Monday, December 20, 2010

The Pride of Lowell, MA

In July 1978, Dick "Dicky" Ecklund, a welterweight boxer, knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard and was dubbed the "Pride of Lowell," a suburb outside Boston.  Fast forward to 1993 and director David O. Russell's film The Fighter  picks up the story of Dicky (Christian Bale) and his younger brother Micky "Irish" Ward (Mark Wahlberg) who is now the boxer in the family.  Although Micky is training, a camera crew is following Dicky presumably to document his "come back."  In reality, the camera crew is making a documentary about crack and crack addicts.  And so we gain entree into Dicky's potent drug addiction and the dysfunctional family dynamic that keeps Micky from becoming a great fighter.  And so Micky is forced to choose between his career and his family.  In addition to dramatizing the family relationships (and like all good movies about boxers), there are great fight scenes culminating in one of  Ward's victorious title fights.  Christian Bale, I think, turns in one of the best performances of the year.  His Dicky is manic, pathetic, endearing and maddeningly frustrating all at the same time.  Melissa Leo also gives a strong performance as the family matriarch in complete denial about her eldest son and blind to the needs of her youngest son.  Wahlberg, as always, holds his own. Be sure to watch the credits to get a peek at the real Dicky and Micky.

In the meantime, enjoy Micky's fight song:


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