Cinderella Man Will
Knock You Out
from the Very First
by The Maven
and The Blonde
There has not been a greater fight than the fight
between Max Baer and James J. Braddock, with the
exception of The Blonde and The Maven fighting over who
gets Brad Pitt after his separation from
Whether you are reliving this
story or visiting it for the first time, knowing the
ending doesn't spoil the drama. Ron Howard (AGAIN)
brings another rousing HIT to the silver screen with
this story of Depression-era boxer who is given a second
chance at his profession (Damon Runyon named Braddock
the “Cinderella Man” for that reason). Russell Crowe
(Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind) plays James J.
Braddock, a decent, conscientious family man who is on
his way up in the boxing world when the Depression hits
and he suffers a broken right hand. He loses his
fabulous house, all his investments, but not his
integrity. James' tough, devoted wife Mae, played by
Renée Zellweger (Cold Mountain and Bridget Jones'
Diary), manages to keep the home fire burning
(literally) while trying to hang on to her dignity
throughout her family’s hardships. Renée takes what
could have been a thankless role and gives it life,
showing Mae as MORE than just a supporting wife. The
pivotal role in this film is Paul Giamatti (Sideways and
Private Parts) as Braddock's fight manager, Joe Gould.
He's a bundle of brash humor and scrappiness, with
tenderness and a big heart thrown in. Joe's loyalty to
Braddock enables the fighter to return to the ring. The
standout of this film is the Depression. Cinematographer
Salvatore Totino's camera-eye showed the grittiness of
this era. As in Apollo 13, even though you know the
facts, Howard's directing of Akiva Goldman and Cliff
Hollingsworth's screenplay and some fabulous acting
enable you to be drawn into these characters and care
for their stories. Prepare yourselves to enjoy every
Blonde: Cinderella Man was like Rocky (all of them)
meets Million Dollar Baby, meets Raging Bull. Okay,
okay, okay … I have to begin by stating that I don't
even like boxing and, before this film, I wasn't too
fond of Russell Crowe. Furthermore, I am totally fed up
with Renée and how she can gain 50 pounds for a film and
seem to loose it all in two weeks. NOW, that said, this
BRILLIANT film—in the words of Renée in the film Jerry
Maguire—“had me at hello!” By the by, they gave her
another 'all time classic line' to say in this film,
(which almost mad me gag on my popcorn, it was so
SWEET): “You are the champion of my heart.” OH MAVEN,
HOLD ME UP! It even topped “You complete me,” also from
Jerry Maguire. Renée played a “stand by your man”
character in this film. I must say, though, this film
was over the top fantastic in every way a film should
Maven: Ron Howard is a most amazing director. He managed
to bring this story to the screen without too much
sappiness, and I think that showed admirable restraint.
Not since Rocky have I felt the urge to stand up and
cheer, it's such a feel-good movie.
Blonde: I too cannot rave enough about Ron Howard's
extraordinary talent and sensitivity as a director.
Cinderella Man is up there with his finest, if not his
best work to date. I loved how he interjected x-rays, as
bones were being broken during a fight. Very effective
and clever. I also must give it up for Paul Giamatti! I
wasn't too happy (as you readers well know) with all the
undeserved Oscar hype his film Sideways got. However, he
WAS stupendous in this film. All the characters were
perfectly cast and delivered superb acting performances.
I SMELL MANY WELL-DESERVED OSCAR NOMINATIONS HERE! O-
for outstanding, S- for stunning, C- for creative, A-
for amazing and R- for riveting! By the way, Mav, don't
you think Renée has a Shirley Temple (the woman) smile?
Maven: NO… I DON"T! Moving on, I felt the editing was
superb. Switching camera angles from fighter to third
person kept the action level high. Can you imagine how
much more of the fight scenes are on the cutting room
floor? I smell a special edition DVD in the works for
the Oscar-winning film.
The Blonde: Well,
at least an Oscar-winning hopeful! We are doing a lot of
smelling; I think we might be hungry or something.
Speaking of hopeful, I just love nepotism! Ron finds a
role for his brother in every film he has ever made!
