OJ: Made In America (2016)
Produced/Directed by Ezra Edelman
The ESPN original documentary "OJ: Made In America" was essentially a biography of the world-wind life of Orenthal James Simpson. OJ at his highest moments in life was an inspiration to all, a celebrity to all, and a person just about everyone wanted to be like. For those in my generation there isn't much known and told about OJ, but for those who grew up in the 60s-80s this was one of the most influential figures at that time. In the documentary, they present us with his whole life story from birth, to his current state of being as of today. OJ was an African American football phenom from San Francisco. In 1968 he capped his unbelievable career at USC with being awarded the Heisman Trophy. He went on to get drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1969, as the 1st pick in the draft. He made his mark in the NFL by setting the NFL Season Rushing Record and being the first to rush for more than 2,000yds in one season. As he stormed the sports scene, he also took the "media" scene by storm, which was unheard of from African Americans at the time, because that's just how things were back then. He soon became the first African American to be broadcast on such a frequent and national level. He was what they referred to as the "perfect black man" by the white population. He was accepted by all races at a time where race determined everything. He soon retired in 1979, and was later inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Although he was a man of many astonishing talents and accolades, what he became known for was the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. The trial held for these crimes was be known as the trial of the century, given this was the first time a celebrity of this stature had ever been accused of murder. In the end the controversial case would end in OJ being acquitted of both crimes, regardless of various evidence suggesting otherwise. After the case, the life of OJ would in fair terms be described as spiraling out of control. Then in September 2007, OJ Simpson finally "crashed". He was convicted on accusations of armed robbery and kidnap in Las Vegas, but this time the court system was going to get even. He was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to 33 years in prison. When it was all said and done, the 8 hour documentary of this man life experiences left you with a handful of conflicted emotions, nonetheless he's had one of the most eventful lifes til this day.
To my understanding, what prompted the making of this documentary was the reemergence of the name OJ Simpson. The reestablishment of his relevance came with his latest arrest in Las Vegas in 2007. He is also now up for parole this year so that could have also sparked the need for this documentary due his presence being displayed in the news and media once again.
As far as the intended audience of this documentary, I would have to say from watching it, that the intended audience was the entire United States. This was a man of unbelievable stature, he was what some considered to be the most famous person at the time. So the directed audience would have to be those of the older population as well as the younger population. Our generation in a way needed to know about the life of OJ Simpson, because OJ Simpson was a major part of American History.
The overall purpose of the documentary was to bring back such a influential and relevant person to the older generation and to inform the younger generation of the major influence and relevance of this mans life. From the role he played in civil rights movement, to his football success, to his Hollywood stardom, OJ Simpson's life impacted America. Whats so interesting and thought provoking about the documentary is it is being told from a curiosity standpoint. Meaning that his life experiences are being told from essentially both sides, from the people he impacted positively, to the people he impacted negatively. So you get to see his life for what it is, nothing more nothing less.
All in all, the "OJ: Made In America" documentary was a success in telling the life story of OJ "Juice" Simpson. After watching it, I can honestly say I knew everything there was to know about OJ, and was capable of forming my own opinion on whether he was a good football player, whether he was innocent or guilty, and whether he was a good person or not. This documentary was made to let America again for the third time in his life, judge the him as a human being.
This was by far one of the best documentaries I've ever watched and now one of my all time favorites. I'm giving this documentary an undeniable 5 star rating: