Has anyone seen this yet? The Mickey Ward/Arturo Gatti fights were, in my opinion, the greatest series of fights in my lifetime, and I’d never seen anything like them before or since.
Plus, I’m a big fan of both Wahlberg and Bale, and will watch anything they are in (including big brother Donnie).
Which reminds me. I am still angry at NBC for cancelling Boomtown. Assholes. I will never forgive them for that. It could have been a ten year franchise like Hill Street Blues. It was that good.
Speaking of- I always thought the Hill Street Blues was awesome:
I still get excited when I hear it because I liked that show so much. I guess I should mention St. Elsewhere, too. I identified with Dr. Mark Craig (whose role in Blind Date, another awesome underrated classic comedy, was excellent). And did you see how many actors from St. Elsewhere went on to become major stars?
Feeling a little random today, are we?
I plan to see this, one way or another (legally!!).
Wahlberg and Bale in one movie? Dynamite. Two damned great actors in a film helmed by a damned great director, David O. Russell.
And I agree about Boomtown, John–it was worth watching, was well cast and could have gone the distance…but NBC just hadda chuck it.
I can’t stand either Wahlberg (except for The Departed, in which he was flawless) or Bale, so I will be, as they say, “staying away in droves”.
Was Boomtown the one where the story was told from different points of view?
I’m sad that Terriers wasn’t picked up for a second season.
Culture of Truth
Larry King’s job is taken
let’s do it to them before they do it to us
@Tom Johnson: I’ve had a shitload of coffee.
I have the sheet music for the “Hill Street Blues” theme and I play it on the piano. It’s my husband’s favorite thing I play. Lots of fun. Great show too. Whatever happened to Taurean Blacque?
Culture of Truth
I heard the Gatti fights are covered in the DVD.
One reason why I love DVDs. All the extras.
For my money the best DVD Ben-Hur. Heston himself does the commentary!
Did you know Eric Laneuville from St. Elsewhere directed some of the final episodes of “Lost”?
But I digress…
Yep, that’s the one. I never missed it, and I seldom watched TV then. It was great. So of course it was cancelled.
I have not seen The Fighter, but as I understand it the movie does not cover the Ward-Gatti fights at all – it apparently ends prior to that.
Dickie Eklund, Ward’s crack-addicted half-brother (portrayed by Bale), was the subject of an HBO documentary a while back. That guy is a sad, sad story.
I saw Ward interviewed on ESPN this morning and that is correct.
I just happened to turn HBO on for the first Gatti-Ward fight one night back in college. We were getting ready for a night of debauchery and I thought we could catch a quick fight first.
Little did we know that it would the be fight of our lifetimes. I’ve never seen such a display of strength and heart from two fighters, ever. They were evenly matched and gave it everything they had, everything. Kept hitting each other with what would have been knockout punches to lesser fighters. Neither would back down at all and the punch count was ridiculously high.
10 rounds, the decision went to Irish Mickey. We were amazed. It was total luck that we caught the fight.
And fights 2 and 3 were just as good. I respect these two more than any other two boxers I’ve ever seen. And I’ll definitely be seeing this movie.
Shit, I guess I WON’T be going to see this movie then.
@Cycloptichorn: i hate to be a contrarian, but as good those fights were, and they were great, for my money, Marquez-Vasquez was the greatest fight series I ever saw because they were far superior technical fighters as well. Hmmm. I think i will watch all these fights this weekend
Managed to catch an early screening of the Fighter and thought it was great, though I’m a sucker for boxing movies.
I’d argue it’s worth seeing for Bale’s performance alone — easily one of the best supporting role of recent years. Wahlberg’s good as well, even if I find him hard to watch in anything without thinking of Andy Samberg’s “Mark Wahlberg Talks to Animals” sketch. (“Say hi to your mother for me.”)
Sweet Fanny Adams
@cleek: And, let’s be careful out there.
@JC, @Marc McKenzie: Co-sign on Boomtown as well.
