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Movies

Guest Blogger: Go see Cinderella Man. . .

June 6, 2005 | By | No Comments

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Go see Cinderella Man. Quickly. It’s a great movie, so says the Chairman in the movie review below. You may beat me there, so please enjoy it doubly.

But it’s not just about enjoyment . . . this is, after all “Politics in Real Life” here at Reasoned Audacity, so you knew I was going to sneak in the political subtext. Oh, yes.

The Chairman reports that this is a wonderful movie that celebrates family, doesn’t mock people of faith, and is for grown-ups, as well as the coveted teenage boys market. Nice for a change. But according to Box Office Mojo, the movie had a “disappointing” opening:

Director Ron Howard’s $88 million Depression-era drama starring Russell Crowe as boxer James J. Braddock got off to a wobbly start, delivering an estimated $18.6 million at 2,812 venues in fourth place.

So those of us who would like Hollywood to make movies that are inspiring and uplifting need to support this one — we need to send the message that positive, wholesome movies sell theatre tickets.

The following from the Chairman . . .

* * *

“You want to go see what?” I said.

Cinderella Man,” she said.

“But that’s a boxing movie,” I said.

“I know. What time shall I reserve the tickets for?” she said.

Hey, if the birthday girl says she wants to go see a Depression-era boxing movie, I’m gonna take her to see it even if it does star bad boy Russell Crowe who doesn’t do much for me. Well, okay, Gladiator wasn’t bad but . . .

I can’t pinpoint the moment when my reservations about the flick began to fade away. It didn’t have a lot to do with the chemistry between Crowe and Zellweger; she isn’t my cup of tea either. Mostly it had to do with the fact that Crowe played Jim Braddock not as some swaggeringly tough fighter, but as the quintessentially good family man . . . from start to finish . . . without a blemish. This fact alone is probably what allowed me to care about him and his wife and his children.

He made me care because he was just so decent. It left me wondering how a man could be so decent and yet be such a slugger in the ring. He was a ferocious fighter, but I never got the sense that he had any malicious feelings toward his opponents . . . well, maybe Max Baer was the exception.

Boxing was just Braddock’s talent, his profession. Most importantly, it was a means of providing for his family. It never became his life. Braddock’s family was his life.

I understand how his comeback after a year out of the ring earned him the moniker “Cinderella Man,” but given the story told by this movie, it might more aptly have been titled, The Passion of the Family Man. At the outset we are shown how injury and the Depression stripped Braddock of nearly everything: his career, his home, everything but his character and values. We see the family’s desperate fight to survive and stay together during the depression . . . and their decency remains intact when everything else lies in ruin. And we care about them.

I became so gripped by the story that I lost sight of what the actors were doing. The cast was totally believable so they never got in the way of the story — some of the credit for this goes to the director, Ron Howard. I would never have believed that Russell Crowe could have acted the role of Braddock with such a low-keyed, self-effacing dignity.

There are several great scenes in this movie that will always stick with me. But one scene is particularly powerful. On the comeback trail, Braddock is asked by a reporter: “What are you fighting for?”

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28 Apr

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Movie Review: The Interpreter

April 28, 2005 | By |

Much more to come on women in combat. I will give the Pentagon meeting report, as promised, but that is still a developing story. Please check back in. (Or subscribe on the left sidebar for email updates.)

Meanwhile, the weekend is here! And the Chairman gives us a review of The Interpreter. . .

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Took the love of my life to see The Interpreter last evening. Found it very entertaining at one level, but not entirely satisfying at another.

Seeing aerial footage of New York was a great delight and who can complain about seeing a lot of Nicole Kidman. Plus, my wife works periodically at the UN so it was fun hearing her reactions to seeing the various places inside the UN –– the General Assembly auditorium, the delegates’ room and others. Also, though I really dislike his politics, I liked parts of Sean Penn’s performance.

But here’s where the movie fell short.

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03 Mar

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Gandalf and audacity

March 3, 2005 | By |

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The Dude (with the help of the Diva) discovered that Gandalf has something to say about audacity on PlayStation 2. They worked very hard to get the quote for mom’s blog. And it’s perfect:

For ourselves there is no hope. This is our final act to give Frodo time — time to end the evil that marshalls before us.

We now give witness that the day of men faces the final test. The eye of Sauron will be upon us, mistaking our audacity for power.

We must hold his gaze long enough for the unthinkable to become real. For hope to conquer all.

At first, the Dude gave me only the part of this quote about audacity — that evil would mistake it for power. And I was disappointed. Where is the inspiration in that?

But it’s all in the context: sometimes we are powerless; sometimes we do confront circumstances and opposition that are overwhelming. I loved Lord of the Rings for the reminder that it is a great honor to give your all on the side of good, standing against evil, even if it costs you everything. And even the weakest among us has a part to play.

You just have to go with Gimli! “Certainty of death! Small chance of success. . .What are we waiting for?” There’s audacity!

(Thx for LOTR transcript.)