Champs Documentary – Bert Marcus

Champs
Champs

Champs is a documentary that is currently streaming on Netflix.  It features boxing greats Mike Tyson, Bernard Hopkins, and Evander Holyfield.  The purpose of this documentary is to show how different boxing is from any other sport.

Coincidentally, all three of the Champs featured into this film were born into poverty.  For Mike Tyson and Bernard Hopkins that also included issues with the law from an early age.  For these boxers they didn’t see a flyer about a boxing school and signed up out of interest.  Fighting was a necessity in the poor towns that they were raised in.

Mike Tyson, was raised in the rough parts of Brownsville, Brooklyn.  His father wasn’t around and his mother was promiscuous.  Mike Tyson turned to the streets at a young age.  He would rob people with a gang.  As a juvenile, he went through the prison system.  There he was discovered by a counselor and former boxer.  After training for a few months in the system, he would be introduced to Cus D’amato.  Mike Tyson would be taken in by Cus D’Amato.  Mike referred to Cus as his real father.  He was a great mentor to Iron Mike.

Evander Holyfield was born in a very poor suburb of Alabama.  He was the youngest of nine children.  He went in a different route than Mike Tyson.  He started fighting at the Boys Club from an early age.  By the age of 20 he was in the Olympics.  He went on to have a great career.  Holyfield was the undisputed champion of the world (1990-1992).  Ironically, the other star of this documentary, Mike Tyson bit a part of Holyfield’s ear off in a fight.

Bernard Hopkins was a middleweight champion that defended his title 20 times.  He was a thug that grew up in Philadelphia.  A product of a drug addict father and an alcoholic mother.  When Hopkins was locked up in prion for 5 years, his brother got murdered in the streets.

Champs a multi-purpose documentary.  It entertains the audience to see the struggles that the boxers go through.  The audience is entertained by watching great moments in these boxers careers.  Another important purpose of this documentary is to show the audience that boxing is no joke.  It shows how the fighters that rise to the top went through very serious struggles.  I believe Champs helps many people that are looking into boxing look for another career.  It’s a great documentary and it’s still on Netflix as of today (thanks instantwatcher).

 

Pump – Netflix Streaming (fighting the oil industry)

Pump - Documentary Netflix
Pump – Documentary Netflix (fighting the oil industry)

This documentary on netflix streaming explores the United States addiction to Oil.  The movie begins with showing how oil made some people very rich. Similar to the recent boom that we have in technology (i am referring to the stock of Google, Amazon, Netflix, etc.), there was a big boom in oil.  In the later half of the 18th century John D. Rockefeller took advantage of this oil boom.  He founded The Standard Oil Company.  He did whatever it took to grow his company.  He would create secret ventures with vendors to control the competition.    For example, he would work with freight companies to make them charge higher prices on his oil competitors.  As Standard Oil grew bigger, they would acquire smaller oil companies.  This documentary shows Rockefeller’s large support for prohibition.  Ethanol is created using alcohol and Rockefeller saw this as a threat to his oil empire.

Oil puts us at the mercy of other countries.  Many of our oil reserves are coming from the mideast.  We spend more money protecting our mideast oil interests than the oil itself.  The US puts the military out in these oil fields to protect the oil reserves.  Recently, to help save money the United States started drilling into oil reserves domestically.  We get oil through a process called fracking.  In the process we drill deep down into the earth.  We use high pressure water to release gas from the rocks.  We lose lots of water, increase the potential to release of carcinogens in the ground water, and increase potential for earthquakes.

In China it is very difficult to get a vehicle.  There is a lottery and then you have to bid a large sum of money just to register a vehicle.  China is trying to curb the amount of cars on the road due to recent air pollution.  Oil causes more air pollution than many other types of alternative fuels.  Brazil on the other hand, has experienced economic improvement by using biomass fuel.  They use corn fields and all other types of unused biomass to fuel their vehicles.

