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Million Dollar Baby post release thread
#1
SPOILERS

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I saw this movie last night at the Philly Ritz and I have to say...

Big Freakin Deal

Its a slow paced version of Rocky with a Bra that turns into the Christopher Reeve story in the last 30 minutes. The end was depressing and made even less sense than the end to Mystic River.

A few points:

-Why is Morgan Freeman getting Oscar buzz? All he did was speak in a garbled voice and clean a gym.

-Clint Eastwood has never been known to be a great actor, but he was good in this film.

-Hillary Swank gave the only true "Oscar" performance in the film.

- I did like the actor who played the retarded boxer, Danger.
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#2
Danger was the only dumkb part in the film.
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#3
It was another knockout punch for Clint Eastwood. Better than Mystic River but still not Unforgiven. But it's close.

Clint's simple techniques to filmmaking are to be admired. I think he's the only who can get away with it. But he does it extremely well. I can't say enough good things about this films except that the last 25 minutes or so are straight Oscar formulaic filmmaking. Any other film, I'd be pissed about that. But because of these great trio of characters and this story, I'll give it a pass. I was just so drawn into the story.

The film I want to win Best Picture isn't even being considered but if I had to choose an alternate, Million Dollar Baby would be it in spades.
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#4
Saw it last week and loved it. I really don't see the comparison to Rocky at all (besides the boxing stupid). Very moving film. Hilary Swank deserves the Oscar. Also found the cinematography awesome, there is a scene where Morgan Freeman is watching Hilary Swank hit the punching bag and is standing just outside the radius of the light above the bag, all you can see of him is from his massive arms folded across his chest down...I thought it was a very cool shot.

On a side note, is it just me or is Clint Eastwood the coolest mother fucker of all time? At 74 he still looks like he could bag my Mom in a sec. Cool. Mother. Fucker.

...eww.
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#5
I agree that Clint Eastwood is still the coolest motherfucker around. I think that this message board post pretty much sums up my problems with the movie...

What the fuck are these critics smoking? I really can't understand what the hype is about. I think it's great that a supposed hard-nosed older gentleman who's been burned once too many times before learns to love again through the aid of a surrogate daughter. I also thought it was great when I saw the same thing in 'Man On Fire' and about one-third of all of the movies I've ever seen. This movie boils over with cliche.

The writing was consistently contrived and nauseating. The whole relationship between Swank and her mother was just over the top. Virtually ripped completely from classics such as 'Joe Dirt' no less. I half expected Ben Affleck to show up and flash his pearly whites and proceed to molest the mother with animal cookies. Her actions become more absurd every time she's onscreen. There's a scene in a hospital (you'll never guess where the mom went before she got there) that's so over-the-top that it plays like an SNL sketch. The cinematography was nothing to write home about either. The contrast was way too high. A lot of the time I felt like I was watching a blue & white movie.

About the big twist... (MAJOR SPOILER WARNING) Granted it was the only unexpected thing in this movie (of course if I could expect that sort of fantastic bullshit, I would have also expected Old Yeller to come back as a claymation ghost at the end of the movie). For Eastwood to have to prove his new-found love for his surrogate daughter by killing her, oh, the irony and genius of it all. If only someone hadn't inexplicably thrown a chair on its side into the ring during the fight. Blah, blah, blah. So in conclusion, here's why it can be considered oscar material: (1) For best picture/director, he's Eastwood and he's probably owed in the minds of those out of touch with reality. (2) Oscar loves a retard and virtually every actor who plays one is nominated for something, so it's quite surprising there weren't at least two in this movie. (3) Oscar loves when a pretty girl uglies herself up. Since Swank isn't what we might describe as classically pretty, breaking a nose should still be enough to garner a nomination for best actress. Becoming a paraplegic should be enough to guarantee her the win. Becoming an amputee should lock her in for best supporting actress as well. And becoming suicidal, well, she's all but given a lifetime achievement award. But as it stands on its own, this is truly a horrible, unoriginal picture. It's not thought provoking in the least, it doesn't offer amusement, it really has no redeeming value for anyone who's seen more than five movies in their life or a single episode of Sabrina the Teenaged Witch.

And that is why it doesn't play well to the common folk. Because word of mouth has no interest in promoting something we've all seen time and time again and can see by buying an old dvd movie on sale instead of paying through the nose just to have the rest of our face rubbed in it.
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#6
Harry Knowles hates "Million Dollar Baby" . Coming from the guy who has been trying to sell us on MIchael Bay as a great director and who loved "Alexander", I would say that is a good sign that MDB is as good as rumored.
I have not seen it since it has not opened here is Sacramento yet but I am gonna be there opening weekend.
BTW most of the negative internet rants on MDB seem suspciously to echo Harry's rant at AICN.
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#7
Saw it and it just fell flat for me. The problem with his films iare the scripts and the said predictability of them.
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#8
Like a couple of above posters, I'm also curious how this film is like Rocky, aside from the fact that it's about boxing. I suppose, then that Pulp Fiction is just The Godfather with a smarter mouth? This film has very little resemblance, visually or texturally, to Rocky.

