C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Documentary: B-
34-years-old, New Orleans Saints star football player Steve Gleason
was diagnosed with the awful illness ALS, a disabling disease that
slowly stops a person from being able to not only control their body
muscles and movements, but even the involuntary functions like
breathing cease. This nightmare illness needs to be eliminated ASAP,
but to Gleason's credit, he started recording himself starting with
finding out and showing his slow decline suffering from this. That
footage, new interviews and more make up J. Clay Twell's new
documentary Gleason (2016).
we learn of the illness, we see Gleason, his life and his amazing
success as an NFL player, beloved, respected and it is not with the
hype some of the phonier players made to be 'good guys' (and were
not) get when the whole NFL is being sold to the public. He helped
the team make a comeback after the nightmare flooding and
environmental hurricane disaster that happened to his city and
surrounds areas (made famously worse by poor, even politicized)
governmental failures to help people. That sets us up for this vital
chronicle of how his health was ruined by ALS and sadly, he is far
from the only person this has struck.
also give credit to his friends and family for fighting back to help
him, get more recognition to the disease an help for (including
funding) to slow it down and cure it. This also becomes a character
study of the man, those he loves, those who love him and more triumph
against a really bad run of luck for New Orleans. Even if you're not
a football or sports fan, this was very informative and
unfortunately, we're probably going to see more ALS cases for a while
before it gets solved. Thanks to Steve Gleason using his celebrity
to expose it to a wider audience before it took him on, there's more
hope it can be solved.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is a mix of new HD video,
broadcast TV video (analog NTSC and digital) and his own digital
video, but we get flaws in the earlier work including image warping,
video noise, video banding, cross color, faded color and digititis.
Still, this looks good for such a documentary and as good as it can
in this format. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 is a mix of newly
recorded audio for the program and older sources that can be
feature length audio commentary track by the Director and Michel
Varisco, Gleason's wife, is the only extra. However, despite not
talking all the way through all the time, it is also another view
into the events of the main program.