O.J. : Made In America review

 

O.J.:Made in America: Oscar Nominee for Best Documentary
In my quest to watch all the Oscar nominated documentaries for the 2017 academy awards I dove into the 450 minute, you read that right 7 1/2 hour long, documentary that is O.J.: Made in America.

There are certain moments when I realize that I’m getting old. That morning I woke up with the most intensive hangover ever because I thought I could stay up late and drink with my college friends like we used to. That time I was watching University of Maryland basketball and realized that I am over a decade older than most of these players. That conversation with a new guy at work who doesn’t remember the OJ Simpson trial BECAUSE HE WASN’T BORN YET! I remember everything about the OJ case; the Bronco chase down the freeway, Judge Ito being weirdly in sole control of everything, the jury taking a tour of the mansion, “if it don’t fit, you must acquit.” And this guy knew none of it. He had knowledge of the case and had heard of the FX series “The People vs OJ Simpson” but never got in to the show. I was floored. Not even 3 months later I heard of this ESPN giant undertaking into everything about OJ’s life and knew it was a sign.

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The documentary is broken up into five 90-minute parts, each one going super in depth into sections of OJ’s life and the case. Part one deals with most of OJ’s football career and how he became so popular. From his college football days at USC, to his time with the Buffalo Bills, during which he broke the 2000 yards in a season record. The film did a really good job of showing what else was going on in the country at that time, especially the riots of the mid 1960’s due to race relations and how OJ did what he could to stay out of it. Part two covers the courting and marriage to Nicole Brown. How everything started out so beautifully but then the controlling side of OJ came out. The various 911 calls made for domestic violence, leading to their divorce in 1994.

Remember now, you’ve been watching for 3 hours and they still haven’t even gotten to the murder yet. That’s where part 3 starts. The murder, the Bronco chase, the selection of OJ’s “Dream Team” of lawyers, the trial is all covered leading up to the jury’s tour of the Brentwood murder scene and how messed up that was. Part 4 covers the rest of the case, where things went wrong with “the glove” and how the prosecution started to see their case fall apart. Finally we end at part 5, covering the verdict and how it impacted the entire country. How obviously everything changed for OJ after the trial and leading up to his arrests later in life.

I really liked the documentary. There were current interviews throughout the entire series from almost everyone involved, from Al Collins to OJ’s agent to the defense and prosecution teams to jurors of the case. These interviews along with footage I had never scene before during the trial, really pulled you in to each part. I will admit it was long when I look back on it, but breaking it up into the 5 parts was a smart idea by ESPN Films. Each one was like it’s own mini movie that left you with a cliffhanger where you had to see the sequel. I never really noticed the length while watching, only after when I realized I’m hungry and haven’t peed in 3 days. Whether you are interested in this Simpson case or not, I would advise that you check out “O.J.: Made in America.” It was very thoroughly researched and well put together. Any fan of podcasts like Serial or Investigation Discovery shows will not be able to turn it off.

8 gloves that just won’t fit out of 10

-Craig

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