Binging on OJ
I was updating my Netflix queue yesterday to add all of the new Oscar-nominated films. Just by chance we had "Hell or High Water" at home which is the only Best Picture nominee currently available. It was pretty good. Probably not a winner, but very entertaining (and filmed in NM!). The only other Best Picture nominee I have seen is "Fences" which was good, but also probably not a winner. Denzel was very good, but I agree with critics that he should have had someone else direct it. His performance was great, but needed to be taken down a notch.
Anyway...I was a disheartened to see almost no Best Foreign and Best Documentary nominees were readily available. I think last year I had been able to see all of the documentaries before the awards show. The only documentary available on demand was the one film from Netflix itself. Oh well. I'll watch that. When I went to add "OJ: Made in America" I saw that it was on more than one disk. Investigating further I saw that it had been a 5-part series on ESPN. ESPN had a nomination?!? I then checked to see if it was available for free from my cable company. It was! I sat down to watch. What started off as an experiment to see how it was ended up being a 2-day obsession. I watched all 8 hours in 2 sittings. It started off as I had figured. It covered OJ the athlete with lots of stats and game film. Intermixed with the sports angle they included a history of race relations in California. Hmmm. Odd. The story progressed as OJ transformed from athlete to celebrity. Then there was footage of Rodney King and the LA riots. Finally there were the murders of his ex-wife and her friend who in the wrong place at the wrong time. The story progressed from his acquittal and then his downfall as he became a pariah. Finally he hits rock bottom and is sentenced to prison for a strong-armed robbery of a sports memorabilia dealer in Las Vegas. It really is a classic American tragedy. The man who had it all, lived the American dream, and then self destructed. The race angle was also very interesting. His acquittal was nothing less than black people getting revenge for decades of mistreatment by the LAPD. Jurors pretty much stated that as a fact. It then clicked in my head that there were direct analogies to his acquittal and the election of Trump. The jurors were presented with indisputable facts. There was no way he could be found innocent! And yet he was. The jurors wanted to send a message. It certainly sounded like what we have just experienced. How could Trump win? Look at the facts! And yet The People wanted to send a message. Let's just hope that we don't become the "OJ of the World" and we lose all of our allies and end up with a bunch of thugs as our friends.