22 January 2006

Cinderella Man & Left Behind

Steve & I curled up on the couch to finally watch Ron Howard's Cinderella Man starring Russell Crowe & Renee Zellweger. We really enjoyed it. The punches toward the camera were pretty cool. I liked the dingy, almost flat colors of the wardrobe and sets depicting the harshness of the Great Depression. What we liked most about the story line was the hero's (boxer James J. Braddock) uncompromising character and values. It seems that in so many modern movies, it is the hero's character that changes in order to overcome the enemy or difficult circumstances. Typically, Hollywood portrays the modern hero as someone who finally grows a backbone enough to slaughter people who've caused injustice. Or, the hero's character changes so that (s)he becomes an absolute jerk toward the enemy. Revenge is a common theme in the typical Hollywood film of late. I grow weary of such overused character development which Hollywood seems to think "humanizes" the character. James Braddock's character develops through several hardships of trying to earn a living enough so that his family can remain together under the same roof and survive. Times grow hard enough that he must humble himself in order to ask for a handout from the government, and eventually the big bosses and managers of the boxing circle. Yet, he never wants his family to be separated, even if that means his children have better provision. He will not tolerate his son stealing salami from the butcher and goes with him to return it. Braddock tells his son, "we never steal. . . no matter how tough things get, we never steal." Then, the reason why his son stole in the first place is revealed in a very touching scene. Multiple characters grow and develop in this underdog triumphs film. . . and most of them do so with increasing dignity, love, and strength. How refreshing to see such an encouraging story of a hero on film.

The only thing negative I have to say about this movie is that there are a few digital scenes that depict internal anatomical effects of certain boxing blows, such as broken ribs. Those scenes looked like my primal software for anatomy lab instead of movie-making. Oh well, we got the point. . . the punch broke Braddock's ribs.

I pulled another stupid yesterday. I had a meeting at my place following the seminar where Dr. Stitzel and the scoliosis mentoring program officers would plan the future of the program. The treasurer, Karson, didn't know where I lived, and so he said he'd follow my vehicle. Well, in all the hustling about and getting everyone loaded in my car, I pulled out of the parking lot, and drove a good 400 feet before I suddenly realized I'd left Karson back at Palmer. I was so embarrased. I turned around and headed back. He gave me hell for it, but at least I remembered him.

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