Since the beginning of film, there have been some legendary sports films because an underdog story can capture the hearts of millions. As long as the sport of boxing has been around, there have been some great films like Rocky, Raging Bull, The Fighter, Requiem For A Heavyweight, and many more. For today’s film, we chose to go and see the latest boxing film Bleed For This which tells the tale of Rhode Island boxing legend Vinny Pazienza (played by Miles Teller). The movie starts right before his latest fight against Roger Mayweather (Peter Quillin) which was a losing effort. Down and out, he trains with a new manager in Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart). With Rooney in his corner, he moves up in weight which proves to be a success, but he will soon face the greatest setback ever, a broken neck in a car accident. Will he bounce back from it or stay down forever? The film also stars Katey Sagal (Futurama) as Louise, Ciarán Hinds (Munich) as Angelo, Ted Levine (The Silence Of The Lambs) as Lou Duva, Amanda Clayton (John Carter) as Doreen, Daniel Sauli (House Of Cards) as Jon, Jordan Gelber (Dark Horse) as Dan Duva, Christine Evangelista (The Walking Dead) as Shelly (I believe), and the film was written and directed by Ben Younger (Boiler Room).
Before I get into the review of the film, I am a sucker for details and there was one minor one that the film goofed on. He fought Roberto Duran in 1994 and suffered the broken neck before that. According to the film, Duran was his comeback fight from the injury, but in fact he fought Jacques LeBlanc a month before. The point of that detail is that he mentions that he is heading to Twin River Casino before the accident, but the problem is that Lincoln Park wasn’t called Twin River until March 2007 (a full 13 years later). Other than that, I absolutely loved the film and thought Miles Teller did a terrific job portraying the flashy Pazienza. We see all the hell that Paz went through just to make a comeback when everyone told him that he couldn’t. One of the scenes that I just had a hard time sitting through is the scene when the doctor is removing the screws and Paz tells him that he doesn’t want to take anything for the process. The boxing action in the film is great like any amazing boxing film, but the transformations is where it’s at. Aaron Eckhart just has to shave a little bit of his head, but Ted Levine goes through a major transformation to play Lou Duva. I almost didn’t recognize him, but well into the film I noticed that it was him. The sites were so amazing to see when they are in Rhode Island and they even do an amazing job of making the Providence Civic Center look like how it used to. I even loved the vintage footage throughout the film and I loved how some news segments, it showed the real Vinny Paz. I was a huge fan of the film and if you’re a boxing fan then do yourself a favor and check this one out. I am giving the film an A- for a final grade.
Besides films that are based on Football, the other kinds of sports films that I have always loved are boxing movies like the Rocky franchise, Raging Bull, and so many more. That is why for today’s film, I chose to cover the 2007 film Resurrecting The Champ which stars Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight) and Josh Hartnett (Lucky Number Slevin). All Erik Kernan Jr. (Hartnett) has ever wanted to be is a great reporter like his father. The only problem for him is that everything seems to be going in the opposite direction in his life as he’s a beat reporter and his marriage is falling apart. After his editor (Alan Alda) turns down an opportunity, he meets a homeless man that everyone calls Champ. The man claims to be boxing legend Bob Satterfield even though people claim he’s dead. So, he does a piece on the champ that gives him critical acclaim and backlash. The film also stars Kathryn Morris (Cold Case) as Joyce Kernan, Rachel Nichols (Star Trek) as Polly, Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives) as Andrea Flak, Kristen Shaw (The Last Castle) as Perlmutter, Nick Sandow (Orange Is The New Black) as Marciano, David Paymer (Quiz Show) as Whitley, Dakota Goyo (Thor) as Teddy Kernan, and the film was directed by Rod Lurie (The Contender).
Spoiler Alert: There are going to be details about the movie that could spoil things for you so proceed with caution or do no read any further. I didn’t realize when I chose to watch the film on TV that it was based on a true story. There was such a boxer named Bob Satterfield, but the real name of the homeless man known as champ changed in this film and he also didn’t die (I don’t think anyways, read this article). The film was very interesting to watch because Josh Hartnett’s character really believes that he’s getting his shot, but in reality is about to be made to look like a fool. The moral of the story for future journalists is to do your research before you release an article because retractions can be the death of your career like a boxer with a glass chin. The film contained an awesome performance from Samuel L. Jackson and Josh Hartnett’s is right up there with his. Dramas are very dependent on having plenty of dramatic moments within them and this film had plenty of moments that they focused on. It went back and forth with Josh Hartnett whether it was dealing with failing marriage, having his sons approval, and the drama with the newspaper. It’s a very different kind of boxing movie than what we are used to because it’s more of a human piece than a piece about the sport. I enjoyed watching the film and that is why I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.
