I’ve been on a real documentary kick as of late and here are a few that should be mandatory viewing for anyone who calls Louisville, Kentucky home.
When We Were Kings – Muhammad Ali vs George Foreman
Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, he was and is the product of both the racial tensions and the revolutionary times and no film shows all of those sides better than When We Were Kings. Ali has become a transcendent figure in his old age – but at the time of the Ali/Foreman fight in 1974, he was still a divisive figure. He went to jail because he refused the Vietnam draft, he joined the Nation of Islam, and to top it off he was a gregarious civil rights activist. But at the core of his being, beneath the pride and the talent was a man who cared deeply about where he came from, who he was and what he and his people could achieve. And all that from a dyslexic street kid from Louisville.
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson
Like Ali, Hunter S. Thompson was born and raised in Louisville and took his natural talent and revolutionary thinking and helped to transform the world. Ali and Thompson ultimately shared a similar fate – crippled by the sport they entered into – Ali crippled by Parkinson’s and Hunter S. Thompson’s drug abuse. Their heydays were amazing shows of force and talent spawned by unbelievable creativity, and their slides into the autumns of their lives are terribly sad.
Harlan County USA
While I might live in Kentucky, I love the rest of the state, from the mines in the east to the lakes in the west and the horses in the middle. And while the people in between might not share the same values that I do here in the “big city” of Louisville, they are nonetheless my people and people that shaped the person who I am today. Harlan County USA is a fascinating snapshot of life in a mining town in Harlan County, Kentucky in the early 1970s. An gripping tale of workers and the machine – and what happens when a people have so few options to survive.