|What the hell, movie poster??|
"Duhrr, I wonder if he wins??"
I think I was able to get past those three deal-breakers because of the presence of Marky Mark "Wahlberg." If I had told the early-90s incarnation of me that I'd grow to like Marky Mark as an actor 15 or 20 years in the future, I'd tell myself that I didn't know what I was talking about, since I didn't know who Marky Mark was, let alone who the Funky Bunch were. I was 11 when "Good Vibrations" came out, and I guess I wasn't into that kind of music. I'd probably have more easily identified the Beach Boys' song by the same name.
But then the 2012 version of me would show the 1991 Sitzman this video:
(Sorry, but I've just got to say it: the Funky Bunch's version sounds nothing like the Beach Boys' original version; this must be one of the worst covers in the history of music.) Anyhow, 1991 Sitzman would say, "He's so stupid," since 1991 Sitzman had a less-developed vocabulary. But what he'd mean would be this: "There's no way in hell that meat head will ever become a popular actor." But he would become very popular indeed, and I'd be proven wrong. The whole time traveling thing would also unravel part of the space-time continuum, but there'd be no way my 11-year-old self would be able to understand the implications of that (but I would be impressed with the explanation "It's sort of like Back to the Future").
Where was I going with this? Oh yes. Marky Mark "Wahlberg" is by far the actor that I've been most disappointed with myself for liking. Even more so than his fellow rapper Will Smith (since he's good in some movies) and Leonardo DiCaprio (since I still don't like him). But Marky delivers another fine performance in this movie, and Amy Adams even managed to be unobjectionable. Christian Bale was also very good, but almost too good, where you get to the point of wondering if he gets so much into character that he'll eventually lose his mind. Same thing happens when I see Daniel Day-Lewis and, to a lesser extent, Val Kilmer.
Still, the most stirring and disturbing performances in the movie were by the fighters' mom and two or three dozen sisters. All of them were completely insane from hair spray poisoning, and every time they were onscreen it made me want to cover my eyes and watch the movie through a crack in my fingers. I almost can't believe that those women were acting, and if they weren't, well... that's even scarier.
So yep, I liked the movie well enough. I'm glad I saw it, and I'm even gladder that it didn't have much boxing, especially considering it was a movie called "The Fighter." The New England accents weren't as grating as I had thought, and for at least half of Amy Adams' screen time, she was either in underwear or shirts that accentuated her cleavage. By no means am I down with the objectification of women, of course, but apparently director David O. Russell is down with it. So as most people were thinking, "Hey, I think you can see her nipples through that semi-transparent bra," I was patiently recalling the words of several prominent literary theory authors about the degrading nature of women's roles in modern movies. It was a nice mental exercise to keep my mind fresh.
I give the movie 12 stars (out of 17).