Friday, August 18, 2023

Untold: Johnny Football (2023)


A look at the college football legend and NFL flameout Johnny Manziel, aka Johnny Football. Its a warts and all look at the young man who won the world and then lost it. It’s a damning look not only at Manziel but also of  college football and the people we put on a pedestal. 

I'm kind of shocked that Manziel is pushing this because he comes off as still being an asshole. Sure he was a great player, but he leaned into the rowdy life unapologetically and then choked when he chaffed at having to be a good guy in the spotlight. He won everything he wanted and found he wanted no part of it because everyone was going to tell him was an asshole for behaving like the unsupervised manchild he was (and may still be). You feel bad for him on some level but at the same time its hard to feel for a guy who had the American dream and pissed it away because he was, in the words of his father, never held to be accountable.

Nice thought dad, buy why didn’t you ever stop him when you were in charge of him? Seriously you had him during the first 18 years of his life, so why did you let him become so a bad guy? Why didn't you or anyone else step in?

Oh, yea football. Football forgives everything.

If you want to know why we are a mess as country and species it’s the glorification of bad behavior like this. 

Most troubling thing about the film is it doesn’t suggest that we are supposed to think anything different of Manziel now. There is no redemption, I mean there is no indication he changed..  There is nothing other than a guy who says he changed reveling in his bad behavior for over an hour.  The film is literally Manziel being an asshole for 65 minutes and in the final five we get him heading home broken and then saying I'm not that guy. Okay- but who are you.  Who are you now?

We have no clue. We have no idea what he's doing other than a stray comment from one of the women in his life saying he isn't doing anything. We don’t know if he’s married, or what he does for a living, he just is (and isn’t that guy).

Honestly I enjoyed watching the story but the lack of a conclusion other than “I’m not that guy” makes the film unsatisfying. I could have taken him being unapologetic but the ending here makes no sense because it doesn’t  end, it just stops and doesn't explain why the filmmakers are telling us this story. 

Worth a look but you’ll not really have your mind changed

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