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Movie Breakdown: Chuck

May 18, 2017

Film

Pre-Screening Stance:

Since the Rocky flicks seem to have run their course, someone decided to make a movie about the real life guy/boxer who inspired Sylvester Stallone to create the Italian Stallion.  Is this a story that’s worth telling?  Maybe.

Post-Screening Ramble:

It’s 1975, and there’s a top 10 fighter by the name of Chuck “The Bayonne Bleeder” Wepner (Liev Schreiber) who has been given the chance to take on the Rumble In The Jungle winner himself, Muhammad Ali.  Naturally, no one thinks he has a shot at anything but getting KO’d, but through sheer determination (and with the help of a thick skull), he lasts 15 rounds and becomes a hero to everyone in his hometown.  Then, of course, he goes about ruining his life because he’s an impulsive, selfish fool.

Chuck is a fairly brief hour and a half.  You see some lead up to the fight, the fight itself and then the downfall.  I’m sure there’s more story that could have been told, but the film works as is because what’s there is grounded and relatable.  It’s full of real people doing real things, and there’s something oddly charming and warm about the way its generally unfortunate plot unfolds.  I give all the credit to Schreiber, who turns in a great performance on the screen and as the film’s narrator.  He really does well to make you feel like Chuck’s collapse isn’t because he’s a bad person, it’s because he’s an idiot.  And let’s face it, we’ve all been there.

If you want a nice matinee (that doesn’t feature superheros and explosions and whatnot) this weekend, Chuck is a solid option.

One Last Thought:

I’ve always found Naomi Watts to be an alluring presence, but something about her in this film is just intoxicating.  Maybe it’s the red hair.  Or the don’t give a fuck attitude.  Or both.

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