DUBBY’S DVDISCUSSION: Cindrella Man to punch in an Oscar?


What’s with boxing anyway? Last year Million Dollar Babe was hot on Oscar night and the first film up with an Oscar buzz this year is Cinderella Man. Both are brutal but beautiful, both are about the bonds that bind us, both are about families and fighting and both pack a powerful punch.

Jeff Shannon wrote, “In dramatising the legendary Depression-era comeback of impoverished boxer Jim Braddock, director Ron Howard benefits from another superb collaboration with his A Beautiful Mind star Russell Crowe, whose portrayal of Braddock is simultaneously warm, noble, and tenacious without resorting to even the slightest hint of sentimental melodrama. The desperate struggle of the Depression is more keenly felt here, and Howard shows its economic impact in ways that strengthen the bonds between Braddock, his supportive wife (Renée Zellweger) and three young children, and his loyal manager (Paul Giamatti); all are forced to make sacrifices leading up to Braddock’s title bout against heavyweight champion Max Baer (Craig Bierko) in one of greatest boxing matches in the history of the sport.”

It is fascinating for any writer to learn that the term Cinderella Man was coined by the great newspaper guru of the 20’s and 30’s Damon Runyon who was a memorable storyteller.

Says Yarn Spinner director Ron Howard, “As a storyteller I seem to be drawn to situations where characters have the rug pulled from under them. It’s about the audience being so caught up in the details and the choices that these characters are making, the dilemmas they’re facing, the heartache they’re feeling, the little moments of triumph that are keeping them going. Those are the things that make it compelling. That’s where you’re offering the lessons. Russell Crowe wanted to play Jim Braddock because it’s a representation of his essence. He just had a son, he loves his family. Playing Jim Braddock was a real opportunity for Russell to present an aspect of himself that we really haven’t seen on screen.”

But the Family Man lashed out as reported by Hollywood Insider, Jordan Reife: “On Monday following the movie’s stateside opening, while holed up in New York City’s Mercer Hotel, Crowe threw a phone at hotel employee Nestor Estrada, sending him to the hospital with a gash in his face.”

The guy was going nuts,” recalls Estrada. “I was scared!”

Crowe was taken into custody by New York’ finest and charged with second-degree assault and criminal possessions of a weapon. He faces up to seven years in prison if convicted when he returns to court this month.

“I am just getting used to being a husband and a father away from home,” explained Crowe to David Letterman, in between huge mouthfuls of humble pie, once the cops had finished. “And that’s a level of abject loneliness I’m just not used to.”

The incident occurred when Crowe couldn’t get an international call through to his wife Danielle Spencer, at their home in Australia.

The movie had box office written all over it. To date, however, Miramax’s big awards hopeful has earned a mere $55 million domestically despite mostly favorable reviews.”

Saving spin, perhaps, but says Crowe of Braddock, “I liked what he stood for. His core

values remained the same regardless of failure or success. This country was built on the shoulders of people like Jim and Mae Braddock hardworking parents who put their children as first priority.”