I've been like a ghost this month, disappearing and then reappearing like some sort of phantom and tossing my movie list aside like spoiled garbage. Hopefully, though, I'm now here to stay- because I think the bulk of my hard work for the year is over...anything could happen still, but I'm staying optimistic.
What a way to bring it back. Million Dollar Baby(2004) surpassed my expectations in every way and forever redefined a sports movie in my mind. Though it started out slow (slow enough to make me consider turning it off and going to bed like a sane person), it soon erupted into an exciting, endearing drama soaring so far beyond a boxing story that I could hardly even recognize it at all. Eventually, the film took a shock-turn into heartbreaking territory and basically took my soul out and stomped on it...but that was surprisingly alright with me, because it ended so beautifully and sadly that I could accept the fact that I felt like I had just watched a puppy get drowned.
Let me just say that Clint Eastwood is the man. I'm pretty sure he can do absolutely anything in this world...maybe he could be the next president, or take up chainsaw juggling, or cook with Emeril- and he'd be awesome at any of it. As if his flawless directing wasn't enough of a contribution, Mr. Eastwood had to score the thing, produce it, and last but not least, give the most stirring performance in the whole movie from his perch as the lead actor. When do you think he sleeps? Watching his hardened Frankie Dunn crack with paternal affection for his protege Maggie (adoringly personified by Hilary Swank) made me melt, and his emotional display during the viciously tragic ending (which I won't spoil for anybody who hasn't seen this one yet) just about killed me.
But we musn't forget about Ms. Swank, because she was undeniably brilliant as well in her portrayal of Maggie, the impoverished yet brave welterweight boxer who fights her way into our hearts in this film. She has this dopey charm working in her favor...and you have got to give the girl props for allowing herself to go an entire film without looking attractive in a single shot. That takes guts for sure.
Anyway, while I'm on this Clint Eastwood kick, I think it'd only be fitting if I looked into his bright future for just a minute. Currently, he's got a biopic in the works starring Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover, throwing in Armie Hammer and Damon Herriman to fill the other leads. This latest directorial effort, titled J. Edgar, is expected to be released in 2012. There are also rumors churning around out there that he could play maestro to the third remake of A Star is Born, projected to feature Beyonce Knowles and to hit theaters in 2012. Either of those (the former moreso than the latter) will certainly find an eager, expectant fan in me.