By Rory L. Aronsky | April 12, 2005

The complaints are all too common. Movies do this to kids, movies do that to kids, movies influence kids in this way, movies will cause kids to start smoking. Stick this in your favorite orifice and smoke it. Movies do other things too, especially in “One Strong Arm”, new from Loren Mendell and Tiller Russell that shows them fast becoming the kings of the independent sports documentary.

At 18 months old, Cody was stricken with a brain tumor, which was swiftly removed, but a paralyzing stroke struck him soon after, and his right side became useless. It was thought that he would never recover from this, but Cody did to a certain extent and tried out many sports in the hopes of finding one that would suit him. You wanna talk about movies influencing kids and teens? Try this. Later on in his life, Cody watched the Sylvester Stallone film, “Over the Top” and decided that he wanted to try arm-wrestling. Soon enough, he’s entered a tournament and the real suspense begins.

Sure movies influence many people, but this is a story that’s the antithesis to all those who continue the “movies are bad for young ‘uns” fight. And not only that, but it’s a darn fine story on its own, showing quite an admirable young man who I wouldn’t be surprised about if he decided to pursue arm-wrestling for the rest of his life. “One Strong Arm” shows that he’s already good at it, and it also shows that Mendell and Russell are very good at what they do, so much so that someone should pick up their documentaries for wider distribution. Strange that it hasn’t happened yet.

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