The Good SonClosed Captioning
Jesse James Miller
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FRANK SINATRA FAWNED OVER HIM. WARREN ZEVON WROTE A TRIBUTE SONG. Sylvester Stallone produced his life story as a movie of the week. In the 1980s, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini wasn’t merely the lightweight champ. An adoring public considered him a national hero, the real Rocky. From the mobbed-up steel city of Youngstown, Ohio, Mancini was cast as the savior of a sport: a righteous kid in a corrupt game, symbolically potent and demographically perfect, the last white ethnic. He fought for those left behind in busted-out mill towns across America. But most of all, he fought for his father. Lenny Mancini—the original Boom Boom, as he was called—had been a lightweight contender himself. But the elder Mancini’s dream ended on a battlefield in November 1944, when fragments from a German mortar shell nearly killed him. Almost four decades later, Ray promised to win the title his father could not. What came of that vow was a feel-good fable for network television. But it all came apart November 13, 1982, in a brutal battle at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Mancini’s obscure Korean challenger, Duk Koo Kim, went down in the 14th round and never regained consciousness. Three months later, Kim’s despondent mother took her own life. The deaths would haunt Ray and impact his carefully crafted image, suddenly transforming boxing’s All-American Boy into a pariah. Now, thirty years after that nationally televised bout, the story’s full dimensions are finally uncovered. In tracking the Mancini and Kim families across generations, confessions and mysteries—from the killing of Mancini’s brother to the fate of Kim’s son are brought to light. In scenes both brutal and tender, the narrative moves from Youngstown to New York, Vegas to Seoul, Reno to Hollywood, where the inevitably romantic idea of a fighter comes up against reality. The Good Son is an intimate history, a saga of fathers and fighters, loss and redemption and finally, forgiveness.
Outstanding in every way
I've been waiting for the movie ever since I heard Ray on local (Cleveland, Ohio) sports talk radio and I was rewarded. I grew up here in Northeast Ohio and remember this era of boxing being all about the heavyweights as mentioned in the movie. Youngstown, Ohio has always been the ugly stepsister of Cleveland and Pittsburgh so the fact that Ray "made it" is impressive on its own. The story is told through the voice of Ray's neighbor, trainer, some celebrities and Ray himself and sprinkled throughout are pics, clippings and videos to really make you feel the times. Ray was a Good Son and after the Kim fight and years of internal struggle (my take-away) he meets up with Kim's son and widowed wife. Touching is hardly the word to describe it and all I can say is Ray, you're a giant of a man as I don't think I could have done that. I hope everyone who watches this 5-star documentary learns a little bit about themself and appreciates just a little more, their brief walk through life. God bless Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, his family, friends, colleagues, opponents and fan support network for this endeavour. Buy it, you'll love it.
I group up in Youngstown and still live in the area. I remember all of the positive things Ray did for the city during a time when the only news you heard were negative stories. Ray personified what it mean to be from Youngstown… tough, hard nose fighter like the people from the area.
The end was as emotional as you can get…..
The Good Son documentary
This movie is an emotional and deeply moving film. I could not help but be moved by the whole thing. Especially the Mancini and Kim family reunion.