“This film will explore the rise of comedian icon Lucille Ball, her relationship with Desi Arnaz, and how their groundbreaking sitcom I Love Lucy forever changed Hollywood, cementing her legacy long after her death in 1989.

Director: Amy Phoeler
Writer: Mark Monroe
Release Date: March 4, 2022

I am a sucker for documentaries about the movies. It is who I am. Lucy And Desi (2022) on Amazon Prime is the exact thing that I enjoy. Released as a follow-up to Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar nominated Being The Ricardos (2021), this documentary directed by comedy-icon herself Amy Phoeler takes a deeper look at the entire lives of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, exploring their highs, lows and ultimate respect for one another.

After watching Being The Ricardos, I had a tickling need to explore more about these two individuals, and this documentary filled that knowledge void I had wonderfully. It gave a ton of context to how big they were compared to the rest of the industry, and the fact that they built up their own production company and created careers after the fact is enlightening.

Heading into this brief binge of Luci and Desi, I knew about the big-time red head, but I did not know much about her partner. Desi Arnaz was a monster with everything he did, and I personally connect with him on the way he works and how he finds ways to make himself busy all the time. Desi went from an entertainer, to an actor, to a producer, to the titan studio runner many remember he has. Where I really resonate with him is the need to do something creative; when he got too deep in the weeds of the business, he lost control of himself and who he was. He went into bad habits, and those were too deep to dig out of.

Desi was heaping of praise on Luci, and I nearly burst into tears when a letter of his was read near the end of the documentary at a recognition ceremony for Ball. When it was read out loud that I Love Lucy wasn’t just the name of the show, then I almost lost it. Add onto that all the selflessness he did to put Ball at the forefront of everything the show did. It was nice to see that this documentary reinforced what Sorkin wrote in his script about Desi going to bat for Ball when she nearly had her career ended for being accused as a communist.

Coming out of Lucy And Desi, it think it is safe to compare Lucille Ball and her physical comedy to Chris Farley. Flying through tables, throwing their bodies around and always being the center of the room. Everyone who has ever met or interacted with them speaks with a reverence that is impossible to ignore.

Lucille got past her demons with a work ethic that was incomparable to anyone else it its time. Her demand for excellence carried so many around her. It was fascinating to hear in the documentary people point out that Lucille wasn’t naturally funny and that she needed tons of practice preps. The secret ingredient is that Lucille loved the practice rounds, she relished in them and made sure everyone bought into them as well. She was a perfect example of practice makes perfect.

Are there any negative things to say about Lucy And Desi? For me, there are not. It is a film made with immense care by Poehler, and all of the B-roll brings back the tales of old with new life. For the first show to ever perfect that live audience, I Love Lucy was a massive hit, and its stars left a massive legacy.

STANKO RATING: A (5.0/5 Stars)


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