Matthew Lickona 1 p.m., March 7
The Trials of Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali had no problem beating people up on the white man’s dime or acting as celebrity spokesperson for the organized hate group, the Nation of Islam. Shot down by one critic as “a disgrace to his country, race, and what he laughingly describes as his profession,” in 1967 the World Heavyweight champ declined the draft board’s invitation to kill Vietnamese in the name of peace only to “come back home where I’m still a nigger.” This is not your typical boxing doc. Trials focuses on the five-year period over which Ali fought to overturn his wrongful conviction for draft dodging. Told in talking-head testimonials from the survivors (brother Rahaman Ali, former member of Ali’s management team, Gordon B. Davidson, Louis Farrakhan) and extremely rare file footage, director Bill Siegel (The Weather Underground) once again assembles a PBS documentary that’s so good it warrants a theatrical layover before holding its small screen premier.
— Scott Marks