I wish Ron was MY brother! Continuing on, I
thought the line in the movie, “Our country is dropping
its care of the middle class,” is so ironic in today's
Review continued on bottom
Maven: OH, NO YOU DON'T! DON'T EVEN THINK OF GOING
Blonde: WHATEVER!!! FINE!!
Maven: NOW, speaking of nepotism, the ring announcer at
the end of the Baer/Braddock fight, was Rance
Blonde: I wish Ron was MY son! Howard's stellar
directing puts you inside of the story. You feel the
pain, the emotions, the drama, the characters’ passions,
hopes and fears. He uses amazing filming techniques,
unique close-ups, segueways, fitting emotional music, a
Depression-esque coloring of the film, right on sound
effects, and period costumes. Speaking of which, Mav,
what do you think about all this talk regarding Deep
Throat? I don't think porno films should be discussed on
prime time television? I think it is SO TOTALLY
Maven: Deep Throat refers to the voice of THE
whistleblower who wanted to be anonymous during the
Watergate debacle, not an ADULT FILM!
Blonde: Oh, then never mind! But Mav, it's always been
common knowledge that Deep Throat is Hal Hollbrook.
Maven: He was the ACTOR who portrayed Deep Throat in All
the President’s Men. It’s scary that you can't tell
anymore which is real life or the movies! I have to
KVELL ON RUSSELL! He is able to change his very look as
well as his style to play these men's-men roles. He has
done it as the whistleblower in The Insider, a British
captain in Master and Commander, Maximus in Gladiator,
and a mathematician in A Beautiful Mind. His
performances are always top-notch.
Blonde: Maven, It would be better if you kvelled ABOUT
Russell instead of ON Russell! YOU COULD HURT THE POOR
MAN! Ya know, this film really teaches us all a
wonderful lesson about survival. No matter how bad
things are, how lost and alone you might feel, no matter
how desperate you are, no matter how starving you and
your family are, no matter how much of a struggle you
are going through living in poverty, if you believe with
all of your heart that you can become the Heavyweight
Champion of the World, then you can be! I am going out
now to train!
Maven: You are starting to sound like a Disney movie!
Blonde: Maven, I was so embarrassed the other day. I
went on a date wearing a new shirt from Bebe and I
forgot to remove the price tag. No one said anything the
whole night. I wanted to die when I got home and
realized it. Thank heaven, I paid retail and didn't get
it on sale or it would have made it even
Maven: Gee Blondie, I don't think that was nearly as bad
as when you came out of the bathroom at the movie
theater with half of your skirt up in the back, leaving
your butt exposed!
Blonde: Oh yeah, that wasn't good either! ANYWAY, I
think this is a film that everyone can enjoy. It's truly
not just a guy film. It will cheer you up and give you
hope, especially for us underdogs!
Maven: Not only is this movie for everyone, it's a great
comment on society! Only a fool thinks that a DEPRESSION
could never happen again in this country!
Blonde: SO YOU'RE ALLOWED TO GET POLITICAL AND I'M
Maven: I heartily recommend this film. It has heart,
grit, determination, and is what movies are all
about…ENTERTAINMENT! This gets an A from me for its
Artistic integrity and Realism!
Blonde: Cinderella Man is a winning film! This is what
going to the movies USED to be like and as the Mav said,
SHOULD be all about! You forget everything and all your
problems (well at least most of them) the minute it
starts. Even though you probably know how it ends, you
will be rooting and cheering, and even crying the whole
time. Let me put it this way, I bit off two fingernails,
AND IT WAS A BRAND NEW SET!! I loved this film and rate
it an A! For your movie snacks, I suggest peanut
brittle, some chocolate Turtles (the movie will explain
why) and punch to wash it all down with.
P.S.: Another fantastic movie released this week
is Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Folks, this is a
must, must see film, especially for the girls. It brings
you back in time or helps you with your teenage problems
of today. As you watch you will find that, no matter
what your age, there is much to identify with and learn
from. Laughter, joy and tears are all a part of the
emotions this film takes you through. We simply loved
it. A record weekend for The Blonde and The Maven: TWO
P.S.S.: For movies that look great coming in the
future, look for Pride and Prejudice and War of the
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