thefourthvine: Two people fucking, rearview: sex is the universal fandom. (Default)
Keep Hoping Machine Running ([personal profile] thefourthvine) wrote2013-06-12 10:01 pm

The Most Amazing Documentary of Our Lifetimes

Hey, does anyone remember the greatest Nike commercial ever made? It turns out there's more of it! Like, a whole documentary of it! Except it's set in the past, not the future, and the dudes are some guys named Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

Or, to put it another way - I have witnessed both cinematic greatness and an actual soulbonding story in real life. And it was called:

Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals

Okay, so the title should already suggest that we are in for something incredibly special here. How often do legitimate sports documentary people select the word "courtship" for the titles of their works? NOT OFTEN is my guess, but I think the discussion around the table immediately after viewing the rough cut went something like this:

Marketer: How 'bout we call it Magic & Bird: A Love Story?
Producer: Accurate, but it lacks punch.
Director: I kind of want a basketball reference in the title.
Marketer: You mean a basketball reference besides the names of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird? You don't think that's already kind of enough?
Director: Well, basketball is one of the major elements of this story.
Marketer: ...I guess.
Producer: I know! Magic & Bird: A Basketball Love Story!
Marketer, cringing: That's a great option, but let's keep looking.
Associate: Hey, how about Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals? See, it's got COURT right in the name, and also it doesn't run the risk of getting shelved in YA fiction.
Director, wild-eyed and feverish: Brilliant. Brilliant. God, that's everything I wanted. It expresses the totality of it, the substance, the quintessence, if you will...
[Awkward pause while no one looks at the director.]
Marketer: So, the next time we make one of these, it's definitely not going to be about two dudes in love, right?
Producer: Absolutely not. Next up is some weird hockey thing involving the Blackhawks.

I really can't see any other way this could have gone; I thought, before I watched it, that the title was over the top, but if anything it was understated.

And know this: it was not my intention to livetweet my viewing of this thing, but I was kind of overcome. Many times. The first time during the opening credits, which was when Magic and Bird began talking about their overpowering love. And I entered some kind of state for the entire last half-hour. I lost control of my ability to punctuate, write in lower case, and, in some cases, breathe. (If you want to view my total collapse, I storified my tweets, with notes. This contains spoilers, although not any spoilers beyond "And really bad stuff happened, but LOVE TRIUMPHED," which is basically a spoiler for like 40% of fiction. And also this totally true documentary.)

If you don't want to read all the tweets, though, I can give you the gist with just two of them. Near the beginning, I said:

Hey did you know Larry Bird and Magic Johnson soulbonded at Worlds? Because I think this documentary just told me they soulbonded at Worlds.

The reason I tweeted this is that LARRY BIRD AND MAGIC JOHNSON SOULBONDED AT WORLDS. (And then Larry Bird rejected his bondmate, that dick. Though the bond endures! He comes through in the end!) The documentary essentially comes right out and says so. Like, I turned to Best Beloved and said, "I've read this story. It was Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews, but it was this exact story."

And then, towards the end, I tweeted this direct quote from the actual documentary, which is a factual type thing:

“Decades removed from the height of their rivalry, their bond endures. Two impossibly different men with a connection only they can fully grasp.”

I mean, this isn't just a love story. It's also about the rise of the NBA, and about race relations in the US, and obviously about HIV and AIDS. And it's good and informative on all those topics. But also it's about these two dudes, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who were awesome at basketball. And, oh yeah, totally soulbonded.

No matter how much I talk about this, I can't do it justice, because you have to see it to believe. Even if you don't like sports. Even if you have no idea who Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are. Even if you are a member of an alien race or an NSA employee monitoring this for exceptionally improbable national security reasons. Watch this documentary. It will astound you. (And my thanks to all the people who insisted I see this. It was even more than you promised it would be. SO MUCH MORE.)
tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)

[personal profile] tevere 2013-06-13 05:25 am (UTC)(link)
I actually don't even feel like I NEED fic, because their story is so emotionally satisfying already.

That said, I wouldn't turn down fic, should it magically appear.
ceares: cookie all grown up (Default)

[personal profile] ceares 2013-06-13 07:05 am (UTC)(link)
I'd heard about this and I love docs but never managed to catch it. Your tweets though, take it a level I did not imaging. I'm definitely going to have to put effort into seeing this now.
wildestranger: (Default)

[personal profile] wildestranger 2013-06-13 08:08 am (UTC)(link)
Um. Don't suppose you have a link to that Kane/Toews fic?
cadenzamuse: Fandom: SGA, a torso shot of John Sheppard and Rodney McKay leaning together. (boys will love boys)

[personal profile] cadenzamuse 2013-06-13 06:42 pm (UTC)(link)
I think she just made all her fic private/locked? So it's still around if you're logged in. (Trying to be helpful while honoring her desire not to make it too obviously available.)
roga: coffee mug with chocolate cubes (Default)

[personal profile] roga 2013-06-13 08:52 am (UTC)(link)
1. That looks amazing I will have to find a copy and 2. Whoa, that commercial! That is an amazing commercial. Was it ever in Yuletide? Because it should have been.
ceares: cookie all grown up (Default)

[personal profile] ceares 2013-06-13 11:11 am (UTC)(link)
The doc is on youtube if you have access. Also that commercial was definitely in YT. IIRC TFV requested it as well as a few others.
roga: coffee mug with chocolate cubes (Default)

[personal profile] roga 2013-06-13 11:17 am (UTC)(link)
Thanks you! <3
killing_rose: Raven/corvid in the frozen surf (Default)

[personal profile] killing_rose 2013-06-13 12:39 pm (UTC)(link)
Several fantasic Yuletide stories this year, yes.

It was one of the first fandoms my house hit during Yuletide. "Oh! The Nike commercial has stories!"

