Pop Smart - Tonight on TCM: Evander Holyfield takes his best shot

(Photo courtesy Turner Classic Movies)

OK, so we know by now that Turner Classic Movies is trying to broaden its viewership with a range of ideas, most notably by taking last fall’s Guest Programmer Month and having different types of celebrities show off their love of film. It’s a savvy idea, and should appeal to the non-film geek types (read: the rest of America) TCM wants to lure into the cult. Solid.

Tonight represents one of the bolder choices for a guest programmer: Former boxing champ and beloved Atlantan Evander Holyfield. I have to say, I love only one of Holyfield’s choices: 1975’s Cooley High, which makes its TCM premiere. The movie is a rare attempt at authenticity at exploring the lives of inner-city high school kids in Chicago. The film is directed by Michael Schulz, a black director who went on to helm other black-themed works in the 1970s (Car Wash, Greased Lightning, Which Way Is Up? and Bustin’ Loose) before settling into his current gig of directing TV shows.