Monday, April 25, 2011

The Fighter

(Movie Review)

I don't need to tell you that this movie has been highly praised by the critics and the Academy Awards. Plus every one I know who has seen this movie has recommended it to me. And I really like Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.

I was still reluctant to see this movie, just because I don't generally like sports movies.

I'm not a sports fan. I never understood why it should matter to me why one person I don't know won a boxing match against someone else I don't know. Plus I find sports movies to be pretty predictable.

I suppose someone who just admitted to still watching Batman cartoons (see previous post) can't really become an intellectual snob about sports movies. But logical or not, we all have our instinctive likes and dislikes.

Not being a sports fan held me back from embracing this movie completely. I didn't really accept the premise that the whole self-worth of Mark Wahlberg's character relied on him winning boxing matches.
And I never understood why I should want him to win instead of his opponents (who presumably had trained just as hard.)

But, this is also a film which aspires to be a lot more than just a sports film. There is a lot of family drama. And this film is about a man trying to assert his own individuality against a family that wants to swallow him up.
And Christian Bale's story arc (about hitting bottom because of drug addiction) gets almost equal time with that of Mark Wahlberg's story. I know Bale won best supporting actor in this flick, but he's really almost a co-star.

And this film gets another point from me for having a great feel good soundtrack. Thanks to this film I've discovered a new great band, "The Heavies". Their high energy song "How you like me now" does a great job of starting the movie. (And if you're unfamiliar with this song, check it out on youtube--link here.)

Not that I agreed with every single song this film used. (I've always thought "Here I go Again" by Whitesnake was pretty cheesy.) But on the whole it's a great soundtrack.

Link of the Day
Noam Chomsky: Solutions for Central America


PB said...

Check out Raging Bull if you want to see another great boxing/moral decline movie.

Joel said...

thanks for the comment Peter. Indeed I saw Raging Bull many years ago at Calvin. (As a Calvin student, I think it's practically required to work your way through the Paul Schrader canon) but it's pretty foggy in my memory now, and I should probably give it a re-watch at some point