To start out this post, I have to say this: as far as actors go, Mark Wahlberg is pretty much at the bottom of my list. I think I even prefer Keanu Reeves to him, mainly because Reeves has the Matrix and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure to his credit. Mark Wahlberg couldn’t act well if someone held a gun to his head and ordered him to. He’s a vacuum of talent in every single movie he is in. And he’s not even that good looking, so I just don’t understand why he’s still in movies.
But somehow, through some miracle, The Fighter was still a good movie even with Wahlberg’s presence. But let me clarify: the movie was not good because of Wahlberg. The only reason the movie wasn’t dragged down with Wahlberg’s incompetence was because of the grand performances of Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, and especially Christian Bale. Without these impeccable actors to save the movie, it never would have been so successful. There is a reason Christian Bale got an Oscar and Mark Wahlberg did not. It’s because you have no fucking range!
The Fighter, directed by David Russel, was released in 2010. This sports drama was based on the life of Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his relationship with his brother, Dickey Eklund (Christian Bale). Micky and Dicky (I have to say, their real mother was cruel to name her sons that. It makes me think they are animated ducklings.) are both boxers, but Micky has always been fighting in Dicky’s shadow, even when Dicky becomes addicted to crack. While Dicky is supposed to be Micky’s trainer, he is always showing up late. And Micky’s manager, his mother (Melissa Leo) does not serve his best interest. It’s not until Micky has the strength of his love for Charlene (Amy Adams) on his side (note my sarcasm) and Dicky runs on the wrong side of the law that Micky wakes up to just how much his family has damaged his career. After Dicky goes to jail, Micky fights to get out from under his family’s thumb and have a real chance at boxing.
One thing that I really loved about this movie was how it conveys very convincing family issues. You think your family is dysfunctional? Just watch this movie and you can gain perspective. Dicky and Micky have seven sisters for Christ sake. I have two, and that is difficult enough at times. How these guys made it out of their house without going batshit crazy is completely beyond me.
Also, Christian Bale’s performance is impeccable. Every other role I’ve seen him in, he’s usually very intense and dark. He completely transformed himself in this role. I didn’t even recognize him at first, his mannerisms were so different. There was a great scene after Dicky gets out of jail. He walks down a street and his eyes are veiled and he looks so angry and yet morose that I got chills. Melissa Leo also did a great performance. She very convincingly played a crazy mother, something I always appreciate, because I have one of my own (Love you Mom!) I also really enjoyed what Amy Adams did. Seeing her transform from a wide-eyed Disney Princess into a cussing bartender who is pulling out other girls’ hair was quite entertaining.
My complaint, other than Mark Wahlberg, obviously, is that I felt the fights, especially the championship fight, was unrealistic. Now, as a clumsy ball-shy klutz, I don’t play any sport of any kind, not even beer pong even though I’m a college student (mainly because I don’t like beer, and come on, you think just dipping the ping pong ball in the same cup of water over and over makes it sanitary? I do not believe you!). So I could be completely wrong about this, but for me, the idea that Micky would suddenly get better based on something inspiring his brother said just doesn’t seem realistic. No matter what my soccer coach said to me, I never got good. Of course, I was eight, but that is neither here nor there.
For some amazing acting and giving me the opportunity to see Christian Bale jump out of a two story window and land in a pile of garbage twice just so his character could escape his mother, I give this movie a 7 out of 10. And please stop using Mark Wahlberg, David Russel. He’s not wine. He’s not getting any better with age.