Director: James Toback
Year Released: 2008
Controversial - and complicated - former heavyweight "Iron" Mike Tyson reviews his life and career up to the age of 40 while Pal Toback hangs back and lets him rationalize and philosophize, making this something of an extended monologue. Normally this wouldn't work, but Tyson is such an intricate and contradictory figure - is he really damaged? or is it all an exaggerated act like some detractors say? should we pity him? is he truly remorseful? - that the picture is a success (in a train-wreck sort-of way): Mike speaks out against people he hates (Don King), people he loves (his kids, Trainer Cus) and tries to offer explanations for his notorious antics (the ear-chewing, the face tattoo), as feeble as those excuses may or may not be. Toback and Tyson omit some key elements - for example, Teddy Atlas is never mentioned, nor are Mike's more heinous 'youthful misadventures' like mugging old women - but I never expected it to be a thorough condemnation. Tyson the Unconscious Poet offers some choice sound-bites, too, in case you're not into boxing: "I'll fuck you till you love me, faggot" and "I'm going to make sure you kiss me with those big lips. I'm going to make you my girlfriend" are my favorites (somebody call up that Bartlett fellow).