Okay, this one was my own fault. Had I done my research on this film (or had a fabulous website like flicksthatmakemesick to go to!), I would have realized that The Fighter was directed by David O. Russell. Or maybe I knew that but didn’t make the connection. Or maybe I made the connection but was blinded by the idea that Mark Wahlberg would be sweaty and shirtless for the majority of the film. Whatever my problem was, it wasn’t until fifteen minutes into the film that I grabbed my stomach and shouted “David O. Russell directed Three Kings!” But by then, of course, it was too late.
Here’s a little warning: if you have a problem with motion sickness in movies, don’t go see a film that involves the shooting of an HBO documentary (hand-held camera), boxing (quick cuts, choppy edits, weird angles as bodies hit the floor), ballooning bruises and spattered blood (eewwww) and a crack addict who was so jittery that he made everything look like it was shaking even when the camera was locked down.
I have to confess that I had my eyes closed during at least 70% of the film. The true story was fascinating, the Lowell, MA accents thick and the boxing all sickeningly authentic. I wanted to watch, really I did, especially the wonderful scenes involving all seven of Micky and Dicky’s sisters. (Hilarious sidenote: the redheaded one who looked exactly like Conan O’Brian with long hair is, indeed, Coco’s real life sister.) I made it all the way through to the end, but I missed most of boxing scenes and by the time I could open my eyes, Mark had already put his shirt back on and his face was all swollen to boot. I want my money back.
From what I could hear, there was a lot of great acting going on in this film. My pick for Best Supporting Actor is the frontrunner on most critic’s lists, Christian Bale, who should be the poster boy for why doing drugs is not a good idea. They could use the picture of him from American Psycho as the Before and a still from this film as the After. His portrayal of Micky’s brother seemed completely over the top until you saw the real life footage at the end and realized that the real Dicky Eklund was just as/even more squirrelly than Christian Bale’s performance was. Plus he deserves to be recognized because he was totally shut out for his moving character study of a turn-of-the-century newsboy who leads a strike against the Hearst and Pulitzer papers in the groundbreaking Newsies, a video I saw at least 1200 times when my daughter was twelve years old.
Barf Bag Ranking: THREE BAGS And maybe add an extra half bag in there for all the spattering blood from the fight scenes. Unless that’s what you went to see, in which case, never mind.
4 thoughts on “The Fighter”
Yes, and Christian Bale should win the Oscar, despite being a real-life asshole.
I choose not to believe he is a real-life asshole. I think he occasionally behaves badly because he was separated from his parents in war-torn Shanghai before WWII and eventually wound up in a Japanese internment camp. No wait … maybe it was because he saw his parents brutally murdered and then became Batman? I’m pretty sure it was one of those things.
Luckily I DID have a fabulous website to advise me for this movie, so I knew what to do. We went in mid-afternoon, not too soon after a nutritious lunch and got seats in the very back row. Only had to close my eyes when I knew a really bad blow was gonna land. I liked this movie a lot; hard to believe that family is so hilariously dysfunctional. The sisters are another film in themselves! (Maybe a musical?) I thought Micky would have started winning much earlier if he’d just pictured his mom and siblings every time he saw his opponents’ faces.
I’ve put off seeing “The Fighter” because I hate boxing movies in general but even with the caveats you’ve sold me (Conan’s real sister!). I loved “Three Kings” but saw that on DVD, which apparently dilutes the effects.