Monday Night Mayhem [DVD] [Import]

Monday Night Mayhem [DVD] [Import]

Based on the book by Bill Carter and Marc Gunther, this immensely entertaining made-for-cable film tells it like it was in chronicling the golden age of <I>Monday Night Football</I>, a bold experiment in prime-time programming that transformed the pop-culture landscape. Carrying the ball for the lesser-known ensemble is John Turturro's Emmy-worthy performance as Howard Cosell, who played the role of "provocateur" in the then-revolutionary three-man booth that included in its heyday "Dandy" Don Meredith (Brad Beyer) and Frank Gifford (Kevin Anderson). John Heard gives a career-best performance as ABC producer Roone Arledge, who nurtured his brainchild and brilliantly massaged the egos of his stars. His prickly, more complex relationship with Cosell is the heart of this film. Rich with incident, <I>Monday Night Mayhem</I> spans from Muhammad Ali's controversial anti-Vietnam War stance and the blood-soaked 1972 Munich Olympics to John Lennon's death, which Cosell announced to a shocked nation. Also comic and compelling is the behind-the-scenes in-fighting and the colorful backstage characters. This film will score even with viewers who preferred watching <I>Mayberry RFD</I> on those Monday nights long ago. <I>--Donald Liebenson</I>