Well, as much as I hate to say it... I was going in not expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised. Why, it's a movie even George Clooney might like.. or does he hang out with Marky Mark anymore? Probably not since Ocean's Eleven, huh? And lord knows who David O. Russell will be shouting at next, but he seems to have paid some dues, and he's in top form here, working with his muse Mark Wahlberg, aping Aronofsky's The Wrestler style for this Lowell, Mass. true life story. I gotta warn you, though: this is not your father's Lowell, Mass., or the relatively benign in comparison Mass. of Good Will Hunting, par exemple. In fact, I wonder if the family involved is flattered with this rather unflattering peek into their lives. Or maybe any publicity's good publicity. After all, as with the Amy Adams character, I like my life, but so far haven't gone to the big dance with it.
We start with the old Edward Burns trick from Sidewalks of New York, with actors pretending to be regular people unaccustomed to dealing with motion picture cameras, film or otherwise, as Christian Bale attempts to return to his Machinist roots, looking a bit haggard.. nay, SKELETAL. At one point, he points to the camera and asks "Do I look here? What do I..." I guess he deserved the Oscar, but we all know it was really for American Psycho. And he still has a knack for losing his accent in moments of high drama, but not too often here.
Now, you might be saying to yourself... Raging Bull, Fat City, Rocky, Ali ... I've seem 'em all, The Movie Hooligan, so why should I see this one? Well, how about a crack pipe, for one? And a proverbial Greek chorus of sisters who mostly say "skank"? I will admit, one screw-up the film makes. I forget what year it was supposed to be when Amy Adams and Mark Wahlberg first meet, but she was way WAY ahead of the curve with the Tramp Stamp... am I right or what? And you gotta like her belly; see Pulp Fiction for reference. So the Brits and the ballet chick took top acting Oscars this year, but The Fighter cleaned up in the Supports! Melissa Leo, Christian Bale... both sides of the humanity spectrum are covered, folks. And of course, those damn successful Weinsteins are in on everything. What else? The cinematography doesn't get terribly flashy, as is the custom now. And if this doesn't end up being the breakout movie for Jack McGee, nothing will. I guess he's just got one of those George Dzundza-esque faces, 'cuz I don't know him best from those four movies at the top of his IMDb page! Lemme check the list... nope, nope, Tyrannosaurus Azteca? I've eaten at Azteca and gotten their takeout many times, but... Burns in The Man Who Wasn't There? That must be where I know him from... the nail gun guy in Lethal Weapon 2! Ah, that takes me back. I better go; Dad's trying to sleep.
Good double bill with: Harsh Times, The Fighting Temptations, Fighting... what have you
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan