Paul W. Smith: Movies bring Detroit stories back to life

Paul W. Smith
The start of the 1966 24 Hour of Le Mans. Having waved the starting flag, Henry Ford II (second from right in khaki pants and jacket) hustles across the track while the drivers spring to their cars. The Ford GT40's dominated qualifying with Dan Gurney on pole (#3) and Ken Miles second (#1). The fastest Ferrari started fifth.

“Outta’ my mind on a Monday moanin’”

I don’t recall there ever being a moment like this past weekend, when not one but two movies with deep Detroit roots were released at the same time.

I have not yet seen either one, but I will as soon as I can.

First up is the fascinating and I hear very good “Ford v Ferrari,” a true story that played out before our very eyes, with some real life participants still among us.

Hard to go wrong with the facts of a potential buyer scorned, Henry Ford II, who is used to getting his way, and the ever-colorful Lee Iacocca, who I can still see sitting in booth 1 at The London Chop House in downtown Detroit. Along with these bigger-than-life characters come the immense talents of Matt Damon, Christian Bale and a very good supporting cast, all working together to bring this historic story (back) to life.

Lasting a full hour longer than “Ford v Ferrari,” “The Irishman” has also gotten rave reviews, getting a solid “A” from Detroit News film critic Adam Graham.

More:Review: Scorsese's 'The Irishman' a masterful reflection on a life of crime

Martin Scorsese might have been able to pull this off with lesser actors, but what a shame it would be without the immense talents of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Ray Romano and others. Young and old.

Joe Pesci, left, and Robert De Niro in a scene from "The Irishman."

Again, this is a story with larger-than-life characters on the screen, who not that long ago actually walked our streets.

Most notably, of course, Jimmy Hoffa.

Here we find a perfect example of a film, based on a "true" story, getting excellent reviews as a Movie, and not so much, as a history lesson.

Still, I hear, two great “local” films.

A great break from the Washington Drama.

Paul W. Smith is the host of "The Paul W. Smith Show" on WJR-AM (760) from 5:30-9 a.m. Monday-Friday