December 21, 2005

From Ashes …

Laurie and I watched "Cinderella Man" yesterday. I don’t particularly like boxing or movies about boxing. As Laurie put it, "when one man has to knock another man unconscious to win, I don’t like that sport". That’s exactly how I feel – it just has too much of a feel of the old bread and circuses days. And seeing all those people sitting there cheering on two people beating themselves to a bloody pulp does nothing to inspire good feelings about humanity in general – well, at least not for me:

But speaking of blood and circuses, we have General Maximus himself in "Cinderella Man". Actually, for some reason, Russell Crowe looked younger in this movie. I don’t know if anybody else thinks this but he’s got a little Mel Gibson thing going in there. See, all the Aussie actors who make it great in Hollywood have this rugged, unshaven look – think back to Mel Gibson during the Mad Max days and then there was Paul Hogan … not not the wrestler, that’s Hulk Hogan, this is the other guy – remember "Crocodile Dundee"? :p Then there’s Guy Pearce too – even he had that whole unshaven look going on. Anyway don’t know if Crowe calls himself an Aussie or a New Zelander but even when he was shaven, he’s always managed to look menacing and unshaven. Mel Gibson used to be that way and then suddenly he became everybody’s favourite baby-faced boy :p In this one, Crowe too has a completely different personna – he’s got this whole, Irish boyish charm thing going and as I said before, he actually looks younger somehow. So hence the comment about him doing a Mel Gibson.

But getting back to the movie itself, even though I hate boxing, there was the whole underlying thread of one man against all-odds that I always find irresistible. There is something about the victory of human spirit over all adversity that just appeals to me. Then there is the time period – the story is set in depression era New York and the two time periods from American history that I love the most are the pioneer "Westward Ho" days and the depression era :) Add to that the fact that you have a lot of charming characters (and some good actors too – Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti, Bruce McGill) and then it also has kids, who can resist a movie with kids? :p I loved the scene where Braddock (Crowe’s character) teaches his daughter to spar and gets smacked in the face when he looks away and where he says that he’ll have to buy some turtles if he wins the title because he told his kids that he’d come home with a title and they thought he said "turtle" :) Overall, a pretty good movie to watch!

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