Just Some Fuckhead
Ms. Fuckhead was a huge fan of Hill Street Blues. I don’t think I ever saw an episode of it.
As long as we’re being contrarian, I’ll throw in the Barrera-Morales fight series, which was as hard fought as Ward-Gatti, as superior technically as Marquez-Vasquez, and went 12 rounds each time (unlike the Marquez-Vasquez series, which included one that was stopped due to injuries).
It’s not contrarian – I never saw Marquez-Vasquez, so our opinions are perfectly compatible with one another.
What kind of ratings did Boomtown have? Why did it not move to cable, or become the subject of a Friday Night Lights-style co-production deal?
@David: touche. and of course, Ali-Frazier, the gold standard…..
Showtime did all three (at the time) marquez-Vasquez fights back-to-back-to-back and it was unreal to watch it non-stop.
(Prior-Arguello may be the most exciting single fight i can recall watching)
@Cycloptichorn: seriously, i say this to you: GO GET THE FIGHTS AND WATCH THEM NOW!!! I am not kidding. You will not regret it for one second.
Quaker in a Basement
Hey! I’m buck nekkiiiiiid!!
Yeah, I’ve never really been able to get into watch sports matches after-the-fact. It’s just not as exciting to me if they are not live.
Still, I’ll take yer advice and check them out.
I’m sort of depressed about the state of boxing these days. I hate that MMA shit and it seems to have sucked all the air out of the sport I do like.
Gatti was EPIC in the ring. Along with Roy Jones Jr. in his prime and “Prince” Naseem Hamed, probably my 3 favorite non-Tyson fighters to watch in real time.
HSB was awesome for a while, until they killed off Bobby, and then turned friendship with Sippowitz into an almost instant death sentence. Also when they got him off the sauce. I liked him better as a genius, menacing Archie Bunker than as a big old gruff, sad teddy bear whose friends, girlfriends and sons were constantly getting bumped off by thugs or dying of cancer.
Wahlberg was really good in a film that only about 17 people saw, “The Corruptor,” with Chow Yun-fat.
I detest fighting in general, recent “cage match” trend in particular, but I totally concur with you on Hill Street. LA Law never quite came up to its standard.
I think you’re mixing up Hill Street Blues with NYPD Blue (and I agree with your analysis of the latter show). It’s confusing because Dennis Franz was also brilliant on HSB, where he played a rogue cop. I think he killed himself on HSB.
I loved Hill Street and St. Elsewhere. Norman Lloyd (Dr. Auschlander) who seemed about 100 back then, turned up on Modern Family the other night. 96 years old.
Mark Craig was a giant a-hole, but also my favorite character. Love William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett.
I saw the trailer for The Fighter and thought “meh,” but the reviews have been very good, and the cast is great. It has Amy Adams, so I can probably drag Mr Ellie to see it.
What no love for “Cop Rock” here?
Did y’all ever watch Sugar Ray Leonard fight?
Whatever happened to Peter D’Onofrio?
I had the opportunity to see it, since Chinn slums in Lowell, but I couldn’t make it. I hear that it’s a very good movie, the big Gatti fights are not really part of it and when they are mentioned the real-life chronology has been mangled. And most importantly, it doesn’t sound like the depiction of Lowell is going to help me much as I prep my Condo for resale. Damn.
Sorry, it’s been so long I got his last name wrong. Peter Onorati.
Back in the day, they were the only TV shows I watched. I called it St Elsewhere Blues.
@Nellcote: Hearns-Leonard and Hearns-Hagler, were EPIC fights, and hearns hagler was the greatest three rounds in boxing history.
@Chinn Romney: Nothing good ever came from Lowell.
I’m more of a Cagney and Lacey type. Their theme music was really cheesy, but I got so much pleasure out of the show that I get warm waves of affection and even joy when I hear it.
@gogol’s wife: You know, you’re right, by damn. It’s been so long.
If you like “Boomtown” which was phenomenal, try “Southland” which is returning soon.
HSB was a powerful show. Lots of strong character actors.
