When I was a kid I used to watch classic boxing in the basement Sunday mornings. In my memory, it was on IPTV but that can’t be right, why would boxing be on public television? I occasionally watch YouTube clips of classic fights. But I can’t really say that I’m a boxing fan. Not even a casual fan. It’s more like something that I keep half an eye on sometimes. And yet I still manage to get all riled up whenever anyone talks about Mike Tyson being a great boxer. Who did he ever beat? He knocked out a bunch of chumps and then lost to anyone decent he faced.
That’s not relevant to anything really, but I thought about it because I’m going to talk about Million Dollar Baby which is a good movie with a stupid name. I never saw Baby Driver because that is also a stupid name. I did like Gone Baby Gone though, I guess the key is not to start or end your title with baby.
Million Dollar B is not in my top X favorite movies ever but I really like it. It’s a movie that I always stop and watch if I see it’s on, or I did when I had satellite TV anyway. Now I just roam around the house rootless and rudderless.
I watched it with my lady the other day and after it was over she asked me “What is the point of the Danger character?” I’ve seen that movie in part at least a dozen times and I never thought about that before. What is the point of that character? I’ve been thinking about it ever since and I really have no idea.
At first you think, well he’s the comic relief right? But nothing he does is really that funny. And I would suggest that it’s not that it was supposed to be funny and wasn’t. So what is he? Generally, I think a character like Danger would be a morality pet but he’s definitely not that. I don’t think he interacts with Maggie at all and she doesn’t need a Jiminy Cricket anyway, she’s fine on her own.
So what does Danger provide? He gets his ass kicked and then comes back. So you’d think that he’s the example of how you should never give up. But he’s not, because again Maggie never thinks about giving up (on boxing anyway) and he doesn’t come back to the gym until after she’s gone anyway.
The only thing that Danger really does is give Scrap a reason to punch out Anthony Mackie. Which is kind of a neat scene, who doesn’t like seeing an asshole get their comeuppance, but is ultimately pointless. Is that scene supposed to let us know that Scrap was a hard mofo in his day? That’s pretty firmly established already I think. And even if it wasn’t established, that isn’t important to the story either. Is that supposed to tell us that Anthony Mackie is a puss? Why would that be important?
Thinking about it, the Anthony Mackie character doesn’t bring much to the story either. He harasses Maggie in one scene and she blows him off and that’s pretty much it. Sidenote, in my mind I remembered the harassment as being much harder to watch. By the standards of women being harassed in movies these days, it was pretty mild. If that movie was made today, there for sure would have been an attempted sexual assault or something.
So I got to wondering if the character of Danger is from the book. I was slightly wrong about the origin of the movie it turns out, there is no book, the screenplay was “inspired” by the book Rope Burns which was written by a cutman and longtime boxing trainer about his real experiences in boxing. Which is probably why a lot of people think that Million Dollar Baby is based on a real story.
The only thing I can figure is that one of the stories in Rope Burns was about a goofy kid that came in to train and wanted to fight Tommy Hearns for the middleweight championship and they put that story in the movie even though it didn’t really have anything to do with anything. I feel like that’s a thing that happens when a screenplay is written based on a collection of short stories, the writer falls in love with one thing that really doesn’t belong and wedges it in there anyway. I have no examples, but I think it’s a thing.
Anyone else have any ideas on what the Danger character is supposed to be or accomplish in that movie? Also, should I start a new segment where I take Best Picture winners and talk about how much better they would be with changes I would make since I’m a better writer than all the writers that have written best pictures. I mean, you didn’t win best screenplay did you, Million Dollar Baby? DID YOU?!
In other news I watched a couple episodes of an Amazon show called Red Oaks. It’s highly touted and recommended. I don’t get it. Is there a twist coming or some subtle context I’m missing? It appears to be a very standard 80s teen movie turned into a TV show. The fact that so many people think it’s great makes me think I’m missing something.
Is this a Jennifer’s Body situation? When I watched Jennifer’s Body I thought “this is a horrible cheesy horror movie like any other” but instead I guess it’s some kind of powerful statement about feminism and is lauded as something great. I re-watched it and I still don’t get it. It seems like the exact opposite to me. Seems to me like the screenwriter’s whole pitch was “What if Megan Fox makes out with Amanda Seyfried and we make it a movie?” But I acknowledge that I’m wrong about that.
Is that what’s going on here? Is Red Oaks Jennifer’s Bodying me? What am I missing?
OR do people just like it because the 80s have a weird nostalgia for people my age even though they were little kids for most of that decade?
One thing that really irks me about Red Oaks is that I know for sure that in 2013, we all decided that we were done with the Manic Pixie Dream Girl and then WHAM Red Oaks slaps me right in the face with Skye.