Tag Archives: Magic

TV Review: They Call Me Magic

Produced by Apple TV+, ‘They Call Me Magic‘ is a four-part documentary about one of basketball’s greatest legends, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson. One of the most exciting stories on and off the basketball court, the show covers almost everything Magic stands for; his childhood, his family, and his relationships. The show also highlights a much-needed detailing about the making of his legacy in college basketball. This was very necessary due to his being arguably the greatest college basketball player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson.

The documentary features interviews of Magic, his wife, family, coaches, teammates, and his rivals. Speaking of rivals, I am glad Larry Bird was also part of this documentary and he had his own narrative about their rivalry and games. But Larry’s contribution to Magic’s documentary is an acknowledgment that one of the greatest sports rivalries that encompassed in the 1980s developed a respect for each other.

The icing on the cake is when the show also features Michael Jordan. You know it is a huge ask when the greatest basketball player of all time shows up in a documentary of another basketball legend. Although, there are other legends to talk about Magic like Jerry West and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but Michael is a different picture. And Michael Jordan already had a blast talking about his dynasty exactly two years ago. So this means a lot. And why not? Before the Bulls dynasty began, it was Magic’s Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s that dominated. This is like MJ passes the torch of the dynasty to MJ, especially in the 1991 NBA Finals.

Besides his basketball career, there is quite an insider about a complex love story of Magic and his wife Cookie. The story has been stretched to, I feel, more than the screen length could have demanded. I felt Magic’s post-basketball career deserved more minutes than the affair. There was really a tremendous contribution he made as an investor when he started an investment company, Magic Johnson Enterprises.

One thing I would like to address about this documentary to the readers and the audience is not to compare it with HBO‘s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty due to many reasons. One, ‘Winning Time’ is about the entire Lakers dynasty while ‘They Call Me Magic’ is only about Magic. Two, the former is a television drama that is inspired by Jeff Pearlman‘s book, ‘Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s‘ while the latter features the players giving their input through interviews. The former is scripted and fictionalized for a dramatic touch to attract the audience while the latter doesn’t compromise on authenticity as the real people show up describing their stories and incidents.

Nothing to take away from ‘Winning Time’, I loved that show as a drama that came into existence through any network that was based on basketball but the tone of entertaining the audience shall be limited to enjoying the Lakers’ glory rather than digging facts about its being real or fictional. I wished that ‘Winning Time’ would have been 100% accurate but it is okay because now we have another source on the television format, and that is ‘They Call Me Magic’.

In my opinion, the biggest plus of watching this documentary is not only to understand the ‘magic’ he spelled that started a dynasty but more than that, the show heavily convinces the audience that it was Magic Johnson who stepped NBA up financially. Before him, NBA’s fame and state were different from each other. The fame was there but the state was economically awful. The television ratings were declining, and the spectators were diminishing. The shocking fact about NBA before the 1980s is that the show was not popular enough to be on prime time. One of the major reasons was too much violence and the NBA was considered too black to be termed as drug-infested. The racial standards were poor. So Magic’s arrival changed the fate and face of the NBA who established himself as a superstar in college basketball. His popularity gradually increased and became the most talking point when his becoming a pro was on the cards.

Therefore, ‘They Call Me Magic’ is a celebration and an honest tribute to a wonderful career.

TV Review: Houdini (2014)

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I am yet to understand the logic of fictionalizing historic events or biographies and deceiving the viewers who are under impression that seeing is believing… What would happen if the storyteller speaks the true lines parallel to someone’s life? Won’t the viewers appreciate and fully accept? I wanted to see a biographic docudrama about life of the great Harry Houdini and then, things unexpectedly went wrong…

First let me brief you who he was. Harry Houdini was son of a Rabbi and belonged from a Jewish-immigrant Hungarian family who moved to United States when he was a kid. At a small age, he became a trapeze artist to feed his family. He loved reading and once read French magician Houdini’s autobiography that inspired him to practice magic and changed his real name Erik Weisz to Harry Houdini. Later on he became illusionist and escape artist, saying in terse an entertainer. Houdini was a freemason.

Nicholas Meyer, the writer who famously wrote Star Trek movies, Time After Time and directed Sommersby, wrote ‘Houdini‘. Despite the fact that the miniseries was funded by History Channel, it still was historically the least accurate story about Houdini crossing most of the limit.

houdini-history-channel-image

Neither there is any evidence that Houdini got trapped in a frozen river nor did he get fame by escaping from jail. He never grew up or bought a large home in Brooklyn, nor did he work with a magician when he was a kid. Houdini’s secret-keeper Jim Collins was never American from Georgia but English and Houdini never played a bullet-catching act in his prime and never in a private performance for last German Emperor, Wilhelm II.

Houdini’s bondage sex with British painter Elizabeth Thompson (well-known as Lady Butler) is one of most bizarre plot to establish. Forget this ding-dong, there is no indication if they ever met. Houdini’s wife never took promise from her husband to give up escapes. In contrary, she was his biggest admirer and supporter of his work. His interest in spiritualism came in last phase of his life, the truth is that he was interested from the start of his magic career.

There is no evidence that Mina Crandon (Miss Margery) ever seduced Houdini or in his hotel room. He never offered punches on stomach, his first recorded punch was in his last year during a lecture at MacGill university. He never collapsed at stage during his final performance before rushing towards hospital. In fact he completed the show and came back hotel.

HOU_10212013_EE_0393A.JPG

Wanna know worse than that? At your own risk! This is the biggest technical mistake of the whole miniseries when it comes to historical timeline accuracy by the way. There is a 1903 scene where Houdini is invited by Russian Royal family to present a private performance. One of the wish is to make the Kremlin Bells ring which he does. Among the attendees is the mad monk, Rasputin.