The United States is taking a stand on the matter.  President Obama is taking a stand by introducing the Open Fuel Standard Act.  By 2017, 95% of the vehicles are expected to run on non-petroleum based fuels.  The irony is that many of our cars do currently run on alternative fuels, but most people don’t even know it.  For the cars that do not have the option, they can be fixed for under $500.  Some vehicles can run on alternative fuels with a simple software update to the automobile’s computer system.  You can find out which gas stations provide alternative fuels at the energy website.  Overall, a great documentary with great information.

Dear Zachery – Netflix Streaming

Dear Zachery
Dear Zachery

At the date of this post this is streaming on Netflix.  Spoiler Alert…Don’t read if you want to watch Dear Zachery before I write about it.  I stumbled upon this documentary on Netflix after positive reviews on the web.  Dear Zachery is a documentary made by film maker Kurt Kuenne.  From a young age, Kurt created movies with childhood friend Andrew Bagby.  Andrew was a funny individual that amassed many friends.  His schooling had led him to become a doctor.  We see him in his final years giving a best man speech on a video.  Andrew became engaged himself, but the engagement came to an end.  Friends were commenting that he wasn’t the same after the engagement ended.

Andrew managed to meet someone else.  Early on friends had noticed that the new love was a little strange.  They described her as someone who was very needy.  Moreover, she had about 13 years on Andrew.  After some time, Andrew knew that being with Shirley Turner (the one he met) was not going to work out.  She was very jealous and needy.  Andrew broke up with her and put her on a plane to go back to Iowa.  Unfortunately, when Shirley got home she decided to drive 16 hours to Latrobe, PA to see Andrew again.  Andrew told his friend what was going on.  The friend’s advice was, if someone drove 16 hours and is in the front door, than you should go out the back door.  Andrew did not take the advice, was shot 5 times, and left for dead.  The police had many reasons to believe Shirley was guilty.  This included evidence of a recent gun purchase and cell phone records of her making calls in different cities.  After some lieing to the cops, she decided to flee to Canada.

Shirley would be put on trial and found guilty of Andrew’s murder.  But there was another surprise.  She was pregnant with Andrew’s baby.  After labor and during trial, Kathleen and David Bagby (Andrew’s parents), would bring baby Zachery to prison to see his mom.  Shirley’s therapist, Dr. Doucet, posted her $75K bail.  At that point, Shirley would come up with different excuses for Zachery not to see his grandparents.  The Bagby’s were angered by this, as well as Shirley being allowed to post bail.

In July 2003, Shirley met another man.  They dated until he found out that she was in the middle of a trial for killing a man.  When he tried to break it off, she left him about 200 voicemails.  The next month, she took drugged up herself and baby Zachery, tied Zachery to her body and committed murder-suicide via ocean drowning.

The documentary is as unique as the story.  Kurt interviews many people to set up a video memoir of Andrew for Zachery.  In the process, he also documents the trial and the state of child custody.  The documentary fails to be a memoir for Zachery because Zachery dies.  But it helps Kathleen and David cope with their loss.  After the original devastation of their son’s death and then their grandson’s death, the documentary ends up showing how loved Kathleen and David are by the extended Bagby family.  This truly is a great documentary and my first time watching a documentary that I wished was actually fiction.

To Be Takei – Netflix Streaming

George Takei
George Takei

This documentary is on Netflix streaming as of today’s date.  It is about former Star Trek actor George Takei.  He broke into Hollywood by playing a Japanese characters with accents on television shows.  He would land roles among popular actors like Frank Sinatra, Richard Burton, and James Caan.  The most important role he would land is Sulu on Star Trek.

The documentary recounts the attack on Pearl Harbor.  After the attack, Japanese-Americans were forced to go into interment camps.  This lasted from 1942 to 1946 and was authorized by Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Within days of the attack, racist signs against the Japanese were seen everywhere.  Newspapers and state politicians made it clear that they wanted the Japanese to leave as well.  Later on in Life, Takei became a politician.  He led those affect by interment camps to get a restitution payment from the Reagan administration.

On a happier note, George Takei is hysterical.  He is a repeat client on the Howard Stern show.  He is also a homosexual and a huge gay activist.  In response to Tennessee’s “Don’t Say Gay Bill”, he puts together the funniest video.  Here is that video, George Takei video.  Fortunately, the bill did not pass.  Takei credits coming out of the closet publicly to Arnold Schwarzenegger.  When Arnold was running for government, he talked about some of his best friends being gay.  After getting into office he vetoed the marriage equality bill.  This infuriated Takei and led him to start publicly supporting homosexuality.

Takei has millions of Facebook and Twitter followers.  He is very smart and funny.  His fans love his one liners.  In the documentary he tells his husband Brad (Altman) Takei, as well as Will Wheaton that they put on some weight.  He doesn’t seem very sensitive to other people’s feelings, but he is loved by millions.

Dawg Fight – Netflix Streaming

Dawg Fight
Dawg Fight Documentary on Netflix Streaming

Dawg Fight is a documentary that is currently on Netflix Streaming.  It is about bare knuckle fighters in the poor suburbs outside of the Miami area.  Dada 5000 is promoting these bare knuckle fights in the neighborhood.  These fights are extremely dangerous and difficult to watch.  West Perrine is a neighborhood that has unemployment rates 1/3 higher than the national average.  Fighting is a way for some of these individuals to make money.  This small town is plagued with high murder rates.  Ironically, fighting is the safer way for some of the residents to settle their differences.

Dada 5000 became interested in this profession because he grew up within blocks of Kimbo Slice.  Dawg Fight shows a clip of Dada 5000 losing a bare knuckle match to Kimbo Slice.  After touring as Kimbo Slice’s body guard, he comes back to the hood to create a 12′ X 12′ ring in his backyard.  The fights are illegal, but cops are accepting of it.  They accept the fighting because they know the town will be at the fight, so the residents won’t be getting involved in worst things during that time.  The fights are set up by using cheap tarp to cover the fences and there is a VIP area which is created using caution tape.  They charge people $20 to see the fight.  The residents that can’t afford to pay, climb up trees and watch.  Dawg Fight gives you a background of each fighter.  The sad truth is that all of them were locked up in prison.  Training for a violent fight is there way to stay away from trouble.

Dawg Fight introduces us to two individuals that end up fighting each other.  Chauncey is a tough fighter, that the older women believe no one should be messing with.  Tree is a young contender that thinks he may have what it takes to beat Chauncey.  After a great battle, Chauncey does end up with the win.  Days later Chauncey gets into a dispute with his girlfriend’s brother.  He ends up shot in the back of the head and is taken to the hospital on life support.  Days later they pull the plug on him.  Tree, ends up getting tasered by the police and dies from injuries sustained.  Unfortunately, this is a real documentary and those were real people.

Other graphic scenes include fighters breaking their wrist, losing teeth, getting cut up badly, and even being knocked out unconscious.  These men don’t have appropriate medical care at the fights.  Many of them heal themselves because they can’t afford to see a doctor.  Dada 5000 doesn’t earn much of a profit, as he pays out the fighters.  The documentary concludes with Dada 5000 being scouted.  He trains for a fight at the nearby Hard Rock Seminole Casino.  His frightening opponent is a fighter named Cedric.  Dada 5000 wins the fight and based on the internet is currently 2-0 as an MMA fighter.

Truly a great document with graphic fight scenes.  It makes you realize that there are people out there that are really struggling.  West Perrine is a difficult neighborhood to grow up in and I want to see those individuals succeed without violence and bare knuckle fighting.

