Being Evel.

Saw this documentary yesterday – pretty interesting, actually. It’s a look back at the life of Evel Knievel, hosted in part by Johnny Knoxville, several of Evel’s contemporaries, and sports broadcasters like Frank Gifford (RIP), Jim McKay and other ABC Wide World of Sports luminaries. Weirdly, Geraldo is in there too.

As a kid in the 70’s, we all knew about Evel – hard to not know about him. And i’m halfway sure I had one of those Ideal Stunt Cycle toys they show (or had friends who had one – I definitely remember the commercials). I also remembered that EK had spent a bit of time in jail, but didn’t know the details until seeing this movie (pretty scary, actually).

I was also very vague on the whole Snake River rocket jump attempt in ’74, but they sure go into a lot of detail here – sounds like a scary event for a lot of reasons, most of them not positive (for attendees as well as EK). As the story progresses from around that point and beyond, his decline and excesses get hard to watch, and in a couple of key areas, hard to forgive.

While I’m not ready to lionize him quite the way that Johnny Knoxville, Tony Hawk and others seen here do – you can’t argue with his influence on their (and similar) careers, and the industries they spawned (extreme sports, X-Games, etc.).

And I definitely *will* say, that he’s a true American Icon, for better or worse (to the filmmakers’ credit, they cover both) – and yet another example of being true to your dreams.


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