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SAS Movie Review – The Fighter

Can I go the distance and watch an entire Marky Mark movie?  Does The Fighter stand a puncher’s chance at winning at the Oscars?   Or will it get knocked out by the competition?  Can I come up with any more boxing terms?  Uppercut.  Yes I can.

SAS = Short Attention Span – basically if you’re like me, you don’t want to read a 3 page review of a movie that’s filled with dictionary look-up words and talks in-depth about the subtle nuances and how they correlate to post-modern, neo-classical, Machiavellian, or whatever random crap that was probably taught to me in school years ago, but has since been replaced with useless knowledge about things that would only help me in a People magazine crossword puzzle.

The point is, I will only write a simple review, nothing more than a page, and nothing that will ruin any aspect of the movie (I hope). So enjoy…

THE FIGHTER

Based on the true story of Micky Ward (Wahlberg) and his struggle to become successful, mostly in part to his family having serious issues which causes a lot of arguing and dissension.  Also known as just about everyone’s Thanksgiving.  Except this is an Irish family, so take it up a notch.

The real highlight of the movie though is Christian Bale, who plays Micky’s cracked-out brother Dicky Ecklund.  If you’re going to shell out $12.50 to go see this in the theater, you’ll get your monies worth out of Bale, who is terrifyingly near-perfect in the role.   If you like his performance here and have a strong enough stomach, do yourself a favor and rent The Machinist, a movie he did about 7 years, where he literally starved himself for almost half a year to lose 60 pounds.  Also please do confuse yourself by going to see The Mechanic as that’s an entirely different movie and not worth $12.50 and probably not worth a $1.05 from Redbox.

The rest of The Fighter is rounded out with Melissa Leo (looking and sounding like a Sopranos-esque reject) doing a great job as the mother who you can’t decide if she’s looking out for her or Micky’s best interest first.  Amy Adams plays Micky’s sort of trashy, but in a classy way, girlfriend.  If you like red-heads sporting cleavage, you’ll enjoy her performance.  Besides that though she’s a tremendous actress and has come a long way from the first time I saw her in Cruel Intentions 2, a movie which most have made enough people happy that it spawned a third one to complete (or ruin) the trilogy.

Surprisingly though, I really enjoyed Jack McGee, famous from his role as the firehouse chief on Rescue Me, as Micky’s father.  There was something real about his performance and how he was able to connect with his son all the while remaining true to Micky’s mom without it making it seem as if he was taking sides.

Oh, and I almost forgot, if you can’t find yourself laughing at the ladies who play Micky/Dicky’s incredibly over-protective sisters, then you probably should go see a doctor.  I almost hope there’s a sequel where all seven of their sisters go speed dating or open a beauty salon together, I would definitely pay to see that film.

To be honest, after Rocky I thru Rocky IV, boxing movies have a long way to go to be considered special movies.  I think Cinderella Man came the closest a few years back, but other than that, there’s really been nothing else that’s stood out since (my apologies to Teen Wolf Too)The Fighter is a very solid movie, and I’d put it as close competition to Cinderella Man, mainly due to Bale’s phenomenal acting.  It doesn’t quite score the knockout, but it may win the round on points.  That’s another boxing term for you croquet fans out there.

GRADE: B-
OSCAR PREDICTIONS: Christian Bale wins Best Supporting Actor; Amy Adams and Melissa Leo are both nominated for Best Supporting Actress, but I think they cancel each other out and neither wins, but I won’t be surprised if Leo’s name is called for the Oscar.

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