You Should Watch This: Cocaine Cowboys, Malice at the Palace, Delorean, and Obama


Anytime Billy Corben has a new project out, you know that it is going to be good. The director behind The U, Broke and two other Cocaine Cowboys documentaries ran it back to the Cocaine 80s for his newest work. This time Corben focuses on the Kings of Miami, Wily Falcon, and Sal Malguta.

While you would think the story of the rise and fall of drug kingpins would be stale by now, this story is just too good to turn away from. The Netflix series gets 6 rich episodes that dive into the dynamic duo’s unlikely rise to the top of the cocaine game, making for an easy binge watch over a couple of days.


The Malice at the Palace is arguably the most infamous sporting moment of my lifetime. The chaos that ensued at the end of that Pacers-Pistons game had a long-lasting impact on the NBA and fan’s relationships with players. Untold does a really good job of laying the resentment of black athletes bare and the effects that it had on the players involved. I came away feeling particularly terrible for former All-Star Jermaine O’Neal, who was coming into his own as a top player in this league and a leader when things went down. Hearing O’Neal, Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Reggie Miller, and Donnie Walsh discuss these events really changed the way I looked at that particular Pacers team, which in hindsight, probably should’ve made back-to-back Finals and won at least one title. The doc is a little over 90 minutes but could’ve easily been stretched into a part two.


If you only knew of the Delorean because of its appearances in the Back to the Future films, you would not be alone. Compared to other 80s cars, the Delorean looked like a revolutionary machine and it could have upended the auto industry if founder John Delorean found a way to deliver on his many promises. It was hard to ignore the parallel between the DeLorean we meet in the documentary and Elon Musk’s Tesla, but the comparison falls apart for the former after some ridiculously bad luck and risky decisions to save the company wind up killing it instead. This isn’t just a look at the company’s foibles, however; the series attempts to get into Delorean’s head and help us understand his motivations. In the end, he’s either a con man, a visionary, or something in between. Any way you cut it, this was definitely worth a quick binge.


In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union follows the former president’s journey from Hawaii to the White House and the internal struggles that he had to wrestle with during his meteoric rise to power. It was interesting to learn more about Obama’s identity hangups due to his biracial status which made him an outsider who has to politely finesse his way into these different spaces to make a name for himself. He’s mentioned it time and time again in speeches over the years, but seeing it in a documentary gives it a sort of life that his speeches (as good as they were) never really could for me.

I normally do not like documentaries that focus on recent characters or events but watching this 3 episode series made me realize just how much I missed from his first election. I also applaud Director Peter Kunhardt for having Dr. Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson, two of his most consistent critics from the left, to have a place in this documentary.

The series presents this interesting dichotomy between Obama, who has to make peace with his blackness on his way to reaching the immense heights that he did, and America, which to this day has yet to truly reconcile with its racist history and finds itself stagnant and on the brink of tearing itself apart every other day. One of the promises of Obama’s election was that he could move the country towards its post-racial future, but that never came. This documentary, with its episodes ranging from 96-110 minutes, does a really good job of examining the difficulty of making that happen, though it certainly could have gone deeper.