Stevie - An Amazing Documentary

I found a documentary that was based on a guy from my hometown that I knew slightly. I couldn't believe a film had been made about this guy but after seeing it, it blew me away to find out how rough this guy really had it.

The documentary is called "Stevie", written and directed by Steve James in 2003.

"When director Steve James (Hoop Dreams) attended Southern Illinois University, he became Stevie Fielding's Advocate Big Brother. Stevie was a demanding, hyperactive child living a heartbreaking life. When James relocated to Chicago to begin a film career in 1985, he ended his formal duties to Stevie. Ten years later, James again visits Stevie (now in his mid-twenties) and finds out what happened to him in the interim. Not a pretty story." During my junior / high school days, I used to see Steven "Stevie" Fielding ride or walk up and down Walnut street in Murphysboro as well as his fiancee Tonya Gregory doing the same but separately, at the time. I have even talked to Stevie before on a couple of occassions. I can't remember the circumstances.

The documentary tells the sad story of Stevie's life of trouble, from multiple acts of crime to family issues. The pure frustration of seeing a torn relationship between his mother, sister, and grandmother was enough but seeing the fact the Stevie was in denial or simply being "hard-headed" about his acts of crime and feelings about his actions will really make you feel sorry for him.

Stevie resided in Pomona during the film's making. Highlights of the Pomona General store brought back sooo many memories of me getting wooden nickels and ice cream with my cousins and neighborhood friends. Visual shots of the Jackson County Jail, Walnut street, Old Rte 127, and other locations gave me old memories (the Jail was not part of my past but I would drive-by it all the time) and it reminded me of how small the town is. I haven't forgotten about my roots but having a reminder puts things into perspective when comparing it with where I currently reside. Life seems so damn simple in small towns like that. In some ways I wish my life would be as easy-going as it was in Murphysboro. Living in Chicago, then California has been great but sometimes can be difficult to grasp and deal with life's pressures.

Back to the film (sorry about the tangent), there are other people in the documentary that either looked familiar or that I know. One of the Murphysboro policemen making an arrest in the film is that long-time family friend of ours and I even have a 70 Buick GranSport that I traded for, from the guy. In a way, it was cool to see people from my neighborhood be projected on the Silver Screen but those emotions were torn due to the nature of the film. I applaude Steve James (Director) for his honesty and sensitivity to Stevie and his family. I really felt that Steve James had really helped out by asking the right questions to various family members of Stevie about their troubles. It made Stevie's family really think about how stubborn everyone had been about trying to patch the relationship. Forgive or Forget! If Mr James had not decided to create this film, I think that the relationships would have been completely destroyed with no chance of reconciliation and Stevie would not have been reminded of the good-natured people in his past that tried to help him. His foster-parents were incredibly caring and had an unbelievable way of connecting with kids.