Friday, September 17, 2010

Yes No Maybe So: The Fighter

Our first glimpse of the highly buzzed David O. Russell boxing picture The Fighter. If it becomes a major player at this year's Oscars I want y'all to remember that I believed it would happen first. Toot Toot. (That was my own horn).



And now the patented foolproof system for judging our own reaction to the trailer: Yes, No, Maybe So™. Join us with your own in the comments.

First things first: It seems obvious that this film will live or die on the chemistry between its central brothers, boxer Mickey (Mark Wahlberg) and his trainer (Christian Bale). It seems obvious from the trailer that their relationship could well float like a butterfly and sting like a bee or whatever the hell boxers are supposed to do. Maybe Wahlberg is the type of performer who has to have a strong director to be properly called an actor -- but that question of his ability is already solved by reteaming him with David O'Russell who is already responsible for his best performance (I Heart Huckabees). Plus we'd like Christian Bale to stop doing these crazy things to his body so maybe mass acknowledgement that he's a good actor will dampen down that particular self-destructive urge for awhile?


On the other hand, haven't we seen enough boxing pictures? Isn't it the #1 most populated sport within the movies -- you'd think there'd be boxing gyms on every corner of every street to meet the need. Boxers are like hitmen: way more prevalent in the movies than they are in real life. But there will be blood... in the movies. Since we've seen so many rise and fall and rise again biopics and so many boxing pictures, what could this possibly add to the bloated over populated genre? I fear it looks a smidge generic... at least visually. Not that you can always tell from a trailer.

The cast sounds good on paper but how do they all come together onscreen? It's possibly delicious that there will be a catfight of sorts between Mickey's mom (Melissa Leo) and his girl (Amy Adams) but it also just might be typical Hollywood poverty porn. You know how they love the 'We're going to Disneyland!' white trash families the movies... or maybe I'm just thinking of the last Oscar baiting boxing pic. So, to make a long story short: I knew that both Leo and Adams were in the movie but who expected that the movie would contain girlfights? Haven't we all wanted to see Amy Adams test her range a little ever since her triumph in Enchanted? So why am I a little worried about her in this context.

How about you?

The Fighter opens in December.
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33 comments:

john said...

Hmmm, not sure on this one yet, but the catfight comes as no suprise since this rather funny video of them on set has been around for a while:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QEfWZRu4MAw

It's not that much of a catfight, more a catscrabble.

Michael B. said...

If Adams nails this role she could easily win.

She's well liked, has actually made a name for herself and is very recognizable. All in 5 years. I would put her as #1, easily.

Gustavo H.R. said...

I understand your concerns, but I don't share them. What seems to really matter here is the actors, and they seem to be amazing, especially Adams and Bale.
But as you've said it's just a trailer anyway...

pomme said...

if i'm honest,i will say MAY BE because the trailer is conventional(and the score is cheesy)and Wahlberg is a hit or miss actor BUT the supporting cast is strong,David O Russel,i like how the fighting scene are filmed(very "HBO"),i say people who saw the movie in screen test really liked and it will be a R rated feel-good dramedy(?!)

pomme said...

and i forgot it's always better than the look-alike guilty pleasure "the tourist" movie

Volvagia said...

Dramedy? That piques the interest more than anything actually in the trailer. By the way, have you seen the trailer for Yogi Bear? My thoughts:

Yes: Timberlake is spot-on as Boo-Boo.

No: Do we need an adaptation of this material?

Maybe So: Dan Akroyd sometimes sounds quite off and recognizable as Dan Akroyd.

RT Score Estimate: 50-70%.

Volvqagia said...

And if this turn's out better than even I'm estimating, I'd prefer Timberlake be nominated for Yogi Bear as opposed to The Social Network.

stjeans said...

Never cared 'bout Boxing movie & never will. I know I'll probably won't make any friends here but to me ''Raging Bull'' is one of the least interesting Marty S. movie & ''Million $$$ Baby'' plain SUCKED!

James T said...

I'm a "maybe so". But I can't really care much.

kelsy said...

Count me in as excited to see Bale in what looks like a supporting role--when was the last time we saw that?

/3rtfu11 said...

Mark Wahlberg is with the best director of his career. I don’t believe in single Scorsese directed nominations. What does it say about you as an actor when they only recognize you for working with him? I love Sharon Stone but – Is Casino the only thing they felt had sufficient merit to warrant a nomination? Not to me but this isn’t about Stone or even Scorsese – I’m saying that O Russell is King in getting gold out of Mark outside of PTA with Boogie Nights.

I love all his performances so far with David. I think people respond best to his fireman in Huckabees because his character’s the heart of the picture. I hope Leo is nominated. I suspect the Academy is waiting out Adams for a Lead Actress performance they can give her a single win. If she wins any of these supporting actress nods she’s done for with them.

Simon said...

Maybe I'm a jaded ol' asshole, but this looks very baity. I mean, Oscar nominees abound, one who might as well be (and, alas, is not), what you call poverty porn (seriously, Million Dollar Baby sucks, and I want everyone to know it). I might see it on DVD, but I don't know.