It was a wonder to me at the time that such a show could get made on American network TV. I doubt it would get made today — not splashy, loud and stupid enough, and the beancounters would have a fit at paying all those actors.
NBC is a graveyard for good shows. Like the senate Dems they seem to almost deliberately piss away all their advantages.
I miss Southland. I didn’t know it was returning – to NBC. TBS picked it up for a few episodes but I haven’t seen it for awhile. The way networks constantly reshuffle their schedules makes it hard to keep track.
Hey, John, FYI Bale, Wahlberg and Russell did a great segment on the movie last night on Charlie Rose.
Ah yes, Hill St. Blues. Good stuff! Captain Frank Furillo was an excellent leader. Had a serious crush on Joyce Davenport. I remember one scene where Sargent Belker was asking her a question and started off by stating “You’re an attractive woman.” She gave a look of “Okay, let’s say for the sake of argument that I am. Go on.” He then asked her something about fashions.
I always thought Renko was a WVa, maybe Ozarks archetype, but his ‘bio’ says NJ! (Is biography the correct word for the personal history of a fictional character?) “Hey BobbyHeeee-il”
Was H.R. Pufinstuf the inspiration for Lost?
That pussy rope-a-doped Hagler for most of the fight, put on a flurry in the last 30 seconds of every round, and won. Stupid effing judges.
Sweet Fanny Adams
@Quaker in a Basement: LOL! Dude, my eyes!!
You obviously didn’t see Frazier-Ali or Hearns- Sugar-Ray
Marquez/Vazquez trilogy has more action but since they are smaller their punches don’t hurt as much.
A guy I worked with was an oddity in boxing, blonde haired, blue eyed college boy. Who as an undefeated amateur boxed Wilfredo Benetiz ( Benetiz lasted 6 round with Sugar Ray Leonard) in a national AAU meet. He said he was hit so many times and so hard in the first two rounds he just wanted to drop his gloves and end it! (he would have if his dad hadn’t been his trainer) I asked him (as a former hockey player) just how hard is boxing, he said “most people can’t even hold their arms up for three minutes, much less throw punches, get hit and have to move around at the same time. i saw him get in a bar fight one night with a huge guy (a divison 1 college football lineman) who opted to fight even after being warned off…they stepped outside and the big guy took a slow, lazy, looping swing and my pal hit the guy about 30 times in a couple of seconds…then we went back in and finished our beers. The big dude went to the emergency room.
Boomtown was awesome, especially in its first season, but it was clearly running out of steam and struggling to keep its awesome story structure afloat. An amazing premise, with some amazing episodes, that was too hard to keep up. I’m sure that by the end of season 2 we would have been complaining that it had lost its brilliance.
Yeah, I think HSB and St. Elsewhere ruined television for me by raising my standards too high at a tender age.
If the blogwars were ever made into a movie:
1) Glenn Greenwald: Bale
2) Hamsher: ?
3) Cole: ?
Duran beat the smuggness right out of Ray Leonard in Montreal, June 1980. Only way to beat Duran from 1975-1985 was to run/dance and hold. Ray never went toe-to-toe with anyone after that – or – when he did he made sure it was late in the fight (Hearns, Hagler). Hagler got robbed against Leonard.
Hearns was fearless and lethal. Hagler was a tank. Duran (1975-1985) was a bull. Leonard was a weak anwer to Ali – 90% show. Refs loved him…But, I can’t deny him his record. He always gave a challenger a fight. Tassles don’t belong in boxing…
Serious question, Cole. Are you my mom?
@srv: Cole is easy,
Hamsher is a little tougher. How do you combine the strength of Babe the Blue Ox, the cunning of Hannibal, and the pure evil of the Dark Lord Himself?
That’s a tuffie.
ETA, maybe Cate Blanchett ?
R.I.P. Blake Edwards.
Paul in KY
@Cycloptichorn: Haven’t seen the fight. If it was better than the first Aaron Pryor – Alexis Arguello fight, then it must be an absolute war.
