Sunday, February 20, 2005

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Million Dollar Baby (2004) [dir. Clint Eastwood]

In between engagements in San Antonio today i had a few hours to spare and decided to try to catch another Oscar level movie. Unfortunately the Oscar movies i most wanted to see, Hotel Rwanda and Vera Drake, were both at times that didn't fit my schedule. Two others i wanted to see, though for entertainment/enlightenment, The Aquatic Life with Steve Zissou and Bad Education, were also misses by scheduling. And i checked three theatre complexes.

None too happy, and realizing that if i spent any more time looking around i wouldn't have time for anything i settled on Million Dollar Baby.

It was really a tough decision. I almost went to the bookstore instead. I've never been a fan of Clint Eastwood. He's in the same pantheon where i keep John Wayne and James Coburn -- the pantheon of "actors other folks rave about that just don't do anything for me." And i'm not a boxing fan either, Howard Cosell ruined that for me long ago. Howard has his own pantheon -- which we won't describe here.

Perhaps the only reason, or reasons, i bought a ticket and went in were a) it was a nominee so i thought maybe i should be able to talk intelligently about it; and b) Hillary Swank -- whom i could be in love with if i were about 4 dog-years younger.

And so what happens. I start to take notes as usual. And about 60 seconds into the movie i am so completely absorbed that i never write another word.

I thought The Aviator was exceptional though i was disturbed by a number of flaws (someday i'll get my review of it posted). It was such a flick though that it was my way-out-in-front-runner for the Best Picture Oscar.

No more.

Million Dollar Baby will henceforth be one of my favorite all-time movies, and my new Oscar vote. Eastwood is on my list of directors/actors to check out from now on. And well, Morgan Freeman and Hillary Swank are imprimaturs on any film they're in. They get my votes too.

I'd love to talk about specific scenes and nuances but to do so gives away parts of the film that i'd rather you see for yourself. So i'll save the spoilers until after it's out on DVD and half the country has seen it.

About all i'll say to wrap up is i don't think you'll ever regret seeing it.

Reviews at Rotten Tomatoes
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