Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Mark Wahlberg Is Producer, Star on Oscar Certain Film, “The Fighter”


The new Oscar season just got a little hotter.

Adding to the existing titles like “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech” is a new contender called “The Fighter.”

Directed by David O. Russell, “The Fighter” is an A plus effort, the missing piece in this year’s Oscar puzzle. All the main performers–Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo–are headed to nominations.

This is the film about real life Boston boxer Micky Ward (Wahlberg), his crack addicted trainer brother (Bale), their flamboyant mother (Leo), and Ward’s girlfriend (Adams).

Set in the Boston suburb of working class Lowell (birthplace of Jack Kerouac, FYI) in the early 90s, “The Fighter” is a huge leap forward for Russell, whose best film up til now had been “Three Kings.”

“The Fighter” is so absorbing that it wasn’t until ten minutes had passed that realized Alice Ward wasn’t a real person, but Melissa Leo playing her. Leo scores a grandslam home run.

Also: the film opens with Bale, and he’s so far already into the role of Dickie Ecklund, Ward’s half brother, that you almost feel like you have to catch up with him. Like Leo, Bale is working on a different planet.

Wahlberg and Adams are just as good, but there are parts aren’t quite as showy. Wahlberg told us at last night’s dinner following the movie, at the Porter House, that he’d been working on this project for five years. His boxing scenes are incendiary. Adams really wanted this part, Russell told me. It’s a breakout for her since Amy usually plays good girls.

Director James Toback, Robert Wuhl, actors Bob Dishy and Judy Graubart, were among those in the audience. I do think when “The Fighter” finally releases on December 10th it’s going to be a smash. I’d put it with “King’s Speech,” “The Social Network,” “127 Hours,” and “The Town” as — so far– the top 5 films of 2010. And that’s quite an impressive group!

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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