MICHAEL J. FOX - Never Standing Still
This is a tough one to watch. As a movie addict ever since a 1963 Saturday morning showing of Atlantis: The Lost Continent, cinema (and TV) have held a fascination for Yours truly. Also, worked in the industry for 35 years in New York and California. Well aware of the rapid rising star of Michael J. Fox from Family Ties to Back to the Future to Bright Lights, Big City.
Then the flame-out. Greedy, For Love or Money, Life with Mikey. Even The Frighteners, a cult classic pointed to a descent, and a quick one at that.
Turns out the Canadian uber-talent contracted Parkinson's Disease at a very young age. Doc Hollywood, a good, not great comedy, introduced him to the ailment. He hid it for a decade.
This review, though, is not of the life of Michael J. Fox. There is not much, to paraphrase Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting, "That couldn't be learned by spending $1.75 on overdue library books." His deterioration, preceded by an admission to the public in the early 2000s, and the stalwartness of his wife, Tracey Pollan, are all available to the interested. His struggles during The Good Wife, and Boston Legal are detailed in any Google search.
Want to take issue with the production of Still: A Michael J. Fox film.
The 94 minute film is an exercise in frustration. The filmmaker, Dennis Guggenheim, decided not to use the time stamp. Instead he got clever and inserted film and TV clips of Mister Fox to serve as a trail of video breadcrumbs to let the viewer know where we were chronologically. As stated, this writer is addicted to watching television and film. Placing anyone in the mid-80s because a DeLorean is racing through a mall parking lot is fine for most. Showing Fox behind a concierge desk, multi-tasking doesn't say 1993 to anyone. Even those who might have seen For Love or Money.
No one knows what year he came clean with the public. There's an appearance on Letterman; an interview with Barbara Walters; and a press conference on the set of Spin City. When were those? Does anyone know? Dennis Guggenheim does, as does Michael J. Fox.
But the viewer does not.
Do not pity Michael J. Fox. He says it, and means it, several times during the painful interviews with the director. He remains undaunted. Inspiring.
Pity Dennis Guggenheim, who shot and directed documentary gold and spun it into uninformative straw.