Monday, July 03, 2006

Cinderella Man good Independence Day weekend viewing

Thanks to HBO, I believe I've pieced together enough segments of Cinderella Man to now lay claim to seeing the entire movie. I'm glad I did. The story of James Braddock is certainly worth re-telling today. I also thought Russell Crowe and Renee Zellweger were superb in their roles as Jimmy and Mae Braddock. Paul Giamotti deserved his Oscar nomination for playing Braddock's manager, Joe Gould, and I liked Craig Bierko's portrayal of Max Baer, even though Baer's son, Max Jr., says the movie exagerrated the heavyweight's cavalier attitude.

What I found most striking about the movie was the values of the Braddocks. They believed in working hard and taking care of the family. Whether working in the ring or slaving away at the docks, Braddock knew his success would mean success for his family. Even after retiring from the ring, Braddock continued working and even started a successful business. He served well during World War II as well, neither is reenacted in the movie.

I also appreciate the vivid boxing scenes set in the 1930s, a time when boxing rivaled baseball as the most popular sport in America. The fight scenes showed how much drama could be packed into a three-minute round.

Too bad it didn't perform as well as expected at the box office, but I highly recommend a holiday viewing of Cinderella man.

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