A movie review by Mr. Matthew Phinney:
Universal (June 3, 2005)
Cast: Philip Craig, Russell Crowe, Eric Fink, Paul Giamatti, Mark Simmons
Director: Ron Howard
Let’s get “Cinderella Man” underway. Round 1:
Being a boxer, it’s often difficult to watch a boxing movie for the entertainment and not get sucked into how wonky the actual boxing looks. That being said, I was pleased to see some epic, old-timey knuckle-chuckin’ on screen.
The story is an American classic. The epic, comeback story of heavyweight boxer, James J. Braddock, during the time of the Great Depression. This film is chock-full of good fights (seriously) and inspiration. I’ve seen this flick more than a handful of times and I still get goosebumps from several moments during the film.
Set in the time when boxers were walking mugs of salt and badassery, Braddock (Crowe) exudes what it is to be a man among men with his “do whatever it takes” demeanor and the humble, strong work ethic that those with such confidence possess.
But he’s got help: the literal man in his corner, Joe Gould. Gould’s (Giamatti) cunning instinct for survival, animated corner antics and unwavering belief and love for Jim makes him a top contender for a favorite character award. Mae (Zellweger) has got her man’s back, suffers the circumstances with head held high for the love of her man and family. Seriously, that’s a class of woman who out-values any amount of gold. Max Baer (Bierko) was actually a great guy and exceptional human being in reality. He still beat the bag out of more than a few Joe’s in the ring, sure. We’ll let the dramatic embellishments slide for sake of a good villain.
At a solid 2 hours and 25 minute runtime, Cinderella Man keeps the viewer’s attention and delivers a (don’t say it. Don’t. Say it.) 1-2 punch (Mother******!) of true story drama and real-life characters we’re excited to get behind.
On the 1-5 rating scale I give this move a strong four, not quite tipping that scale to a five.
This humble critic’s recommendation is to grab a PBR and settle in for a tough punching, American tale, chock-full of the grit and determination that this country was built upon.
**Easter egg: HoF Boxing Trainer Angelo Dundee is in Braddock’s corner. Dundee has trained numerous world champions, but is most notably the trainer of a one Cassius Clay/ Muhammed Ali.**
Affectionately called Guttas. Born and raised Boston, MA. Currently living in Albuquerque, NM. Two-time Golden Gloves boxing champion. New England Invitational boxing champion. Winner of the Discovery Channel’s boxing TV show ‘The Fighters’. Head coach to UFC top 10 middleweight fighter, Jorge Rivera. Instructor for RangerUp’s Train the Troops tour training US Marines at Pendleton, Miramar, and Yuma. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor. Mentored by George Hand in the art of operations against human trafficking. Movie buff. Wine Enthusiast.
Image courtesy of Universal Pictures.