The Fighter (2010)

White People Do This to Other White People

The award nominations that today’s movie received piqued my interest in it.  But, generally speaking, I get turned off by these types of movies.  Drama movies tend to be quite the journey to make it through, having their ups and downs and usually the downs are a lot heavier than the ups.  But I’m also a fan of boxing movies.  I would never call myself a boxing fan, but boxing movies tend to be more interesting.  They’re usually fairly uplifting stories about facing adversity and rising above it.  And there’s some face punching to keep me interested.  I put today’s movie on my Netflix queue when I started doing reviews and even noticed that it was streaming instantly, but I never felt like I was in the mood to watch it.  It took so long that it actually got sent to me even though I could’ve watched it without having to wait on shipping, but it sat on my desk unwatched for a while longer.  I finally reached a point where I couldn’t think of anything else to watch, so I decided it was time to watch this movie.  Let’s see how that went in my review of The Fighter, based on the life of Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund, written by Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, and Eric Johnson, directed by David O. Russell, and starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee, Mickey O’Keefe, Frank Renzulli, and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is a boxer from Lowell, Massachusetts, managed by his mother Alice Ward (Melissa Leo) and trained by his half-brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale).  Micky is not doing well as a boxer, considered mainly a stepping stone for better boxers, but he’s looking to change that.  Dicky is being filmed by a documentary crew about his comeback.  Micky gets left in a bad situation – fighting a boxer he shouldn’t be fighting – by his mother and brother, which leaves him wondering if he’s in the best situation for him.  His brother’s addiction to crack is not really helping matters.  He meets and starts a relationship with a bartender named Charlene Fleming (Amy Adams), but she’s not really accepted by his family.  Dicky’s trouble eventually leads to his incarceration, and Micky gets his hand broken in the process.  While in jail, Dicky and his family are embarrassed to find that the documentary was actually called High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell, and actually about Dicky’s crack addiction.  With Charlene at his side, Micky cuts his mother loose, gets a new manager, starts training with Micky O’Keefe (Himself), and starts actually winning fights.

At first, I found myself a little let down by this movie.  Not because it wasn’t good or anything, but because I somehow went in expecting a different movie.  I don’t know how I got those expectations, knowing that this movie actually got award consideration, but I was kind of expecting a movie about boxing.  Boxing is actually fairly secondary in this movie to the family drama.  Once I had gotten that through my mind and I realized what I was watching, it made the movie much better.  I don’t think I’d say the story was what deserved to be applauded as it was just the life of Micky and Dicky.  They were interesting lives and made for an interesting watch, but I don’t feel comfortable giving the writers too much credit.  The action of the movie was decent too, when it happened.  The fights were few and far between and I would’ve appreciated more of them, but that wasn’t really what this movie was going for.  I probably would’ve appreciated more action-packed, Rocky-esque fights, but that also wasn’t really what they were going for.  They wanted realistic boxing, but since I’ve never been that big of a fan of actual boxing, that never really excited me.  Of course, my favorite part of boxing is always just watching the knockout compilations on YouTube.  Real boxing is often too slow for me, but if you’re a boxing fan you’ll probably really enjoy the realism of the fight.

I think the greater majority of the praise this movie received came from the performances.  And these performances certainly did not disappoint.  The greater majority of the cast not only put on a great performance, but they became the character.  I don’t know that I’d call the greater majority of them likeable, but they seemed like the real people they were trying to be (at least as best as I can tell from the limited time I’ve spent with them on the making of featurette).  I wasn’t entirely impressed with Mark Wahlberg in this one … or any one I can think of.  He was probably a lot like Micky Ward, but I don’t know Micky Ward.  I’ve seen Mark Wahlberg before, and he acted a lot like him.  He wasn’t bad, but everyone else being really good makes him fall short.  Christian Bale was almost unrecognizable.  He lost a lot of weight, wore fake teeth, and acted exactly like a crackhead.  I didn’t want to have to spend any time around that guy.  Same goes for Melissa Leo as their mother.  She was a controlling annoying bitch, who would rather defend her crackhead son than give Micky the credit he deserves.  Amy Adams was also really good in this movie, and was hot and wore a bra you could see her nipples through.  YAY!  And she’s the one that punches one of Micky’s asshole family members in the face, which was very satisfying to me.  Micky’s baby mamma was also a dirty bitch.  Basically, none of these characters were likeable, but the actors deserve props for acting like them.

The Fighter was a good movie, but not entirely what I expected when I went in.  The story was good, the boxing was very realistic, and the performances were mostly superb.  Being not a fan of dramas or boxing, it’s not really the movie for me, but there are definitely lots of people that would love this movie, and nobody can take anything away from the performances.  I recommend this movie for a watch.  Especially since it’s available to stream on Netflix.  The Fighter gets “I told everybody I was gonna win that fight and get back on track” out of “I heard she’s into threeways!”

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