Boxing

I’m standing on the edge of the The Detroit River which is also the edge of the set for Real Steel – the forthcoming robot boxing movie with a heart of gold. Twenty or so feet away from the Cobo Arena, the wind is picking up, and the view looks out over the glass of the water toward Ontario. This might not seem like a dramatic moment for anyone who lives there, but there’s something poetically jarring about looking out at a different country (and looking southward to see Canada). Right across the water is another world. It’s a world separate from Detroit that hasn’t been beaten down by a lagging economy and the failure of major auto manufacturing. It’s not that Detroit isn’t as impressive, it’s that Windsor seems newer, fresher, and more alive. A precipice with a view to another world seems like the perfect place for the Shawn Levy-directed, Hugh Jackman-starring film to shoot as it promises to tell a story both embedded in the seedy underground and the glittering, life-filled stadiums of the near future. To hear Levy talk, the movie sets out to feature a man living in one world, testing his limits to live in the other.

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A couple months back it was reported that in between will-he-won’t-he work sessions on his often talked about, never produced Tupac Shakur biopic, Training Day director Antoine Fuqua would be making a boxing drama called Southpaw starring rapper turned occasional actor Eminem. The film was said to be about a lower class welterweight boxer struggling through drama in his daily life and boxing career on the way to greatness. It had a script by Sons of Anarchy creator Kurt Sutter that was loosely based on Eminem’s own rise in the rap world, it was financially back by DreamWorks, and it was all set to start shooting in January. Sound like smooth sailing right? Not so fast. Suddenly DreamWorks has pulled out of the project and left it back in the hands of its creators to shop around to other studios for funding. Deadline River Rouge reports the studio’s decision, but doesn’t have anything to offer other than speculation as to why they may have backed out. It’s strange for a studio to drop a project like this that already has script, star, and director packaged up and ready to go. Theoretically, Fuqua and company should be able to find somebody else to set them up pretty quick, seeing as most of the heavily lifting has already been done and all they need is some funding. And I hope that’s true, because I just don’t want to live in a world where the entertainment industry’s preeminent white rapper can’t get a […]

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With the entire original run of The Twilight Zone available to watch instantly, we’re partnering with Twitch Film to cover all most half of the show’s 156 episodes. Are you brave enough to watch them all with us? The Twilight Zone (Episode #27): “The Big Tall Wish” (airdate 4/8/60) The Plot: A washed up boxer manages a surprising comeback thanks to the wish of a child, but his inability to believe in magic threatens to take the victory away. The Goods: Bolie Jackson’s (Ivan Dixon) not a man who’s ever really had ‘best’ days, but his better ones are clearly behind him. He’s a boxer who never made it big and is now well past his prime. Bolie can see his history in the ring, and in life in general, in the scars on his face, and while he knows tonight’s fight is a long shot he’s not about to turn down the opportunity. A neighborhood boy named Henry (Steven Perry) tells him he’ll be making a big, tall wish that Bolie wins the match, and when the child’s mom tells Bolie that’s the biggest wish of all the tired boxer shakes his head in sadness. Little boys with their heads full up with dreams. When do they find out… that there ain’t any magic. When does somebody push their face down on the sidewalk and say to them ‘Hey little boy, it’s concrete, that’s what the world is made out of, concrete.’ When do they find out that you […]

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The time has come. World War III is upon us. IT’S ON! As Barry Word would say. Lights and Reynold will step into the ring for one final time to determine who the true champ is and settle the score once and for all. Both men will sweat. Both men will bleed. And both men will leave everything they have in the ring to know who the king really is. But by the end, the true winner will come forth and be crowned champion for the final time. Ding! Ding! Ding!

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We’re one week away from the ultimate boxing showdown and the count down has begun. But before Lights and Reynolds go at it for the final time, Lights will get one more surprise thrown his way. And the drastically changed odds on the fight and the attempted drive by aren’t it. This surprise is going to force Lights to make a choice. A choice between his family and… his family. Light and Reynolds will also meet face to face one final time before stepping foot in the ring to determine who the champ really is.

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Are you a recently defrosted human from the year 1999 that woke up in the thirtieth century? If so, then do I have some news for you… Comedy Central has ordered two more seasons of Futurama for a total of a twenty six episode order. Each season will contain thirteen episodes, clearly the return of the show last year drew even stronger ratings than anyone realized, because it takes a bomb under the feet of a television executive to get an order this high. And to be honest, I would not put that out of the realm of possibility for Bender Bending Rodriguez. It took about five episodes to get its footing back, but once Futurama started delivering episodes, some of which surpassed the quality of the original run from FOX, it never stopped. So I’m more than welcoming of another season, and the fact that we can guarantee Futurama through 2013 is more than a happy surprise for the day. But unfortunately that news is counter balanced with the unfortunate announcement that FX has decided not to pick up the critically acclaimed boxing series Lights Out for a second season. This news though tragic does not come as a surprise considering the ratings were only slightly higher than Terriers, and like Terriers, the show was never able to cross the one million mark in ratings beyond the airing of the pilot in January.

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It’s been a week since Lights and Death Row went through a glass window courtesy of well, each other. The fight is on and the date is set, but this week Lights has much bigger fish to fry. While on an errand run with his sister, Lights runs into a old friend and retired boxer. But this is no ordinary run in, because this old friend can barely remember what he ate for breakfast that morning. And things get even worse when Lights learns that one of his “favors” has come back to bite him in the ass.

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Last week Lights’ come back took a major blow when Johnny accidentally stabbed him with a pair of rusty scissors. Now what was a smooth training regimen till August, has become a race against the clock to get Lights healed up before the big day. And things take a turn for the worst when Lights gets word that Barry has begun the process of looking for a replacement opponent for Death Row Reynolds. By the end of the episode, at least one person with make a choice that they might end up regretting down the road.

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It’s only been a couple weeks with Ed Romeo but Lights can already feel a new energy within him, and boy is he gonna need it. But not for boxing… his family and his higher ups are going to force Lights to choose between winning and promotion, and by the end of the episode both of them are going to come back to bite him in the ass. Death Row Reynolds’ personal life with also be put in the spotlight, and he too will have to start choosing between his family and his career.

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It’s been a week since Lights’ big comeback win against El Diablo and he’s all fired up for a now confirmed fight in ten weeks against Death Row Reynolds. But things aren’t so bright and sunny after Pops dropped a bomb on Lights when he decided to no longer continue training him if he was going to go through with the Reynolds fight. Lights is now in desperate need of a new trainer before the fight, and his search will lead him to a possibly unstable man who is hell bent on changing everything about Lights that Pops has built over the years.

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Ding, ding, ding, it’s fighting time. The day has arrived and Lights has done everything he possibly can to get ready for his come back fight against El Diablo. But his right eye is still giving his trouble, and when Johnny begins to take notice of the level of intensity Pops is taking to train the prize fighter he steps in to try and help. And that’s only the beginning of Lights’ troubles. Because he and Theresa are about to get the one phone call they could have never expected.

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It’s been a week since Theresa through him out of the house, and since then Lights has been on a full time training regiment courtesy of Papa Leary. Six AM call times, five days a week of sparring, morning runs, ice baths, the whole shebang. But things go south when Lights takes an accidental thumb to the eye during training. Could this be the monkey wrench that will throw Lights off his game? Or will Johnny be able to come to the rescue? We’re just going to have to wait and see.

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Lights’ financial troubles are taking a major toll on his family, and things have reached a breaking point. The choice is clear for him and Theresa: fight or lose everything that they’ve worked for. But there’s a hitch, and thanks to Johnny getting Lights’ come back fight off the ground is going to be a lot harder that anyone realized. Lights will have to work outside the system if he’s going to be able to get anything done, and by episode’s end the truth will be known and Lights’ decision will be made… whether he likes it or not.

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Things have not been going well for the Leary family in the last few weeks, and things are about to get much, much worse. Between Omar’s outrage over his payment, the I.R.S. creeping further and further into the Leary financials, and Johnny’s serious gambling problem, someone is going to be forced to reveal some secrets that will turn the family on their heads. It will be up to the help of some outside influences to get Lights and his crew out of this jam. And before all is said and done, someone will have to take a trip to the hospital.

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The gym has come on hard times and there seems to be only one way out of the whole, a new fighter named Omar and a title shot that’s only two weeks away. But the problem is that he doesn’t actually have the fight yet. It will be up to Johnny to secure Omar’s place in the ring. But Omar is a cocky son of a bitch, and it will be up to Lights and Pops to guide him down the path to success before he gets his clocked cleaned for good.

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It’s been a few days and Lights has had a chance to collect himself after putting a beating on some bar patrons and a dentist. But one of those actions is about to return to bite him right in the ass. At the same time, a reporter will attempt to uncover the truth of Light’s troubles, and Lights will be forced to resort to some, not so ethical means to fix the problem he’s created. And at least one member of his family will learn a secret that Lights didn’t want anyone to find out.

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Last week, FX premiered their new drama Lights Out to major critical acclaim. The show is a perfect blend of the hard hitting story telling FX is so well known for, and the big bad world of sports. I had the opportunity to partake in a conversation with show runner Warren Leight and “Lights” Leary himself, actor Holt McCallany. They had a lot to say about getting ready for the show, the uphill battle the production went through and how the show reflects the real word of boxing.

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Patrick “Lights” Leary is a retired boxer who has been out of the game for five years since his last fight ended in the stolen loss of his championship. Now he’s a devoted family man who would do anything for the people in his life. But that life is about to come crashing down harder than the final blow of Forman vs Ali at The Rumble in the Jungle in 1974. Between his daughters and the IRS, Lights will come face to face with a decision that could damage his perfect life, forever.

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Take the family ideals of The Fighter, throw it in a blender with The Sopranos, sprinkle in a little of Michael Mann’s Ali camera work, hit start and voila, you have the brand new FX drama Light’s Out. Lights Out focuses on retired boxer Patrick “Lights” Leary who has been out of the game for five years after being robbed of the Heavyweight Championship in his final match against sports rival “Death Row” Reynolds. Upon hearing that Leary can’t let a sleeping dog lie, Reynolds offers Leary a chance at a rematch. But that’s only the beginning of his troubles.

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A year before Freaks, Tod Browning experiments with a struggling boxer, his manipulative wife, and her secret lover.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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