The Fighter

The Reject Report

I know. I know. The Green Reject Report? That’s the best you can come up with? It’s not like it’s a title we might not use every again. When Green Zone hit last year, it opened against a few other notable titles that took the headline (This Week’s Reject Report Is Out Of My League). With Green Lantern hitting this coming June, another opportunity to use this week’s title might present itself. But we don’t think about the future. We cross those bridges when we come to them. So, while we’re eating our red meat and smoking our cigarettes, we’ll just do with The Green Reject Report for this week. Onto the movies.

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This year, someone who has never won a DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement will win a DGA award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement. The filed includes three first-time nominees – Darren Aronofsky for Black Swan; Tom Hooper for The King’s Speech; and David O. Russell for The Fighter – as well as two returning nominees – David Fincher for The Social Network (who was previously nominated for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and who has won several commercial directing awards from the DGA) and Christopher Nolan for Inception (who was previously nominated for The Dark Knight and Memento). None of these directors has won the award, which means the Director’s Guild of America’s pattern of celebrating new talent (even talent that’s been around a decade) will continue. In the past 25 years, the DGA has only had 4 repeat winners – Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood and Oliver Stone. With this list of nominees, it’s guaranteed that yet another new name will join their ranks.

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The Reject Report

No, this ain’t no coon hunt, but the Coens fought tooth and nail. Here in its third weekend of release, True Grit has taken the top spot from Little Fockers, and the Western has effortlessly become the Coen Brothers’ most successful film of all time.

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In most years of film one can logically find a common theme amongst a decent number of pictures to apply a label that sort of embodies what that year may represent in hindsight. Such as, the year of the Animated Film if a bunch of strong animated pictures were released, or the year of Jude Law if Jude Law did stuff, or the year of the R-Rated sex comedy if there were a bunch of films that made you remember you’re comically bad at sex.

The theme is usually something very superficial and easy to locate, unlike certain things difficult to locate that make you comically bad at sex. However, I’m somewhat of an introspective individual. I don’t like to buy into simply what’s on the surface. I like things to mean more. I like the potential of finding something connective between some generally unrelated material.

Basically what I’m saying is I like to make shit up for the purpose of entertaining journalism. Yet, despite my reaching deep into the abyss of irrelevance I have come back with the knowledge that a handful of pictures from 2010 contain something substantial about them, or contained within them that does work metaphorically as strong advice about particular relationship situations, or sexual inadequacies or troubles.

The fact that I found them in films ranging from children’s fare to horror pictures obviously says more about the film industry than my obsession with finding sex in everything.

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The Producers Guild of America is known for aligning its picks with the Oscar nominations with the startling regularity that can only come when two groups share the same voting pool. That’s why groups like, say, the Hollywood Foreign Press (who I think actually nominated a nip-slip video this year) doesn’t match up at all. The PGA, which announced its award nominees today, went 9 for 10 last year, and by the looks of this list, they might just do it again in 2011.

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It’s that time of the year again: that brief span of time in between Christmas and New Year’s when journalists, critics, and cultural commentators scramble to define an arbitrary block of time even before that block is over with. To speculate on what 2010 will be remembered for is purely that: speculation. But the lists, summaries, and editorials reflecting on the events, accomplishments, failures, and occurrences of 2010 no doubt shape future debate over what January 1-December 31, 2010 will be remembered for personally, nostalgically, and historically. How we refer to the present frames how it is represented in the future, even when contradictions arise over what events should be valued from a given year. In an effort to begin that framing process, what I offer here is not a critical list of great films, but one that points out dominant cultural conversations, shared trends, and intersecting topics (both implicit and explicit) that have occurred either between the films themselves or between films and other notable aspects of American social life in 2010. As this column attempts to establish week in and week out, movies never exist in a vacuum, but instead operate in active conversation with one another. Thus, a movie’s cultural context should never be ignored. So, without further adieu, here is my overview of the Top 10 topics, trends, and events of the year that have nothing to do with the 3D debate.

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The Reject Report

Audiences got derezzed, went into the grid, and disc warred all the way to end of line this weekend. And, if you followed all of that, you were probably among the masses. While TRON Legacy jumped to the top of the pile, its weekend take wasn’t up to expectations, and the future of the franchise could very well be called into question. It just depends on the legs the film has, Olive Wilde’s legs notwithstanding.

