Thursday, January, 27, 11

I Remain Corrected

Filed under: cinema — theradishpress @ 1:20 pm
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by theradishpress

I keep thinking about The Fighter as a story about family and survival. Survival within family. And without. There is a strange comfort in seeing a true story about people – adults – who find speaking for themselves so difficult in their family’s presence. It is true what Rebecca says, we are all just children masquerading as adults. On the one hand you have this grown man who throws punches for a living. On the other hand, he is at the mercy of his fame and fortune seeking mother and delusional brother.

That is not to say that Dicky Eklund or Alice Ward are villainous. I would say they are perfect examples of why good intentions mean absolutely nothing in comparison to action. That is to say, Dicky and Alice both think they are doing what is best not only for Micky, but their family. His fighting and Dicky’s fighting is not an individual act or career, but something for everyone to benefit from. At least, that is how they see it. And Dicky truly believes he will return to the ring triumphant. Alice thinks she is doing what is best for everyone. And there is a fierce loyalty in the family. Micky’s sisters hate Charlene without meeting her, because she could break the family apart. Dicky’s drug use is ignored, perhaps falling into that state of mental reservation, where it can be pushed aside as long as it does not disturb the carefully maintained balance.

The universe has a way of toppling things, and forcing life to unravel. Sometimes tragically, sometimes mentally, sometimes physically, sometimes for the worst and sometimes for the better. Micky Ward needed to meet Charlene and needed help finding his voice in a family of so many yeasayers. Dicky Eklund needed to go to prison. And Alice Ward needed her children to question her. For me the most poignant disobedience came from Sherri Ward, one of the seven sisters. She spoke up as an ally for Micky and by protesting the others she stood up for herself. Alice threatens Sherri and changes the subject to being owed money by her daughter. She has now lost the gaggle of supporters.

I come from a family with its own culture of support and community and do not ever disobey or disrespect. I come from a tradition of secret keeping and “everything is just fine”. I don’t think adults realize how literal children can take things. And even when they don’t, their imaginations run wild. These traditions and ways of being raised stick. They are hard to break free from. I learned quickly to keep quiet and not question things. As a result, I have lost my voice in so many situations. I barely enter spaces with a voice. I compensate at times by being overly loud and obnoxious. I otherwise spend time avoiding people, canceling plans, hiding,and doing things like dropping out of school … occasionally dropping out of life. I am not sure what I think the harm would be in speaking up or speaking my mind. There is none really. It is just one pattern of many I have difficulty breaking from, and has become more of an issue with age. Maybe people fear aging because the truth keeps revealing itself more and more and it becomes less easy to hide behind immaturity.

Like so many things, and as I have said time and time again in this public space, I am working on finding my voice. I have said that before, but not really in this context. Family can be the most difficult to be honest and open with. For me anyway. I have been recently inspired by one sibling who stood up for me in a way I have never done for my siblings or myself. Here’s to hoping I don’t shut myself out.

Tuesday, January, 25, 11

I Stand Corrected

Filed under: cinema — theradishpress @ 11:12 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

by theradishpress

A while back I had said that The Fighter looked like a made for TV movie. Sentimental dribble practically. And Amy Adams had yet to impress me. All this based on the trailer. Okay, the Amy Adams thought was based on her movies I had seen. Some time passed, some people I trusted saw it and enjoyed it. Spike Jonze called on people to see the film, not as a favor to David O. Russell, but as a friend and believer in its brilliance as a film (slashfilm). I had known that I would eventually see the movie, if not for anything other than Christian Bale.

I decided I did want to see this movie. Sunday I did. Bale did not disappoint. I could have watched him as Dicky Eklund for two straight hours and not grown tired. Melissa Leo amazed me as the overbearing and at times pathetic matriarch of a working class family grasping at fame and fortune. Mark Wahlberg, as my friend Rebecca pointed out, did no grand-standing or space taking. He clearly understood this film was not about him as Micky Ward, but about a family and a community. And Amy Adams, she proved me wrong. I was impressed with her subtle performance as Charlene. She was powerful and quietly the hero of the story. She helped guide Ward to his destiny.

Part of what really drew me into the story and the film is that abso-fucking-lutely everyone involved did a stellar performance. No single actor tried to take attention or inserted themselves over anyone else. It really came across as a collaborative effort. And it really came across is a dysfunctional functioning family. The Eklund/Ward sisters are maybe the best example of actors working together and taking cues from each other. They were believable. They were sincere. It was as if watching a single celled organism move fluidly across the screen. One of my favorite scenes was when Alice Ward and her daughters confront Micky and Charlene. One mass of family attacked a potential threat to their status quo. They act with the only prompt of defense.

Like the HBO special about the harm of crack addiction and its toll on Dicky, but that Dicky seems to sincerely believe is about his life as a boxer and will prompt a comeback, we the viewer learn that The Fighter is not about boxing. As the truth of the HBO special is revealed, the viewer is reminded that we too are not seeing what we may have thought. Before seeing the film I thought about the choice of title: The Fighter. It could easily be The Boxer, or some title with Ward’s name, but Ward is not the only fighter and this is not a boxing story. It is a story about community and choices and survival. I am happy Bale, Adams, and Leo have all been nominated, and as supporting cast. I don’t see any single lead. And it really is about time Bale won.



Friday, September, 17, 10

Can We All Just Agree that Christian Bale is One of the Greatest Actors EVER?

Filed under: cinema — theradishpress @ 11:24 am
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by theradishpress

Yo, Marky Mark imma let you finish, but Christian Bale had one of the best performances of all time!

This movie does not even look that great to me. I do not understand the whole “Amy Adams” is incredible crap. She is not all that great. And she was in Leap Year (I know you were in it too Matthew Goode. I don’t easily forgive and I never forget*). And Julie and Julia. What an overrated turd. My thoughts on her aside, The Fighter does not look all that original and I am pretty sure I can just pop in Ali, Cinderella Man, or Invincible for the same general effect. Loser proves he’s not really a loser and everyone is happy and crying. Or maybe it has some Million Dollar Baby twist. Only, instead of Mickey Ward (Marky Mark) getting paralyzed, he paralyzes another fighter but falls in love with him. Or it takes a whole other kind of turn and he has to fight a raptor and the raptor rips his face to shreds, but he survives and then his girlfriend (Amy Adams) has to decide if she can live with a raptor shred-faced man. She of course leaves him for the raptor!

What was my point? Right, Christian Bale is why I will see this movie. He literally transforms himself into characters. He is clearly not entirely sane and that makes him an incredible actor. Would you ever guess from that trailer that he is not from the US? Would you ever guess that he is really good looking and not a waif? No. You would not know these things. And for those of you who have not taken the time to rewind and see him in things before Batman Begins (assuming you did not know who he was until that movie.) do it now! Even Little Women. Yes, I love that movie. Watch Little Women, then Empire of the Sun, then The Machinist, then Batman Begins (again) and tell me he cannot act. I won’t listen to you, but tell me anyway.

*I actually have a terrible memory.

ps – I just noticed I put quotes around Amy Adams’ name when I meant to put them around “is incredible”. I am leaving it this way.

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