Koch On Film
By Ed Koch
Cinderella Man (+)
This is a feel good film that succeeds on all levels - story, script, acting and dialogue. It is stated to be the true story of Jim Braddock, the one-time heavyweight champion of the world. The meticulous renderings of the early 30s during the Great Depression make this film particularly fascinating. Fifteen million Americans were out of work at a time when our total population was less than 150 million. The detailed attention paid to the urban poverty at the time - housing, clothing, autos and class consciousness - creates the necessary mood to fully enjoy the film.
Braddock is played by Russell Crowe who has mastered a believable, although not perfect, American accent. His wife, Mae (Renee Zellweger), has all the mannerisms of a strong Irish woman holding a family together while their electricity is being turned off because of unpaid bills.
The second most encompassing and enthralling aspects of the movie are the fight scenes which, to my non-expert eye, appeared to be authentic. I am not an auteur skilled in critiquing directors but AT, who was a television director and saw the movie with me, lavished high praise on the movies director Ron Howard whom we all remember as the brilliant child star portraying the all American boy.
How Braddock at the bottom of the boxing ladder fights and earns $50-$100 for each bout is moving to the point of tears. Paul Giamatti is brilliant in his role as Braddocks manager, Joe Gould.
I remember the moment when the final fight actually took place between Max Baer (Craig Bierko) and Jim Braddock. All the Jews in America were pulling for Baer who was Jewish, and all the Irish and other Catholics were pulling for Braddock. We were then an even more ethnic country than today. But when I watched the film, I and everyone else in the audience was rooting for Braddock. I wont tell you the result of that bout. Youll have to see the film to find out the result.
Deep Blue (+)
This movie is worth seeing on the National Geographic or public access channels, but it makes little sense to spend $10 to see it in the theater. I went because I screwed up the time schedule for the movie I wanted to see. To my surprise, the theater was about 40 percent full.
The film is about whales, seals, polar bears, dolphins, penguins, tuna, and many other species. Apparently their one goal is to eat. Sound a little too close to home? The orca (killer whale with large white spots) eats seals. Sardines appear to be the most important species since all the fish and mammals in the ocean eat them. Is that what they mean by a win-win?
The photography is outstanding and the music is better than that in Jaws. But there isnt much of a story to think about except for one involving a mother whale and her calf being followed for six hours by hungry orcas. If you decide to see the movie, you will find out the outcome of that chase. The film is good for what it purports to be, but from now on I will be more careful when reading the movie schedule.