn_freedomroadTime for a little history lesson. Not about the American post-slavery period known as Reconstruction (which is what this movie is about) but about TV movies. It’s hard for young people to wrap their heads around now, but there was a time when TV movies actually could be big events, a major shared element of our culture. This was when there were only a few channels, and none of them were SyFy, and movies about giant komodo dragons or snakes were not yet common. Believe it or not there were even sometimes TV movies where the people making them actually tried to do a good job. In fact, there were honest to God movies on TV that put some theatrical films to shame, like Spielberg’s DUEL and Carpenter’s SOMEONE’S WATCHING ME. Of course, most of them weren’t as good as that, but alot of them were at least memorable. In the ’70s and ’80s there were true crime movies to creep the shit out of us, like THE HILLSIDE STRANGLERS, THE DELIBERATE STRANGER, I KNOW MY FIRST NAME IS STEVEN. Or if you want to get real frightening there was the nuclear war movie THE DAY AFTER.

1979’s 4-hour mini-series FREEDOM ROAD fits into the Important Historical Epics category like ROOTS or SHOGUN or I WILL FIGHT NO MORE FOREVER or some James A. Michener type shit. It’s about a man who goes from a slave to a soldier to a delegate to an educated black man to a senator and freedom fighter uniting former slaves with lower class whites to stand up against racist politicians and thugs and create a stable life for themselves. But the main reason to watch it is the star: Muhammad Ali. (read the rest of this shit…)

Soul Power

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
Soul Power is one of the first documentaries to show a shirtless Bill Withers having lunch with Muhammad Ali and Don King in Africa

SOUL POWER is kind of like a prequel to a favorite documentary of mine, WHEN WE WERE KINGS. Remember how there was that music festival at the Rumble in the Jungle, it was supposed to be the same week as the fight, but Foreman cut his eye and the fight got delayed? Well, they were shooting footage of the festival too, so here’s a separate movie about that.

The star of the show is James Brown (with mustache). Also on the bill are Bill Withers, The Crusaders, The Spinners, B.B. King, Celia Cruz, Miriam Makeba and some African musicians.  The movie shows about 1 song per performer, but it’s also about setting up the show. There is priceless footage of a party held back in the states before they all leave for Zaire, James Brown making a speech and everything. On the plane they’re all singing and playing guitars, drums and flutes. I didn’t notice JB or any of the big icons during these scenes, but it’s still amazing to see a plane full of people having so much fun. Then when they arrive there’s a ceremony set up for their arrival. The highlight is the huge smile on Muhammad Ali’s face when he goes up to shake JB’s hand. (read the rest of this shit…)

Facing Ali

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

tn_facingaliFACING ALI is a great new documentary about Muhammad Ali (out on DVD last week) that tells his story through the eyes of 10 of his opponents. You still get clips of the champ talking, training, fighting, but you hear about these legendary fights from new interviews with the other guys.

Each of them tell a little about their backgrounds, so they have their own interesting stories. Then they tell about the lead up to the fight, what happened, how they felt about it. Some have nothing but respect for Ali, they admire him, even idolize him. Some are still bitter about the way he insulted them, thought he was too mean. But more than one cries when talking about Ali’s Parkinson’s. (read the rest of this shit…)

Muhammed Ali is #1

Monday, December 31st, 2001

First off friends welcome to 2002. Sorry about that 2001 business. Just a couple more of these and Bush’ll be gone, we hope. Auld lang sine, etc. etc.

Anyway, enough holiday theme shit, let’s get to the point here. If I had a most anticipated movie of last Wednesday, it woulda been ALI. Why? Because it’s a movie about Muhammed Fucking Ali. To my knowledge it is the ONLY movie playing in theaters right now that is about Muhammed Fucking Ali.

I didn’t know what to expect from this movie though, on account of the casting. The real Muhammed Ali already played himself in the movie THE GREATEST and in the documentary WHEN WE WERE KINGS. And why fix what ain’t fucked? I didn’t understand this new casting of Will Smith in the part. I gotta admit I was pretty pissed, like the nerds get whenever they cast somebody new as Superman, James Bond, Dr. Zauis or Green Aqua.

And that’s what Ali is, is a super hero. Not the kind who wears a cape, although I must admit he does wear boots. Anyway I think we all agree that Muhammed Ali is one of the greatest american heroes there is. You don’t even have to like sports – and I don’t – to understand that Ali is what the kids call “the mothafuckin MAN.” They don’t make ’em like Ali anymore. In fact they never did. It was probaly some typa mistake on the assembly line. Some freak accident that only happens once or twice every thousand-thousand years. (read the rest of this shit…)