Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton – Week of May 15, 2023

Popcorn Perspectives with Danny Minton

Week of May 15, 2023

A still from Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, by Davis Guggenheim an official selection of the Premieres program at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Rated R for language
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%
Streaming on Apple TV+

Since he came on the scene in the 80’s with Family Ties, Michael J. Fox has remained a lovable household name, producing hit after hit, until he came out to the world with his heartbreaking diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. This challenging yet life-affirming documentary from Oscar winner Davis Guggenheim (Summer of Soul), follows Fox’s journey from being a child actor to a megastar, to just struggling to possess some sort of quality of life from his progressive illness. To show someone’s life in a mere 95 minutes is a daunting challenge, yet Guggenheim does a masterful job of helping us understand what makes the man tick and what will keep him ticking. Beautifully presented with short snippets from his TV and movie career that seem to perfectly narrate his life, the film manages to be entertaining, informational and inspirational, even if a bit sad. But Fox here isn’t trying to put on a pity party. Quite the opposite. He is constantly showing how truly tough he is, with a sense of humor that cuts through the reality. A-

Sanctuary: Season 1
Not rated, but should be TV-MA for language and violenc
Streaming on Netflix

We get a lot of sports movies and shows to watch, but never has the world of sumo wrestling entered our living rooms, until now. I should know – years ago I wrote a Sumo comedy that almost got made, but ultimately was deemed too obscure for the majority of the world. So I was elated when Netflix released this entertaining series about a young wrestler who decides to do Sumo to pursue its fames and riches that only a few wrestlers are able to achieve. Over 8 episodes we see our young anti-hero (who is basically a huge dirtbag for most of the series) squeak his way through the world of Sumo in Japan until he is hit with massive adversity, only to find a way to Rocky through it. I have to admit that there are a lot of problems, such as a silly amount of over-acting and simplistic script choices. Plus, this probably should have been a couple of hours shorter, not needing 8 one-hour episodes to tell the story. Also, they completely leave out the well-documented presence of the Yakuza in the sport, which could have elevated the drama substantially. But overall, the series is entertaining and enlightening, helping an audience which is mostly or even completely unfamiliar with the sport come to a basic understanding and even appreciation for one of Japan’s most important cultural traditions. B-