MPAA Rated – Unrated
It’s 1:35 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Ed Koch, and others.
MPAA Rated: Not Rated
Released By: Zeitgeist Films
Released On: August 27, 2013
Kiddie Movie: They’d be bored unless they want to be Mayor someday.
Date Movie: Only if she likes documentaries.
Gratuitous Sex: Nothing gratuitious, but there is discussion about the AIDS epidemic.
Gratuitous Violence: Nah.
Action: Nah.
Laughs: Some of the commentary.
Memorable Scene: For whaterver reason I like when Ed Koch is driving through Times Square and say…
Memorable Quote: “I’ve never been to a Red Lobster.”
Directed By: Neil Barsky

Released August 27th on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Playstation, Xbox, YouTube, Google, Cable VOD, and DVD

Love him or hate him, Ed Koch left a legacy in New York that changed much of how some things were done in the city, and of course, left many questions as to just how much he played the corruption game to maintain power. The documentary “Koch” doesn’t give a ton of answers to questions about the man, but it does give a fairly balanced look at the good he accomplished, as well as not shy away from the scandal and seeming “old-school” attitude that plagued what could have been a man everyone could love.

The documentary begins showing Ed Koch in his early days, more liberal in his attitude, and we can begin to see the shift to more of a mix of business than liberalism, although it would seem if helping people could make a buck, and keep people loving him, he was all for it. There are a ton of clips of life back in New York City in the 70’s to the late 80’s, helping to show how he kept working the system, as he says “It’s theatrics. Everyone has a role.” And he seemed to know what his role was even to his death in February of 2013, throwing his support and endorsements to whomever he seemed to like, much to the dismay of some of them.

If there is anything about Ed Koch it is that the man didn’t hold back an opinion, even if it seemed to cross a line or two, and the documentary doesn’t sugarcoat his opinion. A great example of this is during a family gathering we hear him talking about the proposed mosque to be built near the site of the World Trade Center attacks. He’s got his opinion, and you’re not likely to change it, even with some seeming rational comparisons.

There are some nice moments in the film, showing a side where even setting up his gravesite we see a form a narcissism, but I suppose for the role that was needed in New York City when he took over, that narcissism was necessary to get things done. We see instances where he appears racist, sexist, and homophobic, but as one man explained in the movie, “He’s not a racist; He’s an opportunist, and that’s worse than being racist.” I don’t know about it being worse, but the documentary did show that he was able to shift a view on a dime if it seemed like it would keep him in power. And liked.

There are things I forgot about Ed Koch, and not being from New York City he’s not as an iconic figure in my life as a Mayor Daley in Chicago. They both have their faults, but if there is one thing true to both of them it is that they love their City with all of their soul.

You almost feel bad when, while watching the documentary, the corruption scandals hit, because you want to believe he had nothing to do with them, and those around him tarnished any good he accomplished. Such is politics, though, and I think Ed Koch knew this. What he did know, or at least wanted to make sure people knew, is that he loved New York City, loved its people (I’m guessing at least most of them), and loved the United States. How do I know this? Because he wrote it on his tombstone.

I balanced look at Ed Koch is how I would portray “Koch,” and I didn’t really fade as I was watching it, especially as it took me back to those late 70’s and 80’s, and vaguely remembering stories of a mayor that rode the subway. It’s 4 stars out of 5 for “Koch.” If you want a fair look at the man, it’s probably worth the hour and a half of your time.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!