Monday, March 11, 2013
Doing The Right Thing
I'm interested in Mike Tyson's story because at its core it's about a sweet kid. He's like a character in a Dickens novel. He can't hide that side of himself even though he's from the street, a former drug addict accused of rape; it comes out in his voice, his love of pigeons, his fascination with unlikely characters like Judy Garland and Mark Twain, his tendency to get choked up when talking about Cus. His story is less about all the characters who tried to take advantage of him or beat him down, than it is about his ability to keep going, by whatever means necessary. Just the fact that he could get on a stage and talk for two hours to a huge audience is proof of his courage.
I think at the core of Spike Lee's story is a curmudgeon: a side of himself that he can't hide and lately, doesn't even try to. I don't think he was always like this; he started out being more earnest (Please baby, baby please) but he got tired and felt justified in blaming and judging. He's not wrong, but his view is narrow. It's always more interesting to see how things connect than how they don't.
For this reason I don't think Spike was the best director for Mike's show. There seemed to be an agenda of "here's a guy who has been beaten down" and there was a lot of trash talking and finger pointing, not just at white people (though at one point there was a big photo of a dorky Mitt Romney with his creepy smile; a symbol?) but at his ex wife Robin Givens and Don King. And everyone in the audience cheered when he said mean things about them. (including me I'm not gonna lie) But it didn't keep it real so much as it kept it small.