THE PLOT THUS FAR
In the late ’80s, the masses fixated on a single, sociopathic star. Morton Downey Jr. tore apart the traditional talk format by turning debate of current issues into a gladiator pit.
His blow-smoke-in-your-face style drew a rabid cult following, but also the title “Father of Trash Television.”
WHAT WE THOUGHT
Morton Downey, Jr. helped lead the way to trash journalism, even if his show appears obvious and amateurish compared to the slick format and presentation we see today. But a figure like Bill O’Reilly, in particular, owes a tremendous debt to Downey’s confrontational, damn-the-torpedoes style of doing “news” and interviews. At the same time trash-talk-show hosts like Jerry Springer and Maury Povich also partly owe their style of crazed three-ring-circuses to Mort. Even the Reverend Al Sharpton, perpetual African-American leader and professional racial ambulance-chaser, owes a debt to Mort, appearing on his show frequently during its short run.
The documentary itself has a bizarre, strange tone to it, critical of Downey, who was a polarizing figure, but not entirely hateful or against him. At points, it’s view is like I mentioned, critical, but at others it’s almost pitying, sympathetic, with interesting animated segments scattered throughout. I suppose the pity sensation was the one I felt the most after the piece ended, he was a man who struggled with many parts of himself but also did make something strong.
The DVD comes with featurettes, trailer and a commentary. The A/V Quality is pretty strong for a standard definition documentary. The Dolby 5.1 track drops background dialogue at times. Still, it works for what it is. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!