Love Me – Netflix – Documentary

Love Me
Love Me – Netflix Documentary

Love Me is a great documentary currently on Netflix streaming.  I don’t believe it is meant to be a comedy.  However, it is quite comical.  It’s about a few interesting men in the United States that struggle to find a women.  There are approximately 160 million women here in the United States, but they can’t seem to find any for themselves.  

Spoiler Alert: Love Me is summarized, but still worth watching.

Bobby is a 400 lb government employee who obsessively plays video games.  His ex-wife cheated on him and he is now looking for love.  Eric is an engineer that lives in Texas.  He looks a little like a serial killer.  He never found true love in the states.  Robert is a construction worker from California.  He seems to be the most normal one out of the bunch.  Ron, is a divorced millionaire from California.  He is in his late 50s and very much into fitness.  At some point in this documentary it looks like he is shooting steroids.  Travis is a farmer from Wisconsin.  He looks like a creepier version of Jon Cryer.  He seems quiet and lonely.  Michael is the only one outside of the United States.  He lives in Australia.  He is an older man that has been married twice before.

All the studs mentioned are part of a service that connects them with women in the Ukraine.  These guys get ripped off by paying $10 an email to send them to potential females in the Ukraine.  The documentary shows these guys taking a trip to Ukraine to find potential wives.  It strategically shows their stories separately.  Bobby waits for his true love at a dinner/dance the foreign exchange service sets up.  He refuses to approach any of the other women at the dance because he is in love already with the one he met on the internet.  It’s quite unfortunate because which Ukrainian woman wouldn’t want to be hit on by a 400 lb US government employee?  He eventually gets them to find the woman the next day.  She seems into him.  But then ignores him when he goes back to the United States.  Eric finds his woman (this being his 6th trip to the Ukraine), and she actually seems sweet and comes from a good family.  They get married in a really inexpensive ceremony.  And the “Kiss the Bride” scene is very gross.  Eric looks even more like a serial killer kissing his bride.  Robert is able to find his true love as well.  Ron doesn’t have much success in the Ukraine, but is able to meet someone in the United States when he comes back.  Travis, meets a woman, he goes back to the Ukraine to propose.  He stays with the woman’s family and you can tell that something is not working out well.  That story ends with the police saying his wife owes them $4,000, so now Travis owes them that money.  He says he doesn’t have it and settles by paying the police $800.  He goes back to the United States scammed and wifeless.  Michael meets a woman that he marries.  He is secretly warned about the woman.  The woman admits that she only marries men to try to find a good place for her kids.  She has married multiple men and doesn’t take things seriously.  She never calls or answers calls from Michael.  When Michael goes back to the Ukraine to figure out what is going on, they break the marriage off.

Love Me is hysterical.  I think it’s supposed to be reality, but I cant help but feel that there is no way this can be real.  Watch it, be entertained, and let me know if you think this is real.

Fed Up – Netflix Streaming Documentary

Fed Up
Fed Up – Netflix Documentary

Fed Up is a documentary currently being shown on Netflix.  It is about the childhood obesity epidemic becoming out of control.  The documentary blames this on people eating the “wrong” calorie and advertising brainwashing us.  Fed Up argues that 1 calorie doesn’t necessarily mean 1 calorie.  They support that statement by showing us that the sugar content in fruit is countered by fiber, unlike Soda which hurts our bodies directly.

In the 70s, the United States created the McGovern report which made an effort to implement certain food restrictions.  Companies started lowering the fat content in their foods.  Unfortunately, the reduction in fat led to an increase in sugar.  The documentary then shows us some kid friendly commercials like the Fruity Pebbles commercial.