April may turn out to be a tough month to pick a clear top 25 with all of the films that are becoming available to watch that I have wanted to see. Today’s film is definitely one that could be challenging for the top spot in the movie Creed. Creed is the latest installment in the Rocky series that follows Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), the child of the late Apollo Creed’s infidelity. Throughout his whole life, Adonis has been fighting for what is his, but all he wants to do is prove that he can be like his father int he ring. Adonis decides that he needs to move to Philadelphia to get trained by the great Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). With the guidance of Rocky, can he finally prove himself in the ring as the heavyweight champion comes calling. The film also stars Tessa Thompson (Dear White People) as Bianca, Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show) as Mary Anne Creed, Andre Ward as Danny Wheeler, Tony Bellew as Pretty Ricky Conlon, Ritchie Coster (The Dark Knight) as Pete Sporino, Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran (Here Comes The Boom) as Stitch, Graham McTavish (Rambo) as Tommy Holiday, Gabe Rosado as Leo “The Lion” Sporino, and the film was directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station).
I have always been a huge fan of all the Rocky films because not only is there boxing, but there’s drama and their’s the human factor. What I mean by the human factor is that you see the struggle that Rocky went through for every fight in and out of the ring and the same holds true for Adonis in the film Creed. Ryan Coogler did an amazing job taking the franchise into the future in my opinion as he wrote and directed this one. This was also the first film in the whole series that Sylvester Stallone had nothing to do with the writing, he just starred and produced the film. The other thing I love about these movies is that they make you feel like these are authentic fights and that you really are watching them on HBO for HBO Boxing as Jim Lampley, Max Kellerman, and Michael Buffer all make appearances in the film. The other great thing about the film is that they don’t forget about the history of the franchise and in fact, it’s a very important piece. I’m not going to spoil the details, but that secret fight behind closed doors that Rocky had with Apollo at the end of Rocky III, well the winner is revealed in this film. If you are a fan of the Rocky franchise or boxing films in general, then take the time an check this one out. The cinematography, fight choreography, set designs, acting, etc. are all amazing in this film in my opinion. This could be the number one movie for the month of April as of this point. There is still 22 days left to the month to decide. With that being said, I am going to give the film an A for a final grade.
I am a sucker for sports movies if you couldn’t tell from yesterdays post, but I am also a sucker for true stories. In early to mid-2000’s, Russell Crowe (Gladiator) was the hottest thing going in Hollywood and in 2005 he would starred in Cinderella Man. Cinderella Man tells the story of the original underdog in boxing in former world heavyweight champion James J. Braddock. In the 1930’s, things were bad in America as the country was still in a depression. For James J. Braddock and his family, things were just as bad. His boxing career was going nowhere and he could barely afford to feed his family. That is until his manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) gets Braddock a second chance at redemption. All he has to do is beat a couple of guys and he gets the shot of a lifetime against heavyweight champ Max Baer (Craig Bierko). The film also stars Renée Zellweger (Empire Records) as Mae Braddock, Paddy Considine (The World’s End) as Mike Wilson, Bruce McGill (Law Abiding Citizen) as Jimmy Johnston, Matthew G. Taylor (Pacific Rim) as Primo Carnera, Rance Howard (Chinatown) as Announcer Al Fazin, Troy Amos-Ross (Resurrecting The Champ) as John Henry Lewis, and the film was directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13).
Besides being a fan of sports movies and/or true stories, I am also a huge fan of Boxing films and this is up there with a lot of them. Boxing has always been one of those sports where an underdog can surprise people (and inspire) and be champion. Cinderella Man is definitely that underdog story and Russell Crowe’s performance in the film is amazing. Of course, he’s not the only one who did an amazing job as Zellweger and Giamatti deserve some kudos as well. The writers did an amazing job making sure you saw how desperate the times were back in the early 1930’s and how resourceful people had to be back then.We haven’t seen a depression like that since then and I hope that we never get to ever. The action in the ring is amazing and a strong point as you see every punch and every bit of blood that is splattered. I love some of the camera shots where it looks as if you are the boxer entering the ring and sometimes it looks as if you are taking the punches and getting dazed. The costume department and hair/makeup deserve some kudos as well making us feel like we are being transported to those times. I love the look and feel of the prohibition/great depression era s far as hairstyles and clothing are concerned. Ron Howard is a true master of cinema and he has proven it to us over the years with the plethora of work. There are so many great boxing films out there, but try this one. I am going to give the film an A- for a final grade.