Friday 18 Apr

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

No Holds Barred

RLJ Entertainment's new Blu-ray for No Holds Barred begins with what seems like dozens of trailers for movies starring pro wrestlers from the WWE talent pool. Each flick went direct to home video, but once upon a time — aka 1989 — one had to go to the multiplex to catch such a spectacle.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Knights of Badassdom

In 2008, the third act of the guy comedy Role Models used LARPing — live-action role-playing, that is — as a backdrop for our protagonists' lessons learned. Today, Knights of Badassdom extends that half-hour into a full feature, to the point where viewers are left not smiling, but exhausted. 
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Switched on

Not everything on television has to appeal to mass audiences. In fact, with the further fractioning of viewership thanks to alternatives like Netflix and VOD, more series can afford to become more niche. Here are five examples of shows both past and present — and new to DVD and/or Blu-ray — that encompass some of the more outrageous ideas ever to go beyond boardroom discussion.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0

Confession of Murder

Seventeen years after slaying 10 women and getting away with it, the charismatic serial killer Du-sok (Park Si-hoo) comes clean with a Confession of Murder, in this 2012 South Korean crime thriller. He does so by publishing a book that dishes all the grisly details.
04/02/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Documentary · Once I Was a Champion

Once I Was a Champion

Like a real-life ‘The Wrestler.’

Rod Lott August 26th, 2011

Mixed-martial-arts fighter Evan Tanner once told the camera that in his life, “the best is yet to come.” It didn't. Three years ago, at the age of 37, he was discovered dead in the San Diego desert. To this day, friends and family debate whether it was a suicide, and the documentary “Once I Was a Champion” takes a look at his brief life, extraordinary career and tortured soul.


He was, as director Gerard Roxburgh’s film makes clear over and over, a man of ironies. He’d preach kindness for fellow man, but beat crap out of other people for a living. He became a world champion in his field, yet wanted to become a monk. He found the roundly derided ice-skating movie “The Cutting Edge” to be brilliant, but liked to kick back with a leather-bound edition of “Moby-Dick.” He was a smart guy who made some stupid decisions.

You don’t have to know Tanner’s name, much less even care about the sport of MMA, to enjoy “Champion,” because complicated men and woman make for compelling material, especially those taken before their time. As we learn, Tanner may have sped that process along, downing tequila "like it was Gatorade,” making the inevitable all the more tragic.

“Once I Was a Champion” is currently making the festival rounds. Look out for it. Even non-sports fans like me can appreciate its enigmatic subject and tragic story well-told. —Rod Lott

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5


08.27.2011 at 01:08 Reply

This looks really, REALLY good. Will you let us know when (if?)  it comes out on dvd??


12.20.2012 at 01:54 Reply

Judging by the previews of this film, it is going to be awesome. Evan was such a polarizing figure, a gutsy, hard working, talented fighter and a wonderfuly helpful person