I found this to be a very well put together film with a simple, but well told, story, and there isn't any crime in trying to do that. I was surprised, at first, by the negative reaction by folks like Harry Knowles to the film, until I thought about it and realized that this is the guy who creamed his jeans over Blade Trinity. He's the wrong audience for this kind of movie, the same way that I'm probably the wrong audience for Blade Trinity, since I insist on logical human behavior in my stories that is supported by some kind of pychology or recognizable, earthly motivations, instead of a series of random events put together just because they "Look Awesome!"

True, there were a few things I thought were stacking the deck a little too much, like the mother going to Disneyland before seeing her daughter in the hospital, but overall I was happy to see a film where the director actually HELD A SHOT FOR MORE THAN FIVE SECONDS and directed fight sequences with respect for the rules of geometry and physics. I think Eastwood is enjoying the peak of his abilities as a filmmaker and I wouldn't complain about it if he got a nomination tomorrow morning.
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#9
while i might be able to understand why people are confused at all the hype .. i have to say it was a great little movie. shot and directed with style. Clint's not about pulling down curtains or pushing envelopes. but he's just too damn easy to watch. i loved the high contrast cinematography. made it seem almost noirish.

clint's directing style is so relaxed, so assured.. he makes it seem effortless.
i enjoyed this a lot more than mystic river, which i thought had an ending completely out of place with it's aesthetic. like someone switched the channel 5 minutes before the end.
anyhow...
this was just good old fashioned moviemaking. a moving story well told.

and clint's music composition is also coming into its own.

hats off to the man from me
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#10
I thought M$B was a very good film, but I saw a lot of movies last year that were better. I'd have no problem at all with Swank winning Best Actress, though.
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#11
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nordling

I thought M$B was a very good film, but I saw a lot of movies last year that were better. I'd have no problem at all with Swank winning Best Actress, though.

ditto.

I liked it. But I couldn't love it. Compared to Mystic River, this is a masterpiece. I still don't understand the love for that one. Swank was at her best. This performance undoubtedly overshadows her Boys Don't Cry role. Clint is a great actor, a very good director, and apparently a less-than-spectacular film composer. I reminded myself to stay and see who did the music because I did not like it. So sorry, Mr. Eastwood, you should have hired a professional in my mind.

Freeman was good, but he's played that role before. It will be a shame if this film wins anything other than Best Actress. There is enough out there that is better.

And man, rednecks f*cking suck. And so does Universal Studios.
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#12
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stuber

ditto.

I liked it. But I couldn't love it. Compared to Mystic River, this is a masterpiece. I still don't understand the love for that one. Swank was at her best. This performance undoubtedly overshadows her Boys Don't Cry role. Clint is a great actor, a very good director, and apparently a less-than-spectacular film composer. I reminded myself to stay and see who did the music because I did not like it. So sorry, Mr. Eastwood, you should have hired a professional in my mind.

Freeman was good, but he's played that role before. It will be a shame if this film wins anything other than Best Actress. There is enough out there that is better.

I totally agree. this is a well made film but it isn´t anything special. Also I didn´t like the voiceover by Morgan Freeman. Hopefully Sideways or The Aviotor will win best picture.
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#13
Saw it yesterday and thought it was pretty damn powerful. I have the same nitpicks as everyone else regarding Danger and Freeman, but the realationship between Frankie and Maggie is so compelling I can forgive them.

I don't ever remember feeling such rage and hatred towards a character in a film as I did towards Maggie's family.
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#14
Everyone in this movie who wasn't one of the three leads was a freakin' cartoon character. And I don't usually say that. But I kept expecting certain characters to pull out giant mallets and start hitting each other on the head. It was such an awful contrast with the grittiness of the main plot, too.

Danger and Maggie's ludicrously greedy and selfish redneck family were the worst offenders, but don't forget the wacky, hapless priest, the bully boxer, and the EEEEEEEEEEVIL Blue Bear (When she first started walking down the aisle in her EEEEEEEVIL dark outfit and the "ominously sinister" music started playing, I couldn't help but laugh). (And I love how they made her a former prostitute, just to add that subtle extra touch of sliminess to a character who otherwise would have been morally impeccable.) (And someone please explain to me how someone who commits major violations and infractions in seemingly EVERY bout gets to be world champion?) (And would it have killed them to add a line about how she was being prosecuted or disbarred or something after what happened?)