Only because the name is close… a goody by Moonrock. Ill Street Blues…
Boomtown had some great episodes – particularly those that focused on Neal McDonough and/or were written by Graham Yost. I’m planning to see The Fighter as well. It looks like it’s well-cast, what with Wahlberg, Bale and Amy Adams.
Ha, someone should have told Tommy Hearns that.
Hamsher? Cate Blanchett
Cole? Hmmm … Philip Seymour Hoffman?
How quickly they forget.
Not to forget the original “NYPD” from the 1960s, with Jack Warden, Frank Converse, et al.
And in terms of pure acting chops, Carmine Giovanazzi and Eddie Cahill deserve honorable mention for their work on CSI: New York. You couldn’t possibly do New York cops better than they do.
TV really is separated at the before/after Bochco fissure. His effect on changing how a show ended was profound and enduring, ie. the dramatic incident then the fast fade to black. When i was newly married my wife used to get irritated when i would say, upon seeing the quick fade to black on other shows, “there’s the bochco” signaling the end of the episode. Having grown up in Mexico she was baffled by my using this strange word. His effect on form has outpaced his effect on quality, unfortunately.
obv manos de piedro was ill-prepared that night. but, a few years earlier (75-79) and Duran would have schooled him.
Hill Street Blues was appointment TV for us back in college. Sadly, the DVDs don’t seem to have sold well so they’re not going to release anything beyond seasons 1-2.
I liked St. Elsewhere, but don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive them for how they chose to wrap the series. Really, the whole thing was the dream of an autistic child? Fuck off, wankers.
Ward-Gatti 1 was insane, there’s really no other way to put it.
calling all toasters
Since everyone here was watching boxing in the 80’s, I can’t help remembering that the Ray Mancini/Duk Koo Kim was the most exciting fight I had ever seen. Until the part where I felt sick and gave up watching boxing.
“The Fighter” is fabulous….the four main performances [Bale, Wahlberg, Leo, Adams] are magnificent to watch! Plot is a tad tiresome, but that is nothing, because all the undercurrents and subplots are so good. Go see! And be careful out there.
IMO Hill Street Blues and St. Elsewhere were some of the finest TV shows ever. Great stories, superb ensemble casts. As an extra plus on St. Elsewhere it was fun to try and catch all the side references that popped up throughout the episodes, and fun to find out about the ones you missed via some type of trivia comment read at a much later date. I understand there was a hospital lobby-type scene in one episode where an announcement was being made over the hospital loud-speakere system requesting that “Gwyneth Paltrow please report to the main reception desk” (or something like that). At the time Gwyneth was still a very young child who had not entered the acting business. Her name got mentioned in that side reference because her father, Bruce Paltrow, was the show’s executive producer.
PS, the only bad thing about HSB was the season they started showing “scenes from tonight’s episode” at the opening of each episode. Talk about extreme “spoilers”. I can clearly remember that I stopped watching it for quite a while after having 3 or 4 episodes basically ruined by that brilliant programming idea. “Oh, good. Now I know when Bobby Hill and the Ed Marinaro character go into that abandoned-looking building one of them gets shot.”Boy, I can hardly wait for the suspenseful music I’ll get to hear building into that scene where I already know what’s going to happen. I’m sure I’ll be shocked and on the edge of my seat as it unfolds now.”
But eventually I got to see them all in reruns anyway.
as some hollywood mogul (samuel goldwyn?) once said, “if people want to stay away, you can’t make them.”
Ward v Gatti is easily the greatest trilogy in boxing. Ward/Gatti 1 is what I judge all bouts by. I purchased a DVD a few years ago that was a pirated recorded from the TV that features all 3 bouts and I showed it to my 2 daughters (42 and 36 y/o) who are huge boxing fans and they were amazed by the punishment that these 2 great boxers were able to dish out and withstand.
I love “Irish” Mickey Ward and truly miss Arturo “Thunder” Gatti.
