“The Good Son” is a contender.
The documentary film about Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini will be submitted to the Academy Awards in hopes of getting nominated for — if not winning — an Oscar. It’s so hard-hitting that it should be among the favorites.
Mancini, the former boxing champ from Youngstown, came home Saturday to screen the film at The Oakland. That’s when he told me that he has been hearing his film has a shot at winning an Oscar.
After seeing the film, I have to agree.
“The Good Son” goes far beyond ESPN’s serviceable 2007 documentary “Triumph and Tragedy: The Ray Mancini Story,” because it is so much more than a boxing story.
It is a story of fathers and sons, love and understanding, respect and forgiveness.
Mancini tells the story himself, with the help of others who were there, taking viewers to the scenes of his youth. Audiences across the country will be captivated by the bare-knuckled stories, characters and street scenes of Youngstown’s South Side.
The film covers all the familiar ground that makes Mancini’s life story a great one: His devotion to his father, who was also a boxer; his brother, who was killed under suspicious circumstances; his rise to the top of the boxing world; and the tragic death of Korean boxer Duk Koo Kim, which took the wind out of Mancini’s sails.
Mancini’s charisma shines through and adds to the watchability of the film. He is revealed as a determined warrior, yet also a thoughtful and amiable gentleman.
But all of this is prologue to the film’s final segment: a meeting between Mancini and the son of Duk Koo Kim.
Juwan Kim had never met his father. His mother was pregnant with him when his father went to America to box Mancini for the title. Duk Koo Kim died shortly after the fight.
In the film, Juwan, now 28 and a dentist in South Korea, comes to Los Angeles with his mother, Duk Koo’s widow, to finally meet Mancini and his children. The meeting fulfills an unmet need in both of these good sons, and ultimately sets both free.
Two lives that have been marred for decades by the same tragedy finally get closure from each other, and it’s all captured by the camera.
It is amazing and moving, like a scene from a myth, but it’s real.
For this, credit goes to the film’s writer, Mark Kriegel, and to director Jesse James Miller.
They pace the movie the same way Mancini fought: A nonstop flurry of punches, almost all of which land, never backing up, never slowing down, and culminating in a knockout blow.
The Academy Awards nominations will be revealed Jan. 16. “The Good Son” is available on iTunes.
STAMBAUGH IS THE SETTING FOR OLD-FASHIONED SCAREs
The newest Halloween tradition in Youngstown has got to be the silent horror movies, screened to the mood-setting accompaniment of a pipe organ, at Stambaugh Auditorium.
About 1,150 people turned out Saturday for this year’s event: “The Phantom of the Opera” (1925), with Todd Wilson playing the hall’s magnificent pipe organ.
It was the third-straight year for the free Halloween treat, and attendance is climbing. About 850 turned out last year for “Nosferatu,” accompanied by Tom Trenney.
The inaugural film was “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” but attendance numbers aren’t available for that one.
The experience of watching a silent movie in a theater — the way it was intended, with live music — is a throwback but it’s also surprisingly fun. The lack of sound focuses attention on the screen, and the directors and actors of that era certainly knew it.
Chris Lewis, marketing director for the venerable auditorium on Fifth Avenue, said the annual event might be his favorite.
“I love to watch and listen to how the audience reacts during the presentation,” he said. “It’s a very unique experience and people really seem to enjoy it.”