Burning Reels said...

I'm hoping it works out for Bale's sake - O Russell is an interesting choice, hopefully he wont go all Fincher-prestige on us.

This post made me rewatch his Lily Tomlin freakouts - I hope THEY can laugh now too.

mrripley said...

You know nat i have thought amy adams would win best supporting actress all year she seems to have it all momentum,de glam,girlfriend role,sort of due/crowning,against type,in a big pic,she's often said to be the new sandra/reese/julia/meg.

she just needs the reviews now.

cal roth said...

Well, if this is a new A Beautiful Mind, Amy Adams is the new Jennifer Connely. She doesn't even have to be great to win this, because the movie looks pure Oscarbait.

Oy maybe this is a new Almost Famous and both the mother and love interest get nominations but we have a surprise winner from a little movie, an enduring actress in her day of glory (Weaver? Hershey?).

cal roth said...

I'm a maybe so. It looks too Ron Howard for my tastes.

Anonymous said...

Say hi to your mother for me.

par3182 said...

that 'no' picture has already made this my favourite film of the year...

No Bad Movies said...

Bale looks solid as does Leo and Adams. Wahlberg doesn't seem convincing ( at least in the trailer ) He's doing that whiney, soft voice again. I think Bale will be stealing scenes, and it's probably a good bet he's landing his first Oscar nod in support.

adri said...

No. I hate boxing and I hate boxing movies. I can't understand the appeal of it at all. Here's a great cast wasted on a stupid story.

Alex said...

I'm a yes, mostly because of the cast and Russell, but the actual story seems mediocre. Somewhere between The Wrestler and all the other middle of the road sports flicks with "old people" (aka 30s).

I agree that Adams could easily see herself as the next Jennifer Connelly, Rachel Weisz, etc. and she even looks sorta good in it.

MRRIPLEY said...

I am stating now that amy adams wins best supporting actress.

cal roth said...

@adri Boxing is the best sport for movies. Raging Bull, Rocco i suoi fratelli, and the best of all, The Set-up. Reconsider.

Andrew R. said...

Maybe so.

YES: Bale looks good.

NO: The dialouge is really, really predictable.

MAYBE SO: Wahlberg and Adams.

Sara said...

This looks like Oscar bait.

Personally, I think Adams is unproven (and I didn't care for her acting in Enchanted), with only one or two good performances to her name. I've never seen her in a dramatic role where she didn't annoy me.

Joe said...

It has Amy Admas in it. So yes.

I'm a bit over boxing movies as well, but it has been a while since we've really had one.

adri said...

@cal roth - you're right, I spoke too sweepingly. The sport or mechanism the movie hangs on is almost irrelevant when a movie has a great script, wonderful acting, clever and inventive directing.

John Garfield in "Body and Soul" made me cry (so did Hilary Swank in "Million Dollar Baby"). And I think that John Huston's "Fat City" with Jeff Bridges and Stacy Keach is a terrific movie.

I find your point interesting that boxing is particularly adaptable to the screen. Thanks for the insight.

cal roth said...

@adri Filming boxing is way easier than a rugby match. You don't have many rules, everybody understands it and it has a very clear dramatic effect. You see your hero beating or getting beat, and then things change, and change again, and you're never lost. And the whole scene is set in a limited area, then you can film it the way you want, and you can play with light...

But what makes boxing movies most interesting is that the job of our hero is to beat and hurt people, no matter how good he is. Violence is his business. That's why boxeurs are so fascinating to moviemakers. The character gets complex without much work, because his job is already complex in terms of the personality of people who can take this job.

Paul Outlaw said...

A resounding Yes to everything except Wahlberg, who is a maybe so/no for me. The trailer doesn't change that.

(The thought of him as a Best Actor nominee is ludicrous at best, puke-inducing at worst. But I'll be happy to eat those words if he really brings it.)

kin said...

It looks pretty cliched, but truthfully, as soon as I heard "Mark Wahlberg as a boxer", I was a yes. And he does look really good (in more than one way) here.

Lachlan said...

Mark Wahlberg has been watchable or better in four or five of his movies. He was hilarious in I Heart Huckabees. I think his re-teaming with David O. Russell will be relatively successful. Especially if Wahlberg gets to play stupid again.
Bale and Adams look solid though uninspired.
The movie looks like intermittently entertaining Oscar bait. I doubt it'll win anything, though.

Rich Aunt Pennybags said...

I hope Leo is nominated. I suspect the Academy is waiting out Adams for a Lead Actress performance they can give her a single win. If she wins any of these supporting actress nods she’s done for with them.

Yes on both accounts. While Adams does have a lot going for her, I think that they want to wait to give her a leading win, but if she wins now, she might be like Renee Zellweger, who was on a hot streak somewhat like Adams' hot streak if she's nominated this year, but after winning, the Academy was done with her.

Music Videos said...

Watch the interviews, trailers and behind the scenes of The Fighter and many more videos.