Day 210: My All American (2015)

MyAllAmerican-BloggerImg-Draft2There are a couple of things in life that I enjoy more than anything in my movies and that is true stories and football. When you combine the both of them, then I just have to see it an that is why I chose My All American for today’s film. Freddy Steinmark (Finn Wittrock) wasn’t born with the gift of size as a football player, but that never stopped him from trying. In fact, Freddie is one of the hardest working athletes in the world and he uses that to fight for his spot on the roster of the Texas Longhorns in 1969. Although that is about to change after leading his team to the championship game, Freddie is faced with his toughest challenge yet off the field. The film also stars Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) as Darren Royal, Sarah Bolger (The Lazarus Effect) as Linda Wheeler, Rett Terrell (Vampires Suck) as Bobby Mitchell, Juston Street (Everybody Wants Some!!) as James Street, Michael Reilly Burke (Mars Attacks) as Fred Steinmark, Robin Tunney (Empire Records) as Gloria Steinmark, Donny Boaz (The Great Debaters) as Bill Bradley, Brent Anderson (American Crime) as Coach Campbell, and the film was directed by Angelo Pizzo (Rudy).

maxresdefault (4)I am going to be completely honest in saying that before I watched this movie, I did not know that it was directed by the guy who wrote Rudy and Hoosiers. You can definitely see the similarities between the films as far as the writing was concerned and you can also see some similarities in the style of the film too. I get why they covered his high school years because it helps build his character, but I’m wondering if that hindered the film at all because how many people really knew about Freddie Steinberg other than Longhorns fans or people old enough to remember him play. I just think they could have covered more of his college years but this was fine by me. I want to talk about his character because I’m not doubting at all that Freddie was a great guy who was one of the hardest working guys, but he just seems a little too perfect if you catch my drift. It was almost like he never did anything wrong, but that could be true for all I know. One thing that I wish that they had covered what what happened to his girlfriend Linda because they don’t talk about her at all during the title cards at the end. I know that she wasn’t the focus of the film, but she seemed to be an important part of his life. All that we know about her is that she was a consultant for the film and that her daughter Mackenzie Meehan played a nurse in the film.  I thought that was a pretty cool tidbit. If you are a fan of Rudy, then you may like this film because they are similar in style and story. I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.

Day 59: Cinderella Man (2005)

Cinderella-Man-600x333I 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).

cinderella_manBesides 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.