The Fighter; or “Rising Above White Trash”

I know most of you probably want to see a Glee post, since those have been the most viewed posts on this blog. But it’s my blog, and I don’t feel like it. So nyah. But in the interest of whoring for your love respecting my audience, here is a blurb.

Glee is exploitative. It ropes you in with catchy pop songs, retro hits, and ripoffs “homages” to classic movie/music video scenes. The characters are either incredibly inconsistent, unlikable, or boring – or some combination thereof. It’s really just a giant wank-fest that has its hooks in you and is living off the heart it showed early on. The post-Superbowl episode was incredibly boring, predictable, and lazy, and I’m done watching it.

So there. Now onto something I actually enjoyed.

The Fighter is the story of “Irish” Micky Ward, a stepping stone boxer who is capable of true greatness but is hindered by his truly atrocious white trash family. He worships his older brother Dicky (I know, isn’t that cute? ), who was once a decent boxer who may or may not have knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard but now is a coke-head mixed up with Cambodians. Emotionally, Micky is somewhat crippled from his shrieking shrew of a mother Vicky (OK not really her name is Alice) who irrationally prefers Dicky to her only other son, as well as by his ex-wife who is also quite the harridan. But when Dicky is sent to prison, Micky does the unthinkable and ditches his anchor family and gets a real manager and a real trainer who get him real (read: fair) fights, and he makes his way all the way to the top. Oh yeah and he dates Amy Adams, who is slightly less white trash on account of living in a decent house and having gone to college (although she dropped out due to too much drinking), and is now a bartender.

(For the record, I’m sorry if my… generous… usage of the term “white trash” offends anybody, but in my opinion it’s the only term that fits a family where the mom throws every pot and pan in the kitchen at her husband Ricky’s head (OK his name is George and I promise I’m done) – for having her son’s best interests at heart – or where the mom crams herself and her SEVEN 80s-haired daughters into a small car so they can scream at and beat the crap out of “uppity” Amy Adams.)

So anyway, Dicky (Christian Bale) goes to prison and gets clean. Amy Adams motivates Micky, but in the process becomes a bit like his family (“It’s them or me,” “They this and they that,” etc etc) before making peace. Micky fights in London. And they all lived happily ever after.

Let’s get to the actual review of this shindig, eh? Well for one, the acting was incredible. I’m not really one to notice normally (but I’m trying real hard to improve!), but this was really the biggest strength of the movie. And while Marky Mark did a great job as the main character, the real stars were Christian Bale and Amy Adams. Bale’s performance of Dicky was nothing short of masterful. God knows how much weight he had to lose to look like a washed up coke-head. He oscillated between High Dicky – who was incredibly hyperactive, largely incoherent, and occasionally funny – and Low Dicky – who was jittery, nervous, and depressed. He was prideful, he was stupid, he was immoral. He was a lot of things, and I found his performance to be not only excellent, but also very powerful. In fact, I would say that I was more invested in his story by the end than in Micky’s.

Similarly, Amy Adams does a phenomenal job. She maintains that atrocious Boston accent throughout the film. She’s kind of pushy, but mostly in a good way. She’s definitely jaded. She’s sassy and witty – always a plus. And she has this sort of “regular girl sexy” thing going on rather than “airbrushed model sexy,” which is refreshing. I know that doesn’t really have much to do with acting, but it adds to the character in a positive way. The thing that most struck me about the character is how vastly different she is to pretty much everything else Amy Adams has done.

The fight scenes were less than stellar in my opinion, but then again, they’re not really the point. I would gladly see fewer scenes of guys attacking each other if it meant more scenes of Dicky eschewing his crack-head friends and resolving to stay clean – for his own sake and that of his son and brother. Or more scenes of Micky torn between his mother and his girlfriend, and finally managing to speak for himself.

Overall, this is a great movie. I support its nomination as Best Picture, though I don’t expect it to win (I’m putting my money on The King’s Speech and hanging my hopes on Inception). I would whole-heartedly support Amy Adams winning Best Supporting Actress (over Helena Bonham Carter, but don’t make me choose between her and Hailee Steinfeld), and Christian Bale most definitely deserves Best Supporting Actor. The music was not overly memorable, and the cinematography was great, but nothing to write home about. It was a great movie with a great plot and some really amazing actors. Quick, see it before it leaves the theaters!

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