Running for His Life: The Lawrence Phillips Story

2016

Documentary

0
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 150

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 16, 2020 at 02:47 AM

Director

Cast

Jeffrey Wright as Narrator
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
808.95 MB
1280*714
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 28 min
P/S 1 / 8
1.62 GB
1920*1072
English 5.1
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 28 min
P/S 3 / 5

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by AlsExGal 8 / 10

A great and possibly unavoidable tragedy

This is not your typical NFL tale of "too much too soon". Instead it is a story of a man whom from childhood was probably doomed to end up a criminal. If he hadn't been a famous college and NFL running back, he would probably be languishing in a prison somewhere, nameless to the rest of the world.

Lawrence Phillip's dad abandoned his family in Arkansas as a child. His mother took the family to California looking for a better life. Instead Lawrence would up in a crime infested area of 1980's LA run by the Bloods and Crips outside his home, and his mother consorting with a parade of violent men inside the home. He ran away during the 5th grade - basically skipping the whole grade and hanging out and crashing with friends - and not attending school so that his mother could not take him back to the home he feared.

In high school Phillips found his niche - football - and found a kindly mentor and friend in the coach. Standardized tests measured him as gifted, and his gifts on the field got him into the University of Nebraska, where he was within inches of winning the Heismann trophy when a violent incident with a girlfriend who he thought was cheating on him cost him that prize.

In the NFL his problems continued as he bounced from team to team. He developed an alcohol problem to deal with his inner demons, continued to have problems with women, and then a particularly violent incident in California led to Phillips being sentenced to 31 years in prison.

Inside the prison, Phillips made possibly a fatal decision - he decided to not join a prison gang. In spite of his effort to keep his head down and just work on his appeal, hoping for an early release, he wound up with a cell mate who was a gang member doing 82 years. According to Phillips, his cell mate attacked him, and when Phillips defended himself the cell mate was badly injured and died three days later of his injuries. What does the D.A. do? Ask why a gang member is put in the cell of a person marked for death by that same gang? Nope. She decides to charge Phillips with murder and seek the death penalty.

The documentary makes the unchallenged statement that the gangs run the prison Phillips was in, not the correctional officers. The gangs running the prison and bribing the not well paid correctional officers would account for the placement of the gang member in Phillips' cell. Phillips being a one-time NFL star would account for the DA thinking she could make a name for herself by flatly dismissing Phillips' account of what happened when he had always taken responsibility for what happened outside of jail. And Phillips taking his own life and nobody doing anything until it was too late could again be accounted for by the gangs running the prison - and that includes the "see no evil hear no evil" behavior of the guards and the inmates in the cell block where Phillips killed himself.

Are there lots of people with Lawrence Phillips' story of childhood hardship that never harm a fly? Sure there are. But this documentary makes the case for an explanation, not excuses. It seems being completely unwanted by his mother may have been at the root of his mistrust and ultimate violence with the women in his life, that the constant fear he lived in as a child may have left him with crippling PTSD that he didn't even understand, and his NFL stardom set him up for making him an example whenever he got in trouble - and he DID do some things that could have gotten people killed.

I'm no bleeding heart, but the next time I tell somebody to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, I think I'll look at their feet and see if they have boots in the first place.

Reviewed by Eric266 7 / 10

Interesting Look at a Trouble Human Being

I remember watching Phillips in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl run wild over the Gators. I am from Florida and remember well Nebraska playing Florida teams three straight years for the National Title. He was a beast. I thought, like most people, he would be an amazing NFL talent. As the documentary shows, he could run away from linebackers and defensive backs, but he could not run from his past.

Its that mindset that always bothers me. Not every abused child grows up to be a monster. Not all people who become monsters were abused. There is a certain level of responsibility that NO ONE in this documentary seems to accept. Phillips had a terrible childhood filled with abandonment, abuse, and loss. But he made his own decisions and failed to control his anger. None of his friends, coaches, relatives seemed to accept his issues and/or try to do anything about them. They just kept saying what a sweet, kind, smiling kid he was as a youngster. The documentary kept showing over and over the same 3 or 4 pictures of Phillips with a wide grin on his face. As if that excuses them using him for his talent or his celebrity and not stopping his mad crash. I understand its not their job to try and control his demons, but good lord, Tom Osborne basically sold his soul to get Phillips on the field for the Fiesta Bowl. Much like today's sporting climate, it was only after the media started publishing the photos and the stories did Osborne finally convince Phillips to declare for the draft.

