Insightful documentary from Spike Lee paints a detailed portrait of the former pro football player, from his days on Syracuse University's lacrosse team and his Hall of Fame career with the Cleveland Browns to Brown's '70s blaxploitation film roles and troubled personal life. Includes interviews with Oliver Stone, teammates Walter Beach and John Wooten, fellow athlete-turned-actor Bernie Casey, and many more. 132 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo; Subtitles: English, French, Spanish; audio commentary by Lee. NOTE: This Title Is Out Of Print; Limit One Per Customer.
Spike Lee directs a flawed but fascinating portrait of the sports legend, actor, and activist in Jim Brown: All American
. Interviewing former coaches, teammates, and celebrity observers (including Oliver Stone), and with Brown's cooperation, this HBO documentary is best at detailing Brown's early life. Briefly raised by a great-grandmother in Georgia, Brown moved to Long Island, where he found a supportive, predominantly white, community that encouraged his high school victories in basketball, lacrosse, tennis, and, of course, football. He encounters racism at Syracuse University, but Brown's performance and pride overwhelmed all resistance. The Cleveland Browns chapter explains how Brown dominated the game, and then Lee ventures into his subject's experiences in Hollywood and as an African American community leader. The film is engaging and disciplined until controversial issues arise--Brown's alleged abuse toward women, for example--and Lee refuses to press. But in general, this is a good piece about a charismatic, dynamic figure. --Tom Keogh