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Don't even bother getting into the ring

Boxing Gym: Rates an F.
Courtesy photo

A documentary about a sweaty boxing gym somewhere in Texas…they should’ve had me at the first sound of shoes squeaking and punches hitting heavy and speed bags.

I love boxing. I love documentaries. I hated this.

Frederick Wiseman has been doing documentaries for 50 years. Apparently, most of them on PBS.

Well, if what I saw is any indication of how this guy makes a documentary, he should retire.

I read that he gets 100 hours of footage doing a documentary, spending only four or five weeks on location. Oh, and he doesn’t do research.

That’s the same logic Larry King used when bragging about his interview style. He claimed he wouldn’t listen to the new record or see the latest movie – of the guest. He felt that made for a better interview.

Oh, and this documentary had no narration. That technique worked with Babies (even in that it got old quick).

At this gym, I was just bored.

What could’ve been an interesting slice of life regarding various people in all walks of life, going to work out at a boxing gym, instead just showed us the various types of things they do. There was no explanation about why they did certain things; nobody talking about if they wanted to pursue boxing professional; Oh, I did learn that a lot of people practice their jabs while a baby sits nearby waiting for them.

The people training were all uninteresting. Perhaps if we knew their back-story, they might’ve been.

Once in awhile you’d see something interesting – like guys hitting a huge tire with a sledgehammer as a work out. Or glancing at the various posters and pictures on the wall – some from big fights, others obscure ones.

My friend said to me as we left: “Maybe you have to be a boxer to appreciate this.”

I laughed and replied, “Why? A boxer does all these things. Why do they want to sit in a theatre watching other people do it? This is a movie someone like me – who loves boxing but maybe doesn’t know everything involved in training outside a cheesy workout scene in Rocky, could’ve enjoyed.”

The last 45 minutes of this movie, I just kept thinking how bummed I was that I was missing Conan.

This documentary is the epitome of lazy filmmaking. Anyone could film hours and hours of something, and randomly edit it down to a few hours, not being concerned with showing a cohesive story.

I’m giving this an F.