The phenomenal financial success of 'The Hangover Part II' -- not even counting Memorial Day, it grossed more than any other live-action comedy ever did over a single weekend ($85.9 million) -- has generated more favorable publicity for the series' signature bit player, Mike Tyson (who of course also inspired Ed Helms' facial tattoo). Even "CBS Sunday Morning" last weekend showcased Bill Whitaker's interview with Tyson (see clip above) about his determination to be a proper family man, his devotion to homing pigeons (the subject of his spring "Animal Planet" show, "Taking on Tyson"), and his distance from his previous true love, boxing.
Let's hope that this attention finally draws viewers to James Toback's extraordinary 2008 documentary, "Tyson." Both raw and sophisticated, it's a staggering movie. At the time of its release I wrote, "[Tyson] empties his heart and mind to Toback's camera, still reveling in his victories while trying to explain his self-destructive character. What emerges is a fallen warrior's tale: the inside story of a man bloodied and bowed. This movie isn't an account of redemption. Instead, this movie is Tyson's redemption. Explaining his triumphs as well as his wretched excesses, he brings the audience the only gift he has left: the ability to help us understand what it's like to live on the edge of an abyss - and sometimes deep inside it."
Maybe if Sony Pictures Classics had released "Tyson" after "The Hangover," it might have drawn more of an audience. If the latter-day Iron Mike intrigues just a fraction of the series' fans enough to seek out "Tyson," they'll be rewarded with a great experience -- harrowing and cathartic. And "Tyson" will at last get part of the audience it deserves.