If the reader carefully read these last few Russian scenes and if he/she has some knowledge of Russian history, then the reader will understand that the makers come up with one of the biggest blunders; 

1. Rasputin never met the Russian royal family  i.e. the Romanovs in 1903. It was November, 1905 when Princess Milica of Montenegro presented Rasputin to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

2. Kremlin Clock is on Spasskaya Tower in Moscow. Moscow? Under the Russian Empire, St. Petersburg was the capital from 1730 till 1917. How come Houdini performed in front of the Romanovs in Moscow instead of St. Petersburg?

I would hugely recommend Houdini fans and those who would like to dig his life to better log on to www.wildabouthoudini.com or www.thegreatharryhoudini.com

If the viewers would like to watch Houdini leaving the historical accuracy behind, then the plus is Adrien Brody‘s central role of Houdini. Adrien has every right to receive full-marks appreciation as his selection was the biggest trump card the makers played. Like Houdini, Adrien also is Jew, Hungarian from mother’s side, not born but grew and lived in United States. If that is not enough then like Houdini, Adrien Brody also performed magic tricks at young age. That is the reason, Adrien performed most of the tricks in the series on his own. Kristen Connolly as Houdini’s wife has done a terrific job.

To sum up and try to end this post in a better way, I would like to raise one question to the makers of Houdini. Please tell me just pleeeeaaassseeeeee tell me I beg you; in the series, how come Houdini’s eyes were brown at childhood and green when he was adult??? :’S

Ratings: 4/10

Follow me on TWITTER @saminaik_asn

TV Review: Houdini (2014)

oJhmp3cEmBA.market_maxres

I am yet to understand the logic of fictionalizing historic events or biographies and deceiving the viewers who are under impression that seeing is believing… What would happen if the storyteller speaks the true lines parallel to someone’s life? Won’t the viewers appreciate and fully accept? I wanted to see a biographic docudrama about the life of the great Harry Houdini and then, things unexpectedly went wrong…

First, let me brief you on who he was. Harry Houdini was a son of a Rabbi and belonged to a Jewish-immigrant Hungarian family who moved to the United States when he was a kid. At a small age, he became a trapeze artist to feed his family. He loved reading and once read French magician Houdini’s autobiography which inspired him to practice magic and changed his real name Erik Weisz to Harry Houdini. Later on, he became an illusionist and escape artist, saying in terse an entertainer. Houdini was a freemason.

Nicholas Meyer, the writer who famously wrote Star Trek movies, Time After Time and directed Sommersby, wrote ‘Houdini‘. Despite the fact that the miniseries was funded by History Channel, it still was historically the least accurate story about Houdini crossing most of the limit.

houdini-history-channel-image

Neither there is any evidence that Houdini got trapped in a frozen river nor did he get fame by escaping from jail. He never grew up or bought a large home in Brooklyn, nor did he work with a magician when he was a kid. Houdini’s secret-keeper Jim Collins was never American from Georgia but English and Houdini never played a bullet-catching act in his prime and never in a private performance for the last German Emperor, Wilhelm II.

Houdini’s bondage sex with British painter Elizabeth Thompson (well-known as Lady Butler) is one of the most bizarre plots to establish. Forget this ding-dong, there is no indication if they ever met. Houdini’s wife never took the promise from her husband to give up escapes. On the contrary, she was his biggest admirer and supporter of his work. His interest in spiritualism came in the last phase of his life, the truth is that he was interested from the start of his magic career.

There is no evidence that Mina Crandon (Miss Margery) ever seduced Houdini or in his hotel room. He never offered punches on the stomach, his first recorded punch was in his last year during a lecture at MacGill University. He never collapsed on stage during his final performance before rushing towards the hospital. In fact, he completed the show and came back hotel.

HOU_10212013_EE_0393A.JPG

Wanna know worse than that? At your own risk! This is the biggest technical mistake of the whole miniseries when it comes to historical timeline accuracy by the way. There is a 1903 scene where Houdini is invited by the Russian Royal family to present a private performance. One of the wishes is to make the Kremlin Bells ring which he does. Among the attendees is the mad monk, Rasputin.

If the reader carefully read these last few Russian scenes and if he/she has some knowledge of Russian history, then the reader will understand that the makers come up with one of the biggest blunders; 

1. Rasputin never met the Russian royal family i.e. the Romanovs in 1903. It was November 1905 when Princess Milica of Montenegro presented Rasputin to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

2. Kremlin Clock is on Spasskaya Tower in Moscow. Moscow? Under the Russian Empire, St. Petersburg was the capital from 1730 till 1917. How come Houdini performed in front of the Romanovs in Moscow instead of St. Petersburg?

I would hugely recommend Houdini fans and those who would like to dig his life to better log on to www.wildabouthoudini.com or www.thegreatharryhoudini.com

If the viewers would like to watch Houdini leaving the historical accuracy behind, then the plus is Adrien Brody‘s central role of Houdini. Adrien has every right to receive full-marks appreciation as his selection was the biggest trump card the makers played. Like Houdini, Adrien also is Jew, Hungarian from his mother’s side, not born but grew up and lived in the United States. If that is not enough then like Houdini, Adrien Brody also performed magic tricks at a young age. That is the reason, Adrien performed most of the tricks in the series on his own. Kristen Connolly as Houdini’s wife has done a terrific job.

To sum up and try to end this post in a better way, I would like to raise one question to the makers of Houdini. Please tell me just pleeeeaaassseeeeee tell me I beg you; in the series, how come Houdini’s eyes were brown in childhood and green when he was adult??? :’S

Ratings: 4/10

Follow me on TWITTER @saminaik_asn