Joe and Max
Better Than The Average Fare
By Laurence Washington
Made for TV movies usually aren't on my list of recommend movie fare. They're usually boring, lame, and appeal to couch potatoes desperately casting about for something to watch on a mundane Sunday evening.
Enter the exception, Joe and Max, the untold story of the relationship between legendary boxers "The Brown Bomber" Joe Louis and "The Black Ulan of the Rhine," Max Schmeling. And it's not so much that Joe and Max has exceptional boxing sequences, because it doesn't. Sorry, it's not Rocky.
The filmmakers use boxing only as a backdrop and window dressing. The exciting thing about Joe and Max is its drama and humanity.
It might come somewhat of a surprise or shock to fans with a just passing fancy in boxing, that Joe Louis and Max Schmeling were actually lifelong friends.
Both boxers were pawns, manipulated by their governments and the press because of the building tensions between the U.S. and Nazi Germany during the late 1930s. White American's dismissed Louis because his was Black, and then conveniently embraced him because Schmeling, incorrectly, was labeled a Nazi.
Fact of the matter is, both men just wanted to be the World's Heavy Weight Champion, and had no interest in their country's politics.
Joe and Max carefully maps the rise, fall, and rise again of both men and how they forged a lifelong friendship because they could identify with each other's situation. It's really an excellent eye-opening movie.
Joe and Max premieres 8 p.m. ET/PT on STARZ March 9, 2002.
2002 Encore performances: Eastern/Pacific Standard Time (Cable)
March 9, 8 p.m.
March 10, 4 a.m./2:05 p.m.
March 14, 9:30 a.m./8 p.m.
March 18, 6 p.m.
March 22,8:30 a.m.
March 23,12:05 a.m.
March 26,1:35 a.m./10 p.m.