The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Resurrecting The Champ

Submit to DeliciousSubmit to DiggSubmit to FacebookSubmit to Google BookmarksSubmit to StumbleuponSubmit to TechnoratiSubmit to TwitterSubmit to LinkedIn

Judy Thorburn

Resurrecting The Champ

Las Vegas Tribune - http://www.lasvegastribune.com
Las Vegas Round The Clock
- http://www.lasvegasroundheclock.com

The Women Film Critics Circle - http://www.wfcc.wordpress.com
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
">
kreatia@
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SAMUEL L. JACKSON IS AN OSCAR CONTENDER FOR "RESURRECTING THE CHAMP"

Flick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha ChemplavilFlick Chicks Chick-O-Meter The Flick Chicks, film, video, movie reviews, critics, Judy Thorburn, Victoria Alexander, Polly Peluso, Shannon Onstot, Jacqueline Monahan, Tasha Chemplavil

Resurrecting the Champ isn’t so much about the sport of boxing as it is a sentimental character study about the relationship between fathers and sons, redemption, and another issue, ethics in journalism. Think of boxing as a backdrop and you’ve got the idea.

The story is “inspired” by an article written in the Los Angeles Times by J.R. Moehringer and adapted to the screen by Michael Bortman and Allison Burnett and directed by Rod Lurie (The Contender).

Erik Kernan (Josh Hartnett) is an ambitious, up and coming sports reporter for the fictional Denver Times who lives in the shadow of his late father and namesake, legendary radio sportscaster Eric “The Wildman” Kernan and trying to juggle a relationship with his estranged (its never clear why) wife Joyce (Kathryn Morris of TVs Cold Case) a co-worker and successful reporter at the same newspaper, and his six year old son, Teddy (newcomer Dakota Goyo) that idolizes him.

As a prolific writer covering the sports beat, Eric can turn out more stories in a year than any of his colleagues. But, his boss/editor Metz (a noticeably aged Alan Alda), would rather have quality than quantity, and sees Eric’s work as mechanical and lacking personality. Blunt and to the point Metz tells Erik, “I forget your pieces while I am reading. It’s time to recognize your weaknesses and fix it.”

Erik is looking to advance his career and get published in the more prestigious Sunday magazine section, if only the right story would falls into his hands. As luck has it, one night after covering a boxing match Eric encounters a homeless elderly street bum getting beaten up by a gang of hoodlums and intervenes. Bruised, but not down, the old battered man tells Erik he is “The Champ”, aka “Battlin” Bob Satterfield, a former boxer who in his heyday back in the 1950’s was ranked third in the world, but whom everyone thinks died twenty years ago. Fascinated by the riches to rags Champ’s tales of the glory days when he sparred with Rocky Marciano and fought The Raging Bull, Jake LaMotta (in flashback scenes) Erik sees this as an opportunity he’s been looking for, a potential front page story that could be his ticket to fame. Soon with gifts of some beers and money, Erik is able to get close to The Champ, becoming his friend and encouraging the down on his luck street has been to relay anecdotes from his past that entail time in the ring as well as something that hits a more personal chord with the journalist, family ties.

The problem is Erik gets so caught up in The Champ’s drama, that as a responsible journalist, he fails to question his story, and instead of doing his homework depends on the research of a pretty office worker (Rachel Nichols) back at the paper to substantiate the facts.

Both may appear as polar opposites but The Champ and Erik have a lot in common, each having an agenda from their bond in which they seek admiration and redemption. In an effort to impress his son, Erik relies on fabricated stories about his “friendships” with sports celebrities. It’s the only way Erik knows how to connect with his boy, until his experience with The Champ and the cover story’s aftermath forces Erik to take a good hard look at his own life, relationships and the meaning of integrity.

Story aside, let’s be fair. A lot of critics have slammed Josh Harnett for being a wooden actor who can’t carry a film, let alone go head to head with ace actors like Samuel L. Jackson. In this, his best performance yet, Hartnett proves that he has grown as an actor and is up to the task delivering a touching, understated performance that is right on key. Okay, I’ll admit Samuel L. Jackson is in another league, immersing himself into the multi layered role of the dreadlocked, elderly, former heavyweight boxer on skid row. It’s such a sterling performance, that I won’t be surprised if his name is mentioned come Oscar time. The entire supporting cast is solid. On a particular note, one of my favorite actors Peter Coyote (known for his distinctive voice) is almost unrecognizable in more ways than one, in a small but significant role as Epstein, an elderly boxing promoter.

Resurrecting the Champ may not be what you expect if you are looking for a lot of action in the ring, but as an absorbing drama it poses some very thoughtful questions about the price we pay for success and recognition as well as what it means to be a responsible journalist. I wouldn’t quite call it knock out, but it packs some strong punches and goes the distance as one of the better films to be released in recent months.
You are here: Home Movie Reviews Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews Resurrecting The Champ