Or, to put it another way - I have witnessed both cinematic greatness and an actual soulbonding story in real life. And it was called:
Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals
Okay, so the title should already suggest that we are in for something incredibly special here. How often do legitimate sports documentary people select the word "courtship" for the titles of their works? NOT OFTEN is my guess, but I think the discussion around the table immediately after viewing the rough cut went something like this:
Marketer: How 'bout we call it Magic & Bird: A Love Story?
Producer: Accurate, but it lacks punch.
Director: I kind of want a basketball reference in the title.
Marketer: You mean a basketball reference besides the names of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird? You don't think that's already kind of enough?
Director: Well, basketball is one of the major elements of this story.
Marketer: ...I guess.
Producer: I know! Magic & Bird: A Basketball Love Story!
Marketer, cringing: That's a great option, but let's keep looking.
Associate: Hey, how about Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals? See, it's got COURT right in the name, and also it doesn't run the risk of getting shelved in YA fiction.
Director, wild-eyed and feverish: Brilliant. Brilliant. God, that's everything I wanted. It expresses the totality of it, the substance, the quintessence, if you will...
[Awkward pause while no one looks at the director.]
Marketer: So, the next time we make one of these, it's definitely not going to be about two dudes in love, right?
Producer: Absolutely not. Next up is some weird hockey thing involving the Blackhawks.
I really can't see any other way this could have gone; I thought, before I watched it, that the title was over the top, but if anything it was understated.
And know this: it was not my intention to livetweet my viewing of this thing, but I was kind of overcome. Many times. The first time during the opening credits, which was when Magic and Bird began talking about their overpowering love. And I entered some kind of state for the entire last half-hour. I lost control of my ability to punctuate, write in lower case, and, in some cases, breathe. (If you want to view my total collapse, I storified my tweets, with notes. This contains spoilers, although not any spoilers beyond "And really bad stuff happened, but LOVE TRIUMPHED," which is basically a spoiler for like 40% of fiction. And also this totally true documentary.)
If you don't want to read all the tweets, though, I can give you the gist with just two of them. Near the beginning, I said:
Hey did you know Larry Bird and Magic Johnson soulbonded at Worlds? Because I think this documentary just told me they soulbonded at Worlds.
The reason I tweeted this is that LARRY BIRD AND MAGIC JOHNSON SOULBONDED AT WORLDS. (And then Larry Bird rejected his bondmate, that dick. Though the bond endures! He comes through in the end!) The documentary essentially comes right out and says so. Like, I turned to Best Beloved and said, "I've read this story. It was Patrick Kane/Jonathan Toews, but it was this exact story."
And then, towards the end, I tweeted this direct quote from the actual documentary, which is a factual type thing:
“Decades removed from the height of their rivalry, their bond endures. Two impossibly different men with a connection only they can fully grasp.”
I mean, this isn't just a love story. It's also about the rise of the NBA, and about race relations in the US, and obviously about HIV and AIDS. And it's good and informative on all those topics. But also it's about these two dudes, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who were awesome at basketball. And, oh yeah, totally soulbonded.
No matter how much I talk about this, I can't do it justice, because you have to see it to believe. Even if you don't like sports. Even if you have no idea who Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are. Even if you are a member of an alien race or an NSA employee monitoring this for exceptionally improbable national security reasons. Watch this documentary. It will astound you. (And my thanks to all the people who insisted I see this. It was even more than you promised it would be. SO MUCH MORE.)
Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comments.