Four kids are followed in Fed Up.  There is a girl who is very physically active, but she cant lose weight.  She is very frustrated by this inability, but continues to ear poorly.  The documentary delves into the poor nutritional value of school food.  During the Reagan administration a large cut was made in the school food budget.  To compensate, schools started serving cheap and nutritionally poor boxed foods.  Fast forward to today and things are more out of control.  Some schools have their own student section with other bad foods.  Many other schools have a fast-food chain like McDonalds or Pizza Hut in the school.  A boy they follow first comes onto the documentary eating fries.  His mother is making a strong effort to get healthy foods, but sometimes can’t afford it.  When they go to the doctor he is in danger of serious complications if he doesn’t lose weight.  Another boy is the fattest of the multiple siblings he has.  He actually goes through a DXA scanner that calculates his belly fat to be at about 60%.  Then they show a teenager that is almost 400 lbs.  At the end of the documentary he is the only success story.  He goes through a gastric bypass procedure.

Fed Up compares the increase in gym memberships in the past 20 years with a similar increase in obesity.  Both are on the rise.  The documentary concludes with an analog of smoking back then to sugar now.

Overall, Fed Up is captivating.  I agree with most points made.  However, I think another large part of the childhood obesity epidemic is inactivity.  The basketball courts seem empty these days.  With the amount of current entertainment we get from televisions, video games, and computers we aren’t as active.  However, this new information age has given us great tools and a whole host of new nutritious foods.  We should utilize myfitnesspal and keep track of calories until we reach a nice healthy weight.

 

 

I Hate Christian Laettner – ESPN 30 for 30

 

I Hate Christian Laettner
I Hate Christian Laettner – ESPN 30 for 30

Well, I dont really hate him.  It just happens to be the title of an ESPN special that I was fortunate enough to catch on Netflix.  I remember Christian Laettner as the 3rd overall draft pick in the 1992 NBA draft.  I was young and did not watch college basketball when he was drafted.  I only knew him as the guy with the mushroom haircut sitting on the bridge above.

Christian Laettner was well known for being the best player in Duke history.  He holds many records and shined as a superstar when needed.  Laettner led Duke to two titles.

Growing up Christian Laettner was tall and excelled in basketball.  He was also very tough.  This special shows a high school basketball game in which Christian Laettner started a brawl.  Moving on to college his attitude wasn’t much different.  The documentary shows him constantly harassing Bobby Hurley, a fellow Duke teammate.  It doesn’t help that Duke is one of the most hated college basketball teams.

In one college playoff game Christian Laettner was perfect from the line and perfect from the field.  He also hit the game winning shot with seconds left to play.  This was after a perfect cross court pass from Grant Hill.  The fans of the other teams were outraged.  Earlier in that game Laettner stomped on Imanu Timberlake’s chest.  The fans believed Christian Laettner should have been thrown out of that game.

Rumors began to fly that Christian Laettner was gay after he gave an interview in college.  People were questioning his relationship with Brian Davis.  The article showed Christian Laettner sitting close to Brian Davis while holding a cute little kitten.  In basketball games that followed the opposing fans would throw gay slurs at Laettner.

Jalen Rose was commentating in this documentary.  He confirmed his hatred towards Christian Laettner as well.  Rose was part of the Fab 5 from Michigan.  This team included Chris Weber.  Michigan played Duke in Laettner’s last NCAA finals in 1992.  With everything going on outside of basketball, Christian Laettner had an awful first half.  Duke kept the score close because they were a great team.  Bobby Hurley started antagonizing Laettner.  In the 2nd half Christian Laettner came out with a vengeance.  Duke destroyed Michigan to win their 2nd title with Christian Laettner.

Christian Laettner was the only individual in the 1992 NBA draft invited to play with the Dream Team.  The greatest team ever assembled.  They represented the United States basketball team in the 1992 Olympics.  Unfortunately, his NBA career didn’t amount to much.  He didn’t adjust to the NBA as well as he played in college.  Also, the coaches couldn’t adjust to him as well as Mike Krzyzewski.  

As all the other ESPN 30 for 30s a great documentary.  Watch it on Netflix or try to catch it on ESPN.

The Interview now on Netflix Streaming

The Interview
The Interview

The Interview was one of those movies that I had some interest in seeing after they decided not to air the movie in theaters.