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This week, on a very special episode of Reject Radio, the always energetic Scott Weinberg drops by to drop a metric load of sea salt onto our naturally cut fries. We take a short detour to Superlativeville where Cole becomes the mayor in a heated run-off election, discuss the most heart-warming horror films of the year, and find time to politely yell differing opinions about The Fighter. Plus, we find time to review Rabbit Hole and Tron: Legacy. Listen Here: Download This Episode

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The Week That Was

You know the drill, dear readers. A bunch of stuff happened here in Reject Land. Some movies came out and we reviewed them. We talked to famous people and posted the evidence. We write stuff about movies here. You probably missed it. Thus, the existence of our end-of-the-week column, The Week That Was. Read on and prepare to battle for digital glory!

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The Reject Report

The weather has turned cold, the end of the year is soon approaching, and the last bastion of Holiday films are coming our way. This week, we have a number of dollar-earner pictures hitting as well as a couple of heavy awards contendors expanding into wide release. The light cycles are sure to have an edge over a couple of talking bears, especially since one of those bears sounds a bit like Ray Stantz. The other bear isn’t exactly bringing sexy back, but he might be cute enough to pull in some decent money.

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The power that The Fighter displays is immense. As unconventional a conventional sports film as has been seen, David O. Russell has directed a film where the comedic impact is just as strong as the emotional. It is a triumph of real people on screen in a film culture that has become more and more frightened of stories that are well-rounded enough to not need a dimension tacked on. Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is a blue collar worker with a dream of making it big as a boxer. In his corner is Dicky Ecklund (Christian Bale) who once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard and has lived off the local fame and crack cocaine ever since. His mother (Melissa Leo) is the older version of a pageant mom who desperately wants success for her boy but struggles against her own selfishness. Everyone in his corner is working against him until he meets Charlene Fleming (Amy Adams) who helps him get his career and his life on track.

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The nominations for the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards will have been out for almost an entire day by the time you read this, so you’ve undoubtedly had plenty of time to scratch your heads and wonder, “hey, what about that Coen Brothers movie?” And while we still don’t have an answer to that one, we can see that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (or HFPA, as they are known to their friends) did slip in a few surprises in their 68th year. Don’t let anyone say that they can’t still be hip. So here, along with a list of all the film-related nominees, is a list of five interesting and (sometimes) pleasant surprises.

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The Fighter is the perfect type of project for David O. Russell to followup I Heart Huckabees with. I Heart Huckabees was a very alienating film for many viewers, most not feeling the ‘existential comedy’ vibe. It isn’t what you would call the most accessible film, and Russell even refers to it as an experiment. The Fighter is a lot safer, on a commercial level. It’s the type of film that practically excludes no one. The Fighter strikes a perfect balance of art and commerce. Russell and I spent most of the time in our 13-minute interview discussing this. If you’ve ever seen one of his films, then you know he shows a true love for his characters. No matter how moronic they act or how much they do wrong, David O. Russell still strives for nothing but empathy and love. If you want to know what kind of characters David O. Russell responds to, read our interview with the man:

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads to the movie theater to enjoy the holiday releases and the award films. But how do they stack up against each other. After being swept into Narnia in post-converted 3D, Kevin takes a trip to Venice where he watches a portly Johnny Depp play an everyman to Angelina Jolie walking around a lot. Finally, he takes another award season trip to Boston to watch Mark Wahlberg get punch drunk..

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We realize that you’re probably sitting at home right now, chewing your own nails off and wondering what movies are coming out this month. Maybe you’re even wondering why no one on the entire internet has said anything about them. Strange, we know. Fortunately, Rob Hunter and Cole Abaius spent the entire month of November dumpster diving in studio lots, mailing in proof of purchase codes on cereal boxes, and building trailers from old plywood to make sure that you, dear reader, are in the know about what’s coming out in December. You watch movies, so this guide’s for you.

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Paramount Pictures has released the first trailer for David O. Russell’s The Fighter, a boxing drama starring Mark Wahlberg as “Irish” Mickey Ward, a 30-something brawler from Boston who takes a long, bumpy road to redemption and a fighting chance at a title. Christian Bale stars as his good-for-nothing druggie brother, the guy who taught him everything he knows about punching holes in other dude’s faces. Amy Adams, lovely as always even hidden behind that thick Bahhston accent, plays his supportive (and at one point combative) lady friend. If you remember back, this is the film that went through something like 35 casting changes before settling on Wahlberg and Bale. Looks like they got it right, from a distance…

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thefighteradams

Wahlberg, Bale, and Leo are on board – now it looks like Amy Adams might also be ready to step into David O. Russell’s ring with The Fighter.

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bale-1

Not much is known at this point but Christian Bale could be ready to fight in two weeks.

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bale-wahlberg

Are Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg the new David Spade and Chris Farley? And if so, does that mean one of them has to die?

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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