The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Cinderella Man (2005)

What a shame that Russell Crowe's recent legal problems may dissuade audiences from checking out his new film, because it really is quite good.  Well performed and directed, the story of boxing champion James Braddock, a man who fell hard during the depression and battled his way to the top against staggering odds is an old-fashioned weepie with excellent boxing choreography (maybe in the 10 ten I've ever seen) and excellent atmosphere.  I'd give it a B+
But on to another subject.  Crowe will probably survive this pickle, at least partialy because his image is partially that of a ruffian.  But he did, after all, participate in the dismantling of the public image of Meg Ryan.  As American's Sweetheart, when it came out that she'd been flagrantly boffing Crowe, I think it took some of the shine off her halo.  The same thing might have happened if, for instance, Tom Hanks were accused of beating his wife.  We love our stars, and project our own hopes and dreams onto them.  If Mike Tyson is arrested for being a brute, well, we never thought he was a saint, and that doesn't affect his public image much.  If Will Smith were jailed for rape, it would destroy him.  Crowe's violent temper  might well be spun into the stuff of legend: the sensitive artistic soul overwhelmed by the demands of stardom.  Yuck.  If he can't take the heat, stay out of the business.  Because I think he is a genuine talent, I hope he can pull himself together.  Universal must be shitting their pants right now, looking at this expensive film that opened soft, and now has been hurt by their star's irrational behavior.  Sigh.  Still, I won't feel sorry for someone who will doubtless be offered upwards of ten million for his next film.  Spend a million of that on therapy, Russell.  The public has a limit to forgiveness.  Ask Meg Ryan.  If you can find her.

No comments: