Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Ali

posted by rkumar
A+
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:R
Profanity:Strong language
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and situations, not as explicit as many Rs
Alcohol/Drugs:Character abuses drugs
Violence/Scariness:Brutal fight scenes, brief gory photo of lynching victim
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:2001

Will Smith delivers a knock-out punch as Muhammed Ali in this outstanding film that follows the champ from his first heavyweight title to the “Rumble in the Jungle” when he won the title again by defeating George Foreman in Zaire.

Smith is a great choice to play Ali. Both have pretty faces and easy charm that mask the ferocity and fury that it takes to make it all the way to the top. Ali never trained harder for a fight than Smith did for this role, spending two years packing on muscle and throwing — and receiving — real punches in the ring. Smith perfectly captures Ali’s Kentucky drawl. Like his fighting style, it can float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. Director Michael Mann strikes just the right balance between the personal and the political, setting Ali’s struggles in the context of the racial conflicts of his era but never losing sight of the fact that it is one man’s story.

Ali repeatedly tells those around him that he will be the champ his own way, and we see him try to figure out what that way will be. He won’t be the white man’s idea of a “good Negro,” like Joe Louis. He will become a Muslim, let Elijah Muhammed’s son be his manager and even shun his friend Malcolm X when told to. But he knows that they need him more than he needs them, and he will be a Muslim his way, too. He will be more faithful to his refusal to fight than he will be to any of the women in his life. And he will use the force of his personality — more powerful than any punch — to go the distance and get the title. No one can stop him.

Even limited to only 10 years in Ali’s life, the story spills out of the screen, with achingly brief glimpses of some of the key characters in Ali’s life. This is a double loss, because these small roles are played by some of the most brilliant – and under-used actors — working today, including Jeffrey Wright as Ali’s photographer, LeVar Burton glimpsed briefly as Martin Luther King, Joe Morton as Ali’s lawyer, and Giancarlo Esposito as Ali’s father. John Voight struggles under far too much rubber make-up but makes a fine impression as Howard Cosell, the sportscaster who was Ali’s favorite straight man and one of his truest friends. Mario van Peebles is quietly magnetic as Malcolm X, and Ron Silver marshals his intensity just right as trainer Angelo Dundee. Mykelti Williamson is jubilantly entertaining as Don King.

Mann, as always, gives us brilliantly revealing moments. Before a fight, Dundee quietly loads his pockets with first aid equipment, knowing that the brilliantly healthy and fit fighter will soon be needing it between rounds. And in one of the most heartbreaking movie moments of the year, Ali hugs the just-defeated Jerry Quarry. That moment even more devastating for those aware of Quarry’s ultimate fate – he became severely impaired from injuries sustained in boxing matches and died at age 53. It is impossible to watch the movie without thinking of Ali’s own injuries and feeling the loss of the resplendently vigorous champ he once was.

Parents should know that in addition to brutal fight scenes, the movie includes a character who is a drug addict, drinking and smoking, a sexual situation and sexual references (including adultery) and some strong language. The issue of racial and religious intolerance is forthrightly presented.

Families who see this movie should talk about the conflict Ali faced when he was drafted. How did he decide what to do? How did he stay true to himself? What was the biggest challenge? When his wife told him not to trust the fight promoters who “talk black, act white, and think green,” who was right?

Families who enjoy this movie should be sure to watch the brilliant Oscar-winning documentary When We Were Kings to see what really went on in the Rumble in the Jungle. Smith’s performance is brilliant, but it can never match the real-life champ’s inimitable style. Of some additional interest is Ali’s performance as himself in a mediocre film called “The Greatest.”

There are many outstanding boxing films, including Rocky, Raging Bull, (for mature audiences only), Golden Boy, Requiem for a Heavyweight,and Body and Soul (with John Garfield and a rare screen performance by stage actor Canada Lee).



Previous Posts

Tribute: Leonard Nimoy
We mourn the loss of Leonard Nimoy, who created one of the most iconic characters of all time, "Star Trek's" half-Vulcan, half-human Mr. Spock, with pointed ears and angled eyebrows perfectly designed to convey a wry sense of irony.  The storylines of the original "Star Trek" were provocative polit

posted 12:00:09pm Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

New from Daniele Watts: Muted
Actress Daniele Watts stars as missing teenager Crystal Gladwell in Muted, winner of the 18th annual American Black Film Festival short film competition, showing on HBO throughout March 2015. Muted fol

posted 8:00:46am Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Smile of the Week: Uptown Funk from Alex Boye and the Dancing Grannies
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rjRlJvOxIY0?rel=0" frameborder="0"] "Uptown Funk," from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, is covered in a sensational new video from longtime Mormon Tabernacle Choir member Alex Boyé and back-up performers ranging in age from 65-92.

posted 9:16:46am Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Like Sunday, Like Rain with Debra Messing and Leighton Meester
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B28IHhaQXCE?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:29am Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

List: The Best Movie Con Games and Grifters
In honor of this week's release of "Focus," here are some of my favorite movies about con games and grifters. Remember that "con" comes from "confidence." A con man (or woman) makes you believe in them and have confidence in their schemes. And cons make great movies. If you haven't seen these, crank

posted 3:45:21pm Feb. 26, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.