Thursday, June 02, 2005

Cinderella Man

Starring Russel Crowe, Renee Zellwegger and Paul Giamatti.

I've been in Tinsel Town USA for a week and a half now and I can tell you that life in LA is only the dream for a precious few. Lost life here is often at it's shallowest and most needlessly complicated. Sometimes I wonder why anyone pays all these people to run around in circles, star calling agent, agent calling publicist, publicist calling tabloid and stars reading tabloid.

Then I slough my 45 minutes through traffic to the Mann Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard and I remember why this town can support ten million people. Cinderella Man did more than I expected it ever would. A packed house full of jaded media and industry insiders sat in their seats captivated by the true-to-life story of boxer James . Braddock which Crowe has a knack for telling as much through his quiver of countless, revealing facial expressions as he does through the words they put in his mouth. Rene Zelwegger falls on her face as a Jersey housewife with a played up accent ready more for a patronizing Broadway satire than a film of this calibre but that didn't make me care any less about the plight of this riches to rags to riches story where Braddock shatters the bones in his hand just as the great depression began.

The fight scenes are filmed beautifully enough to make you tighten your stomach at every body shot and squint your eyes as gloves fly lightening-quick toward the camera. I was dissappoited that in Crowe's fall from glory he didn't get that serious, bloody, career-ending ass whooping but he does break his hand and takes his fair share of shots through the course of this film. I guess you can't blame them for sticking with some historical accuracy but I'm sure they used the creative license with plenty other details.

Paul Giamatti is brilliant once again and perfect in the boxing manager shoes. He's strong, supporting an charasmatic in the way that you want to pull him out of Crowe's corner and put him in your own for a little pick me up and comic relief when things get tough.

Cinderella man does everthing you could ask. Your girlfriend might turn away at the fight scenes but she'll cry when the family hits rock bottom and tries to hold on to that last sliver of hope. The moral of this story is the one that keeps millions of people in their dead end jobs working nine to five for 5 days a week. It's sad for the millions who never pull tehmselves up but brilliant for the few who do. In LA, the magic isn't happening out on Hollywood Blvd or Venice Beach, it's behind closed doors where maybe these people who seem so disinterested show a little heart.


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