Argh. I give props to Eastwood (and Freeman and Swank) for salvaging parts of this movie, but this thing should not in a million years be an Oscar contender.
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#15
Juat saw this. It was alright. Time for some bullet points.

-The tone was all over the place. The early scenes in the gym felt like a sitcom.

-The Danger subplots were beyond useless.

-Swank was the best part of the movie. Whenever she was onscreen, I was actually glad I was in the theatre watching this.

-It needed more stuff like the broken nose scene. The harsh realities of boxing are interesting, not the cartoon trailer trash family melodrama.

-The Morgan Freeman narration killed many scenes dead. "And then, he sat down in the chair. And he sat. You see, sitting on chairs...is backwards. It should be the chair that sits on YOU, not the other way around. Sitting is backwards."

-Gaelic.

-Clint's little cinematic flourishes are just plain bizarre. The digital zoom into the guy's cheek at the beginning, the POV shots, etc. Mystic River has plenty of these too, like the gunshot/fade to white/cut to Sean Penn drunk on the street.

-The montages were awful. "OK, I guess I will train you after all-" BAM! Montage. "-Wow, thanks for training me Clint! We've been through so much together, these past few montages."

-"That was a good fight. Time to conquer Europe!" *MONTAGE* Morgan Freeman: "And so, she fought her way across Europe! You see, Europe is backwards..."
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#16
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kyle Reese

The harsh realities of boxing are interesting, not the cartoon trailer trash family melodrama.

that was my biggest gripe, the trailer trash family was so cartoonish that it just made me think 'lame' rather than get angry like the movie was trying to make you with that scene.
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#17
It's a really powerful, sad movie. And actually, I think Clint did as good a job as Hillary did - really. His character has more of an emotional arc than Maggie does, and changes the most from the start to the end of the film. Frank sort of drives the film along, with Morgan Freeman of course. (how could anyone dislike a Morgan Freeman narration??)
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#18
I saw this last night. It was good, but not my favorite of the year. Strong performances and an interesting story were bogged down by unneeded supporting characters like Danger and the trailer trash family. Swank deserves to win Best Actress, but I don't think Clint should win Best Actor, as his performance here was far from his best. I actually liked the Morgan Freeman character, but the fact that both he and Clint spoke with those scratchy voices was kind of annoying.
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#19
Best of the year. Low-key acting and direction, Clint's specialty. Really surprised by the number of knocks it's getting on these boards, but I'd say it's odds-on to win Oscars. If the critics are smoking something, then there must be a lot of funny stuff going around.

Agree with Nick that Danger was kind of silly, but he didn't take away from the movie.

Don't see how the priest was 'wacky' or 'helpless.' He was a good guy, but unable to help Clint resolve his problem. Maggie's family was somewhat one-dimensional, but more than a few people are like that in real life. It was truly pathetic how her Mom tried to exploit her, yet I don't doubt it happens.
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#20
Somewhat one-dimensional?
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#21
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kevin Matchstick

Somewhat one-dimensional?

"You need to put the pen in her mouth, mama."
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#22
All the old people and middle aged suburbanites in the audience completely lost it during the priest scenes. I'm starting to think this was a movie made by old people, for old people.
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#23
Quote:

Originally Posted by Kyle Reese

I'm starting to think this was a movie made by old people, for old people

who don't know poor people.
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#24
I finally got to see it today and found it highly moving, I can see why it beat out The Aviator. Hilary Swank put in an amazing performance, I just loved watching her box and just destroying the competition until she moved up to the big leagues. When Maggie finally got to face the champion, I felt immense anticipation at the outcome, I haven't felt that in ages and then Clint basically pulls the rug from under our feet and the movie keeps getting darker and more depressing, just when you think it can't get any more depressing, it does.

I must admit, there was an immense amount of satisfaction watching Morgan Freeman put that punk on his ass before finally saying 'get a job, punk', it was contrived but it felt good. I think the scene where Maggie asks Frankie to put her out of her misery and then has that monologue about people chanting her name is just absolutely riveting. I'd put this up there with Raging Bull.
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#25
I finally got my ass to the theater to see this tonight, and I pretty much loved it. It's such a small, simple film that's elevated to greatness by the sheer ability of three actors, Swank in particular. Just a goddamn relevatory performance. I completely fell for Maggie, which is why the film worked so well for me. The climactic scene where Frankie pulls the plug on her is one of the most devastating bits of film I've ever seen, from him finally telling her what the Gaelic meant to the absolutely crushing look on Maggie's face as she looks into Frankie's eyes for the last time. Definitely the most affecting film I've seen since BIG FISH.

THE AVIATOR is still the finer picture in my opinion, though.
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