I’ve seen Episodes #1 and #5 of Ezra Edelman‘s obviously first-rate O.J.: Made in America. So far it feels like one of the most brilliantly crafted murder-mysteries ever made (doc, narrative, whatever) and one of the most penetrating explorations of our late 20th century racial dichotomy, ever. And a psychodrama about a self-destructive Othello complex second to none. 8:45 pm update: I’ve seen it all; watched episode #5 a second time. What a sprawling epic tragedy…wow.
The man was guiltier than sin itself, the blood evidence alone proving it dozens of times over, and at the end of the day the jury said “nope, the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman are not what really concern us — what matters is the importance of pushing back against decades of racist brutality by the L.A. police department by symbolically freeing a brother, even if that brother was a super-egotist who never really self-identified as ‘a black guy’ and was in fact ‘a Brentwood white guy’ through and through.”
This morning I decided to marathon through episodes #2, #3 and #4. I’m watching #2 now, and more particularly the section covering the ’92 L.A. riots. I was there. Actually, I wasn’t — I was mostly huddling in my West Hollywood home — but I remember the faint but distinct aroma of burnt wood and rubber, and how empty the nearby streets were after a dusk-to-dawn curfew order, which was in effect for at least one night. (More?) On one of the curfew nights I met with Entertainment Weekly‘s then-editor Barbara O’Dair on a hotel patio near Sunset Blvd.
A few days later I was filing a story from Cannes about a highly-charged conversation I’d had with director Spike Lee. I had shown Lee a quote from Mickey Rourke that basically laid the blame for the L.A. riots on Lee and John Singleton for having incited the conversation, or something along those lines. Lee flipped out — here are his remarks.
The morning after the 6.12.94 murders I was out in Burbank. Around 10:30 or 11 am I was interviewing stunt coordinator Allan Graf, who was then working on Wild Bill, the Jeff Bridges movie that opened and bombed on 12.1.95. I hadn’t heard about the killings. Graf (the stocky guy who was thrown off Peter Fonda‘s balcony by Terrence Stamp in The Limey) was the first to tell me. Or maybe it was the unit publicist.