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Ali: Directed by Michael Mann. With Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Mario Van Peebles. A biography of sports legend Muhammad Ali, focusing on his triumphs and controversies between 1964 and 1974.

“Some people never liked Ali. He is one of those characters who is so strong, most people are forced to either love him despite his weaknesses or hate him. He was one figure in American history who never really needed anybody. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eHe was a conscientious objector against the Viet Nam war, yet he is honored by presidents of the nation he refused to capitulate with in crimes against humanity. His story is that vital to America. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhen Ali was still a teenager, he tried his best to prove his personal excellence in a society prejudiced against black people. He won the boxing gold medal at the Rome Olympics in 1960, yet he came home to Louisville and still wasnu0026#39;t u0026quot;good enoughu0026quot; buy a sandwich at a white restaurant, because he was black. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eHe then decided if the gold medal wasnu0026#39;t good enough for America, then it wasnu0026#39;t good enough for him. At this point in his life, when he had nothing else; he took the gold medal and threw it in the river. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eHe observed the wrestler, Gorgeous George, and admired the way he used the negative energy generated by those who disapproved of him as fuel to become the top attraction and make fools of all those who were against him. He wanted to make people boo him. He proclaimed himself as more beautiful than any creature on the planet. He told the world he was the greatest who ever lived. The more they booed him, the more energy it gave him. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eHe didnu0026#39;t have a mentor or a manager. He assembled a group of Louisville investors to bankroll him, all by himself. He knew exactly what he wanted from the world, reached out and took it. He made a crown out of it. Nobody gave him anything, and nobody can ever take that away. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eHe discarded the name of a great white civil rights leader during the civil war and reasoned that if he was really free to be what HE was, then he should take a name that he thought was a natural black personu0026#39;s name. It didnu0026#39;t make sense for others who came before him to fight and win the rights to do whatever they wanted, if they were then going to do nothing but turn around and say u0026quot;Thank Youu0026quot;. He decided in order to validate the fight for freedom, his role was to be free. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eMuhammad Ali is played by the maybe the only person in the universe who would dare to even attempt it and he succeeds marvelously; not just in a marginal way, but in a big, big way.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis film isnu0026#39;t just swagger, or an imitation of Ali. This is a deep, sensitive, poignant, and romantic story about one of the greatest public figures of the twentieth century. This man truly is a poet and heu0026#39;s lived the life of a poet. To a great extent, Muhammad Ali made his life a manifesto of truth about the American experience. Of all the stories of the twentieth century in America, this was one of the most important ones to tell. u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis film has characters galore: from Jamie Foxx as Bundini Brown, who keeps chanting u0026quot;float like a butterfly, sting like a beeee!u0026quot; when everyone in the world thought Ali was going to die at the hands of Sonny Liston; Jada PinkettSmith as Aliu0026#39;s devoutly religious and adoring first wife; MichaelMichele playing Veronica Porche, a beautiful jet set model with whomAli had an affair, to a strong performance by Mario Van Peebles as Aliu0026#39;s conscience; Malcolm X, who forces Ali to think against himself and his adoring Black Muslim following in the interests of right and wrong.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis film has irony, choreography, conflict, humor, drama; and accurately portrays the highest highs of any public figure Iu0026#39;ve seen in my lifetime, as well as some of the most bitter defeats.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis is about male psychology. This is about female psychology. This is about a religious movement in America. This is about a culture in America and many cultures in America and their struggles to live together and treat each other right and fairly, while trying to do the right thing as concerns their own conscience.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe most glaring weaknesses of any sports film ever made are in the sport scenes themselves. This is the strongest point of this film and also makes it the greatest sports film ever made.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIu0026#39;ve been a boxing fan since I was eleven. I was a part of crowds who gathered around Muhammad Ali before he became champion. I know what he looks like face to face. Iu0026#39;ve watched his boxing films dozens of times, and Iu0026#39;ll tell you that the scenes in this movie are perfect reenactments of what actually happened in the ring. This couldnu0026#39;t have been done in less than dozens of takes per scene. They throw punches exactly like the fighters in the real fights. Theyu0026#39;re in the same part of the ring when they throw those punches. They react to the punches the same way. They even get knocked down in the correct parts of the ring in exactly the same way as the fighters who were in the original fight.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIu0026#39;m not going to comment on whether it should have won an Oscar for best picture, best actor, best supporting actor, best direction, best photography, best choreography, or other features in the film. Maybe itu0026#39;s better that it didnu0026#39;t win those awards in that year because this film is bigger than any year.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis is the sports film that all others will be judged by from here on out by anyone with any sense of realism and art in movies.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis is one for the ages.”


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