Though I think the greatest punch I can remember seeing in the recent past was left hook Manny Pacquiao landed on Ricky Hatton. I haven’t seen a boxer drop like that in many a year.
I grew up in the 50’s watching the Friday Night Fights presented by Gillette and loved those fights, especially Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, he was my favorite.
Also, loved HSB, St. Elsewhere and concur with many regarding Southland it is a superb show, though I really love Men of A Certain Age.
I too loved Hill Street Blues. I’d love to see it again to see if it was as good as I thought it was. The only medical show I’ve ever truly followed was St. Elsewhere. Dr. Mark Craig (William Daniels) came up to me in the produce department of my local supermarket once to ask where the Shitaki mushrooms were. Really. I didn’t know.
The folks over at the slashfilmcast raved about The Fighter. It sounds like a good movie with great performances.
mem from somerville
Heh. I’m originally from Lowell (yes, @Corner Stone, I’m looking at you).
My dad was over for Thanksgiving and we saw an ad. We were talking about the movie. Dad knows the family. He said they were the definition of dysfunctional family.
And by Lowell standahds that’s sumpthin’.
@mem from somerville: Nothing good.
mem from somerville
@Corner Stone: ROFL.
I do have to say it’s becoming a bit disconcerting that they keep making dramas about the places I’ve lived longest. Winter Hill Gang…Lowell.
Oh–The Invention of Lying was also filmed in Lowell.
You may be right.
I can remember watching Hill Street Blues with my parents as a kid. Just started re-watching it on Hulu.com (they have seasons 1, 2, and 3 available – http://www.hulu.com/hill-street-blues). IMO, the finest police drama ever made for US television. Everything about the show holds up; easily one of the best ensemble casts ever featured in a television drama. Keep talking it up. Who knows? Maybe they’ll eventually release the remaining seasons on DVD or Hulu.com.
Another show from the 1980s that is often forgotten is the short-lived crime drama Police Story with Dennis Farina. It is fantastic. Both seasons are available on DVD, too. Highly recommended. It’s often cited as an influence for films/shows like Good Fellas and The Sopranos.
joe from Lowell
They filmed part of that movie on my street. The house that was supposed to be the Wards’ parents’ is three doors down from me.
I can’t really complain about the depiction of Lowell in the early 1990s. It really was that bad. A couple points of reference:
During one period in the 1980s, Lowell had the highest unemployment rate of any city in America. Higher than Gary, IN. Higher than Detroit. Higher than St. Louis.
Over the course of the 1990s, Lowell had the largest drop in crime of any city in America, which tells you two things: 1) Things got a lot better during that decade, and 2) Crime was really, really high to start out.
Lowell is a great place now – a lot of the “urban decay” scenes were shot in places that are construction sites, where the buildings have been gutted in the midst of rehab projects. It’s remarkable how quickly things changed.
Plenty of work left to do. I live smack dab in the middle of the JAM project, and I’m not completely convinced it’s going to work. We’ll soon find out. They’re getting ready to shutdown the street I live on (Jackson) and turn it into a Pedestrian Walk. That should be interesting. They’ve done a great job in spots around downtown, but the scale is just overwhelming, there’s still so much decay.
And @corner, I can think of at least one great thing Lowell does, the annual Folk Festival. The City never looks better than it does that weekend.
joe from Lowell
They’re not turning Jackson Street into a pedestrian walk.
They’re building a pedestrian walkway along the canal, and making improvements to Jackson Street which may require some street closings, but they’re not going to turn it into a pedestrian walk. It’s still going to be a through street.
I’m sure it’s a great area. I really just meant joe from LoL. He’s a stupid piece of shit.
My husband and I just saw it. Good movie, GREAT performances. I have to resort to cliche and tell you that Bale inhabited that role. It was astonishing. The energy, the charisma, the hopped-up, messed up, complex and yet simple…brilliant. My hubby thought his acting was genius.
The film was more about the relationship between the brothers (and their whack job of a mother) than about the fights. I hope you get a chance to see it.