I hate boxing movies, and for a very odd reason. It’s because they are so often so damn good. They tell compelling stories, and actors seem drawn to them and often outdo themselves when they are cast. Which means that, come Oscar time, there are frequent nominations … and I have to see the damn things! It’s not the acting, it’s not the writing, it’s not the direction that I hate, in fact I frequently love them. It’s the goddam boxing! They used to call it “the sweet science,” for no rational reason I have ever seen. I guess a lot of people still do, as I know that a big bout in Vegas draws sell-out crowds. But all that takes place way off my radar screen. In a good year, I might not even hear of a boxer or a match, much less watch one. There is absolutely no attraction for me in seeing two men (or two women: Million Dollar Baby) pound each other senseless. But if you are a movie fan I’m sure you can come up with at least a dozen “classic” movies about boxers. I won’t bother to make a list. So I saw this one, mostly because Melissa Fucking Leo won a fucking Oscar in it—and used the F-word in her fucking acceptance speech.
This one was even more horrific than most, because it was easy to see why this poor jerk went into the ring. It was a lot quieter, safer, and less stressful than living with his nightmare mother and four harridan sisters. (Or was it five? They were all screeching at once, who could tell?) Yes, yes, yes, the acting was first-rate, but the movie was exhausting. If you’re a sweet scientist, see it. If you’re not, you’ve been warned.