Here’s the trailer for the “Tyson” documentary, if you haven’t seen it yet. For the same reason as yesterday’s post, there are aspects of the film that I’m not looking forward to: Namely, everyone who writes about the damn thing will say, erroneously, “Boxing is dead. Remember when it was alive?”
But unlike with all the “Mike Tyson isn’t welcome in some country or the other” or “Tyson might come back and fight Evander Holyfield again” news/noise that prompts the exact same erroneous talk, at least fans of the sport will get something out of it this time. That is, they will get an acclaimed documentary about a figure from the sport who’s really worthy of such a film. Good and ill, there’s a reason Tyson captivated the world.
Like First Cuts, I’m hoping the film sheds some new light on all the familiar Tyson storylines. I think what will help is that Tyson, when he isn’t being totally crazy or pretending to be totally crazy, speaks about himself in such a gut-wrenchingly blunt manner. I’ve seen various films about Tyson; very few of them feature Tyson talking about himself. And that’s all we’ll find in this one. Some have knocked the film for an overly sympathetic portrait of Tyson. That’s fair. He is a convicted rapist, even if he said he never committed the crime, and he’s done some other things that aren’t very forgivable. If the film features him justifying that behavior rather than explaining it and owning up to it, then perhaps it deserves that criticism.
I still wonder if it isn’t nonetheless time to consider the case FOR Tyson instead of against him, and I don’t mean a legal one — I mean, the argument for him as a person. After all, it’s been a good long while since I’ve heard about a nasty incident featuring the ex-fighter. Maybe he is settled down as a mild-mannered father, as he claims. The only news I’ve seen involving Tyson of late, other than this documentary and a video game cover, is mocking items about having gained so much weight. But “fat” and “contented” are often adjectives that run together. If this is a PSA for Tyson, maybe it’s an essential part of a worthy rehab mission. And if this monster is now at peace — or on his way — maybe he’s overdue for a little.