“Million Dollar Baby”

I saw "Million Dollar Baby" the other night. What a movie. (Clint Eastwood directed and wrote the musical score– and co-stars w/ Morgan Freeman, Hillary Swank).  Some people thought it was depressing. It’s not, but it is devastating. It starts out like the most straight-forward boxing movie you could imagine (just a really, really well made one) then it turns off into unexpected territory (some say it merely switched from one formula and genre to another).  I thought it was very powerful. I’ve heard some (to my mind) amazingly simplistic opinions of what this film is alleged to be saying, or advocating. But I don’t think it’s about that at all. (Can’t get specific without spoilers) I think it’s about some people who know each other, and start to care about each other. And get things they want, and don’t get other things they want, and make their peace  with it, or don’t. Nothing more, but that’s so much more than most stories bother with. The movie’s generally garnering praise, but some, like David Edelstein  (scroll down past his review of "The Aviator" to find it —  but his "Million  Dollar Baby" review contains  spoilers) thought every inch of the film is  cliche, I thought everything wasemotionally honest. It’s not "saying"  anything in the sense of a message, it’s just people trying to work it out, and making choices and accepting those choices. I simply don’t know why someone would rather act superior and snotty about their awareness of cliche, and feel the need to show everyone how smart they are, when it means cutting themselves off from such an extraordinary, moving experience. But one man’s truth is another’s cliche, I guess. My problem with many  reviewers is two-fold. Edelstein is bad, and David Denby of the The New Yorker, and Richard Roeper of across the aisle from Ebert are two of the worst. (Ebert, and the other New Yorker critic, Anthony Lane are excellent however). First the truly incompetent reviewer has no idea what goes into making any  piece of art. But there is no reason why he or she should should. But worse is that he seems to have no idea why people even seek out movies, or any work of art , in the first place. I think that’s the real crime of shitty movie reviewing.

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