The documentary, despite its bleeding heart leanings, is well done. The interviews and timeline are top-notch. Ross Greenburg did an exceptional job of weaving all these folks, (except for the girlfriend Phillips dragged down three flights of stairs by her hair who refused to take part), was impressive. You could see these people cared about Phillips, but he was a raging river and they were just the rocks he slammed into and around, like so many defensive backs. Greenburg did an outstanding job of getting these folks to open up about their own torment of being part of Phillips' life. My opinion of Phillips didn't change after seeing the film, but my empathy for those who he affected has. The film does a marvelous job of showing you a timeline of how Phillips got to where he ended up with the interviewees providing the narrative.

I just wish the folks would have opened up more about Phillips' dark side. In order to get the full measure of a man, you can't just discuss his positive side. He had a great smile? Was he smiling when he choked his girlfriend into unconsciousness? He ate dinner at your home at your table with your teenage son? Great. Was he being a great role model for teenagers when he tried to run them down after a pickup football game? They all wanted to discuss his good side, but clammed up about his darker impulses (except for his last girlfriend whose assault ultimately sent him to jail). She was brutally honest and you could tell it still pained her. She loved the man, but was helpless to understand him.

All in all, its a well done documentary. It fell short on being the full measure of the man due to the reason stated above. Still, I have a little more insight into a human being and an athlete who seemed to have it all, but couldn't outrun the ghosts still chasing him it. May he have found peace in death that eluded him in life.

Reviewed by helenahandbasket-93734 8 / 10

Maddening and heartbreaking

Yes, he was given many opportunities to get his act together, and many more than a 'normal' person would have been given. However, when you pluck a child with such a troubled upbringing with little/no role models to shape his young life, there needs to be a better system in place to assist these young people in becoming more productive outside of the scope of their talents.

We've come a long way in regard to mental health issues, but what might have been in Lawrence's all too young life is now gone forever. It's a constant strain that we, as a society, need to begin to address sooner rather than later.

Imagine his life with some inpatient rehab and sincere counseling to affect his brain and correct the faulty wiring in his brain after what most knew was a horrible tragedy waiting to happen when he assaulted Kate McEwen? I know Coach Osbourne struggles mightily with his decisions at the time, but given the people within the Huskers organization and what we knew then, I'm not sure much would have been done differently.

This shining star of a young man was extinguished far too soon, and watching the far too smug and conceited attorney who prosecuted him regarding the murder of his cell mate only reiterates my belief that once a man is behind bars, his life is viewed as 'less than' and tossed in the shredder. Perhaps he did murder his cell mate, perhaps not, but what this young man needed in his life was a little compassion, a little empathy, and a little psychiatric assistance.

What led him to this cold, dark place was many mistakes with little assistance to get him the help he truly needed to be free of the past that seemed hell-bent on destruction.

Prison reforms are a great place to start, increasing counseling opportunities when these tendencies first arise, and close monitoring prior to escalation that was and still is clearly evident in our everyday lives. We pay college coaches in most states better than we do our governing bodies, and while STEM programs have been pushed ad nauseum, what we need is more focus on a strained-to-the-point-of-breaking mental healthcare professionals.

Throwing fistfuls of money at our issues is a hubris that's led to our own undoing- perhaps now, we should be looking for REAL solutions to repair what can only be described as a cataclysmic failure to ensure the least of us have a chance at not only surviving, but thriving.

Lawrence Phillips is a cautionary tale for anyone paying attention that, unless we begin working together to ensure those with mental health struggles can receive the help they so desperately need, we shall be left with more sorrowful and heartbreaking tales of watching them fall through the cavernous cracks that await them, and take our society down in the process.

It's worth noting that I view myself as right-of-center, and truly believe the death penalty should be abolished. We've seen far too many innocent men completely exonerated to ever be comfortable with executing another life.

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