’30 for 30′ – ‘Marion Jones: Press Pause’: Not the crime, but the cover-up

Senior Television Writer
11.02.10 18 Comments

A review of tonight’s “30 for 30” film, “Marion Jones: Press Pause,” coming up just as soon as my cellmate decides to try me…

In the lead-up to the “30 for 30” doc on Allen Iverson, some readers wondered whether it was going to be a 90-minute blind defense of Iverson’s role in the infamous bowling alley brawl. It wasn’t. Though Steve James was obviously sympathetic to Iverson, the final film was very much a warts-and-all portrait.

“Marion Jones: Press Pause,” on the other hand, was very much in the tank for its subject. John Singleton focused on the “the cover-up is worse than the crime” aspect of her story, all but glossing over her actual steroid use, why she tried it, why many consider it cheating, etc. (Edwin Moses was the only talking head to really condemn the steroid use itself, and even he got tangled up in a weird drunk-driving analogy.)

The film was oddly structured, with the actual story seemingly over halfway through, and the latter half devoted largely to an infomercial for Marion Jones, inspirational speaker and Marion Jones, WNBA bench player.

It’s fine for a documentary to have a point of view, as most of the best films of this series have had. But the key is to not let your point of view completely overwhem the story. “The U” was very much a pro-Miami film, but Billy Corben didn’t shy away from the bad things that the program and its players did. Here, any anti-Jones talking head was preceded by three or four pro-Jones opinions.

Definitely one of the weakest films of the series, but the good news is that next week’s two-hour film on Marcus Dupree is one of the best.

What did everybody else think?

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