The Chive


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One Night in Miami

Never let it be said that ol' Cinemavenger isn't open to taking the occasional request. Like the Stones sang, "You can't always get what you want," but if you reach out and touch me - especially in the dirty places - you might just get me to do my thang for you.

One of my best friends in the world told me I just had to check out One Night in Miami. I'm not sure whether he's flying the BLM flag high or, more likely, was six sheets to the wind when he watched this Amazon original, but he was blown away by the story of how Cassius Clay (Eli "Morning" Goree), Malcolm X ("Ben" Kingsley Ben-Adir), Sam Cooke (Leslie "Nielsen" Odom, Jr.), and Jim Brown (Aldis "And A Bag Of Chips" Hodge) spent a night in a motel room in Miami in 1964 talking about racism and how to overcome it.

One Night in Miami is inspired by true events, so it tells us. These four remarkable men did, in fact, know each other, and they did spend at least some of the night Clay first became the Heavyweight Champion of the World in that Florida motel room. Clay did subsequently announce his conversion to Islam and the associated name change to Muhammad Ali. Beyond that, how much of what's on screen happened in real life is up for some serious ass debate.

The movie is based on a play, and it shows more than nips through a wet, white t-shirt. Thank the fuck out of whatever god you believe in that director Regina "Hail To The" King takes the action outside of that motel room once in a while, because watching four guys - no matter how famous or influential - chat in a tiny room for two hours wouldn't have been so pretty.

Though it's chock full of tasty, quasi-historical tidbits about how these proud, African American men viewed the struggle for racial equality and each others' place in it, I kept hoping that One Night in Miami would have more punch. In the end, though, it's a lot more like getting hit by Malcolm or Sam than Brown or Ali.

Take a page from my buddy's (green) book and let me know if there's a movie you want me to review. I fucking dare you.

February 5, 2021