Tuesday, January 24, 2012

9/50x2: The Fighter

I am a sports writer by trade, but there are a few sports out there that just don't really appeal to me. Some of those sports are those involving hand-to-hand combat. Boxing, MMA - heck even hockey - are just a few sports that I really have no desire in ever watching (except the occasional Pens game).

That being said. Why is it that boxing seems to almost always make a great movie?

The Fighter is based on a true story about Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his rise in the boxing world. And, may be to an even bigger extent, his brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale).

Eklund is Ward's trainer and former boxer himself. His claim to fame is that he once knocked Sugar Ray Leonard to the mat during a televised match. Since then he has found himself getting addicted to drugs and spending time in jail.

Mickey is also being managed by his mother, Alice Ward (Melissa Leo), who despite Mickey's talent and being an all-around decent person, still treats brother Dicky like her favorite.

Dicky also happens to be filming a documentary on what he is claiming as his comeback attempt into the world of boxing.

Mickey values and loves his family, and that may have been what kept him as what some people claim as a punching bag for other fighters as they make their way up through the ranks. He is saddled with a manager/mother who seems content with keeping him nearby and not allowing him to flourish - and a trainer/brother who would much rather be getting high than spending time in the gym helping his brother get better.

Mickey, however, gets involved with Charlene (Amy Adams) who sees the greatness in him and what his downfall has been - his family. She encourages him to sign with a place in Las Vegas that will pay him as he trains. The lone stipulation is that Dicky must not be allowed to help him.

Just a great film filled with tons of amazing performances.

Bale continues to impress with the way he can transform his actual body image for a film, and then throw himself into that role. Leo has proven just how good of an actress she can be, and here is no different. Adams was amazing as the girlfriend who helps push Mickey in the right direction (and she wasn't too hard on the eyes either). All three were recognized for the effort with nominations for Academy Awards, with Bale and Leo both winning in the Best Supporting category.

The one who wasn't nominated was Wahlberg. I feel the guy gets a bum wrap for the most part - perhaps because he was once known as 'Marky Mark'. I don't know, but I thought his performance in this film was outstanding - and he continues to improve as an actor. His struggle between what he wanted and what he thought he wanted was amazingly portrayed. I felt he deserved some recognition as well.

You've all heard that The Fighter is a great movie - and I can tell you for a fact it was. Again, not a fan of boxing, but they sure do make great films. Check it out if you haven't yet.


1 comment:

  1. Hey, I'm the same way. I'll watch Warrior long before I ever watch an MMA fight itself. In another life, I could see myself being into boxing (and perhaps if the organization(s) weren't such a clusterf*$#%), but as it stands right now, I just don't care, yet yea, they make some of the better sports flicks.

    That said, this one's barely about boxing or sports at all - it's about abuse, family, loyalty, etc. I dug it, and Bale was off the charts great in it.