I decided to watch it once it was put on Netflix Streaming.  As I mentioned in the John Spano 30 for 30 article.  This article is written on January 28, 2015.  At this time The Interview is still available on Netflix Streaming.  For an update on what is still available for viewing on Netflix Streaming checkout instantwatcher.

The movie begins with Dave Skylark (James Franco) interviewing Eminem (himself).  In this movie Eminem reveals to Skylark that he is a homosexual.  I kind of understood at this point that the movie was heading towards crazy comedy.  Skylark gets an interview with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (Randall Park).  A CIA agent pays a visit to Skylark and Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen), the morning after Skylark and Rapaport are out all night after dropping Ecstasy pills.  The CIA agent wants them to poison Kim Jong-un via transdermal strip.  Other aspects of the movie include portraying the North Korean leader’s feminine side and his love for Katy Perry’s “Firework” song.

The Interview gets a 7.1/10 on IMDB and 54% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes.  Personally I like the movie, otherwise I wouldn’t have written about it.  I wouldn’t put it in a category of Oscar winning motion pictures, but it’s the kind of stupid humor that would make one laugh.

For now the Interview is on Neflix Streaming, so the price is right.  If you are in the mood for a stupid comedy than definitely check it out.

 

Big Shot (John Spano): ESPN 30 for 30 Netflix Streaming

John Spano
John Spano

First let met start by saying that Netflix Streaming seems to change what they show constantly.  This article is written on January 20, 2015.  At this time Big Shot is still available on Netflix Streaming.  For update on what is still available for viewing on Netflix Streaming checkout instantwatcher

30 for 30 is a great series of documentaries released by ESPN.  It is well known and Netflix has recently been streaming episodes.  I first found out about this documentary because it was on the top 50 popular list on instantwatcher.

In 1996 the New York Islanders was a suffering National Hockey League franchise.  The team had a poor record, it was being mismanaged, and Nassau Coliseum was falling apart.  One of the piss poor decisions to try to revive the Islanders was to bring in new uniforms.  This created quite an uproar from the fans.

In 1996, a Dallas businessman had decided to rescue the Islanders by purchasing the team for $165 million.  He had made his money from Texas oil or at least that’s why he got the NHL to believe.

In this documentary the Islanders are excited to have someone buy the team.  John Spano had made the fans believe that he had come to the Islanders to turn the team around.  He was being honored at the start of games.  Also, the infamous Garden City hotel had taken good care of him.  He had his own private area at the hotel bar and he brought women with him (didn’t help him much with his marriage).  He had incurred many expenses on the Islanders dime.  He seemed to be on top of the world, except for his poor relationship with Islander manager Mike Milbury.  Mike is known to not hold anything back and give his real opinion about things.  In a recent example he rips Phil Kessel.  When Mike was a player he got into a Brawl that went into the stands against the New York Rangers.  He was a great addition to this documentary because he just rips into John Spano.  In comparing the two individuals it seemed like Milbury was the lesser of two evils.

By falsifying documents Spano was able to get about half the sticker price of the Islanders from a bank in Boston.  When time came to pay up, Spano would start playing games.  When he was asked for a percentage of the amount owed, he would get a certified check for a much smaller amount than what was asked.  He would then make it seem like the bank issuing the certified check had made a huge mistake.  Shortly after that he was charged with forgery and bank fraud.    He fled to the Cayman Islands, but since he enjoyed going to a particular place in the Cayman Islands a Newsday reporter was able to reach him.  In 2000, he was sentenced to about 6 years in prison and was ordered to pay over $10 million in restitution.

Currently, John Spano has been arrested multiple times after getting out of prison.  His latest arrest was as recent as the end of 2014, this time he conned people while working as a medical supplies salesman.  The Islander, on the other hand, are having a very functional season at the time of this writing.  They are the Metropolitan division leaders in points and have one of the highest points totals in the league.