Everyone else: "Yay!"


[identity profile] 2013-06-13 09:24 am (UTC)(link)

Presented without comment. ;)
tevere: Jihae, solemn with hint of smile (Default)

Re: Ahem.

[personal profile] tevere 2013-06-13 09:39 am (UTC)(link)
Ahahaha, I love the fact that this exists! And the title is just the icing on the cake.
ceares: cookie all grown up (Default)

[personal profile] ceares 2013-06-13 10:54 am (UTC)(link)
okay so yeah, that was pretty amazing. I'm like the least competitive person in the world so I always take with a grain of salt the commercials and movies that play up special rivalries but I give in. And I thought hockey won the award for sport narratives that read like fanfic.

eta: for anybody that's interested it's up on youtube.
Edited 2013-06-13 10:55 (UTC)
ceares: cookie all grown up (Default)

[personal profile] ceares 2013-06-13 07:27 pm (UTC)(link)

I wonder if I will go to hell if I request Magic Johnson/Larry Bird for Yuletide.

Considering I fell asleep thinking about it, I'd say go for it!
grey_bard: (Default)

[personal profile] grey_bard 2013-06-13 11:27 am (UTC)(link)
Was this on tv recently or on Netflix? Where might I find this genius?
pineapplechild: A hockey stick with the blade wrapped in colored hockey tape to create a rainbow, lying on the ice next to a hockey puck (queer hockey player)

[personal profile] pineapplechild 2013-06-14 07:04 pm (UTC)(link)
It is on Netflix; this is where I watched it when [personal profile] mardia finally broke to watch a basketball thing. (And it was totally worth it)
reginagiraffe: Stick figure of me with long wavy hair and giraffe on shirt. (Default)

[personal profile] reginagiraffe 2013-06-13 11:56 am (UTC)(link)
Magic was just on PTI (a sports show) last week and couldn't help mentioning Larry at least two or three times (usually in the context of "Top X # of people who are good at Y").

sinensis: Poke Espera, from GK, laughing (poke espera)

[personal profile] sinensis 2013-06-13 03:25 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm just waiting for Bird's supportive quote about his soulbonded BFF's gay son's coming out. He's so famously reticent, but some journalist must be thinking they could get him to talk.

(If you haven't already seen this footage of Magic talking about how much he loves his gay kid, you'll get sniffly, fair warning: )
mardia: dani reese in closeup (Default)

[personal profile] mardia 2013-06-13 09:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Man oh man, I am SO SO GLEEFUL that you finally watched this! And holy crap, yes, they completely and totally have a soulbond that cannot be fully grasped UNTIL YOU WATCH THIS DOCUMENTARY GODDAMN.

One of my favorite bits was when they were in Barcelona together for the Olympics, and Larry was reminiscing on how Magic would always take the front doors out of a building, no matter how many journalists/fans/photographers were there. Larry, of course, with his media-allergic self, takes the side door. And Magic, laughing, said that sometimes he'd find the side door FOR Bird, but he'd never take it himself. IDEK I JUST LOVE THAT THEY'RE TOTAL OPPOSITES BUT LEARNED TO LOVE EACH OTHER ANYWAY.


Oh! I can't believe I didn't link this earlier, but okay--so Magic Johnson, in his new job as an analyst for ESPN/ABC, often gives interviews to Grantland, and here's this hilarious bit where Bill Simmons (journalist/Grantland founder/HARDCORE Boston sports fan) accuses him of "weakening" Larry Bird by befriending him. To which my reponse is, HOW DARE YOU SIMMONS. HOW. DARE. YOU.
pineapplechild: HELLO!, says the giant squid, wait why are you running away (Default)

[personal profile] pineapplechild 2013-06-14 07:06 pm (UTC)(link)
that bit about finding bird a side door is absolutely one of my favourite parts of their soulbond friendship, because it's perfect.
gumbie_cat: (holy puck)

[personal profile] gumbie_cat 2013-06-13 09:42 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm definitely intrigued by this, but I think I shall have to save it until hockey is over. I'm sure it'll make the summer pass faster.
fanofall: avatar of me (Default)

[personal profile] fanofall 2013-06-14 01:47 am (UTC)(link)
When I saw it, I cried. SOULBONDED IN REAL LIFE.
joatamon: (jackpot)

[personal profile] joatamon 2013-07-09 05:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks so much for reccing this documentary, which I watched about 90 seconds after reading this post.

Total coincidence, today I found a radio story from All Things Considered (NPR) which features interviews with both Magic and Bird - the radio piece was made after the book on which (I think) the documentary was based came out [When The Game Was Ours by Jackie MacMullan].

It's possibly even more soulbondy than the documentary? I didn't think that was possible.

Sample from the transcript:

Mr. JOHNSON: Well, I think that, you know, both Larry and I are very strong, strong-willed, strong-minded. Sometimes, that armor is weakened, and as strong as I appeared to be, I still needed a friend to just say: Hey man, just do what you got to do to be here for a long time. And thats I leaned on Larry Bird for that. We got a friendship - you dont have to talk every day, and we dont. And then when we do get together, when I see Larry and I get that pound and I get that hello, Im good, you know? It takes me through my next year or two, you know, until I see him again.
erilyn: (glee-blaine omg)

[personal profile] erilyn 2013-07-18 02:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much for recommending this, friends pointed me here and a little while back I watched both this documentary on YouTube and one marking 20 years since Magic announced his HIV status, which was amazing in a whole different way.

Just today, a friend (who also loved this documentary) brought over The Dream Team, about the US basketball team for the 1992 Olympics, and is a good watch in general (Jordan and Magic battling to be top dog!) but there is also some fantastic Magic and Larry stuff in it. I just found it on YouTube and thought you might be interested :)