TrustMovies, who does not follow sports, knew little-to-nothing about Steve Gleason, the ex-football star and now victim of ALS whose main goals in life over the past decade or so have been becoming the best father he can to his son (born soon after his initial ALS diagnosis) and calling the world's attention to this horribly debilitating and eventually fatal disease. From the new and eponymously titled documentary, GLEASON, it would seem he has succeeded at both -- at the former about as well as any dad with this disease could possibly do it, the latter surprisingly well -- as the much lauded and much criticized 2015 dump-a-bucket-of-ice-water-over-your-head fund-raising campaign certainly proved, in both capturing attention to ALS and fund-raising for it.
Clay Tweel (shown at right, who earlier gave us a dear little doc about up-and-coming magicians called Make Believe) has a treasure trove of video already prepared and which he uses quite well, along with his own footage, to bring this inspirational, if horrifying, story to life.
I Am Breathing, it detailed the struggle, the strength and the loss in only 73 minutes (Gleason lasts around 40 minutes longer) and was even more artful and thoughtful, to boot. But it did not have an ex-sports star at its center, so almost nobody went to see it. A shame. But that's our civilization. And at least Steve Gleason's fame has helped draw more attention to an ugly, debilitating disease.
Amazon Studios via Open Road Films and running a very long 112 minutes, Gleason opened theatrically yesterday in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and New Orleans, and will hit theaters across the country in the weeks to come. You can click here to view all currently scheduled playdates, with cities and theaters listed.