interest in Foxy Boxing is the same as everyone else's: so long
as those girls are beating the shit out of each other they won't
have time to wail on me. Really, though, when you see girls fighting
you get either "foxy" or "boxing," and never both. The girls are
hot and just sort of jump around and pretend to slap, or they're
hairy-armpitted , thick-necked bruisers who slug other women in
the face. Which is sexier? It really depends on your mood, but
you never see truly hot girls getting punched in the face. In
fact, to see that you either need to be incredibly wealthy or
the producer of a reality television show.
if Foxy Boxing is usually a misleading way to get me into a bar,
I am grateful that these ladies are off the streets. Now, if someone
could only turn watching the teen punks in the Conoco parking
lot punch each other into a bar draw, I could walk home from the
Tavern without fearing there's a 50/50 chance I'll wake up in
the gutter with "GBH" spray-painted on my forehead. Hell, if I
weren't so dedicated to keeping the Arvada economy vibrant, I
wouldn't risk life and limb every night to avoid getting drunk
alone. But, as our chamber of commerce says, "Eat and drink where
you live, and shit in Wheatridge."
Dollar Baby wasn't about Foxy Boxing. I was disappointed.
But as long as it wasn't about that, I'd have been happy if it
were a remake of Million-Dollar Duck; the story of an infant
who shits golden eggs and the hilarity that ensues. Dean Jones
would be a plus. Since that's what you probably thought it was,
too, I'll tell you it's not. And if Clint Eastwood makes a movie
called No Deposit, No Return don't go. It won't be funny.
He doesn't seem to be a very nice guy. I think he's a hermit,
or someone who wishes we could do away with words because he doesn't
like listening to all that other people say.
Dollar Baby is about ladies boxing, but it tries to dress
it up as something noble and classy, sort of like those fiberglass
Rolls Royce grills you can mount on old Volkswagen Beetles. Hilary
Swank plays a hillbilly determined to be the welterweight champion
of the world in the classy arean of women's boxing, which I assume
in real life attracts a seedier crowd than men's boxing or, say,
snuff films. In L.A., she latches onto Clint Eastwood, a down-and-out
trainer, by showing up at his gym every day until he gives in
and teaches her how to fight. Eastwood is a failed fighter, as
is his sidekick Morgan Freeman. In their past, Eastwood failed
to call a fight in which Freeman lost an eye and he blames himself
for that. He also blames himself for losing his daughter. So,
he's cautious and his tentativeness costs him chances at title
fights as the kids he trains jump ship rather than wait for him
to decide they're ready.
trains Swank, who is too old by his own admission, and she quickly
rises through the ranks, easily beating the ladies she faces until
they're shitting ovaries. And when it's time for a title bout,
Eastwood gives in and agrees to let her duke it out with a cheating
East German former prostitute. During the fight, which is typically
the moment that the fighter rises to her glory and finally achieves
her dream, something awful happens. I won't say what that is because
I don't want to get e-mail from every fucking baby in the world
who thinks his life is ruined by knowing the ending of a movie.
That would be every fucking baby who thinks that the only joy
in a movie is being "surprised". It's probably you. I'll just
say that instead of celebrating the title, Eastwood gets to feed
his guilt complex some more.
its first two-thirds, Million Dollar Baby is just a slightly
better version of the fight-movie cliche. It has the same old
scenes and characters but with better and less dialog, slower
pacing and a slightly-forced atmosphere of grit. In its last third
it is about Eastwood being an old man brooding over his failures
and the guilt he carries. It transforms into the story of what
happens when he finally lets someone into his heart after intentionally
avoiding it for so long. It's the most interesting part of the
story, even if it is overly long and a bit melodramatic. I'm not
convinced that it's great. There's too many God damn big speeches
in the last half hour designed to tell us what it all means for
it to be great.
hasn't Eastwood played a guilty old man? Even when he was young
he was old. In this movie he is relentlessly miserable. Maybe
he sees in Swank an opportunity to redeem himself by helping her
achieve her dream, only to be once again crushed under the wheels
of a bus full of failure. That is, any Greyhound.
characters are almost all deluxe versions of sports-movies stereotypes;
they talk less, are tougher and act more sour than in other movies,
but their cores are borrowed. Surrounding Eastwood as the reluctant
manager and Swank as the female Rocky are some less modified cliches.
Freeman is the wizened black man with a few twists, but not enough
to make him original or interesting. Most embarrassing to the
story is a retarded boy who dreams of boxing and who gets dragged
into the story either for comic relief or to be used as both an
on-screen and on-script punching bag. It may define nobility when
movie characters treat a retard with respect, but it's also noble
for Hollywood to make them more than convenient caricatures that
prove a protagonist's worth. The one here is treated pretty shitty
by the story. Similarly, Swank's southern family couldn't be written
any more one-dimensionally.
is surely going to win some statuettes for this shit. It's the
sort of gold-hearted hick who meets tragedy that Hollywood loves
to see portrayed far more than they like to see in reality. It's
hard for me to say if her acting is great. But I think the awards
people mostly look for tragedy anyway. Eastwood hisses every line
like he's got a hole in his throat that they're coming through.
He looks like he'd rather be speaking less, and maybe that's why
he leaves so much heavy lifting to Freeman in voiceovers. Freeman
also tries to show as little energy as possible, but that's what
the script asks for.
lighting of Million Dollar Baby becomes a joke by the halfway
point. As you watch, count how many times a character speaks either
half in/half out of shadows, or emerges from them as he speaks.
This might be an effective tool to show us conflicted souls if
used occasionally. But this whole fucking movie is shot that way.
Okay, already, we get the damn point.
Dollar Baby's an okay movie and I'm giving it Three Fingers
but it could have easily earned another one if Swank would have
crapped out a gold egg, or I hadn't been roughed up by two girls
for six bucks while walking home. Flicks that get those chicks
off the street are what we need.
Filthy || Want to tell Filthy