Friday, February 04, 2005

Vermillion Scholar Gravy

I caught a matinee of Million Dollar Baby today before work, and yes I did down an entire large popcorn and soda from an enormous cup that easily held the equivalent of three cans of coke. Three quarters of the way through the film, my heart started pounding in my chest like it does when the THC kicks in, and it twern't the drama!

Million Dollar Baby is a very fine film, but suffers from some extremely distracting extras. One of the problems with boxing movies is that static shots of the corners of the ring, whether between rounds or post-fight, necessitate a lot of face time for crowd extras, and relatively close up at that. A lot of them get way too excited, and unable to think of anything better, start faux boxing in this manical fashion, as if they're so into it they feel like they're up there in the ring. No one really does that... but in boxing movies, every other guy in the crowd is doing that very thing. In one shot, an impossibly excited and unfortunately featured man, overcome by the excitement of women's boxing, awkwardly forces the man next to him to high five. This is after he's been jumping up and down for fifteen seconds straight and shadow boxing. It rivals Kitster and that little Rodian's post-podrace high-five in The Phantom Menace for sheer discomfort. I can't believe Eastwood used that shot, or didn't tell that guy to calm the fuck down when he was shooting.

I don't want to spoil anything about Million Dollar Baby for those that haven't seen it, nor am I really about to, but still, don't read further if you haven't seen it. I just want to say that I love how grey Eastwood's filmic universe has become, because you just never know how things are going to shake down in the last half hour. There I was, watching the title fight, thinking... yeah, maybe they'll go for a kind of bittersweet ending... worst case, she somehow loses this fight. Cut to me twenty minutes later, jaw on floor.


Blogger Noah said...

Well, a crowd shot may have been second-unit ...

Great movie. I have issues with some of Eastwood's acting and with Swank's evil white trash family. Still, a nice piece of work.

7:11 PM  

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