Take a Drink: every time Billy is called “champ”.
Take a Drink: for each sports movie cliché that you spot.
Do a Shot: for the training montage.
Take a Drink: every time Billy does something self-destructive.
Do a Shot: every time that you cry.
By: Frankie B. (Two Beers) –
I will pretty much watch any sports movie that is put in front of me. In the spectrum of great to shitty, sports movies generally land in the middle. It has been a while since I’ve seen a great one (The Fighter), so the creative combination of Antoine Fuqua and Kurt Sutter was enough to sell me on this movie. The inclusion of Jake Gyllenhaal, fresh off of stand out performances in Enemy and Nightcrawler, confirmed that I had to see this movie no matter what.
Southpaw follows a light heavyweight boxer, Billy Hope (Gyllenhaal), who is recognized as the best boxer in the world. After a charity event, he is involved in an altercation with contender Miguel Escobar (Miguel Gomez), that leads to the untimely death of his wife, Maureen (Rachel McAdams). He has to fight an uphill battle to both regain his lost title and his daughter, taken away by DCFS.
Every performance in this movie is stellar. Gyllenhaal, McAdams, Whitaker, and newcomer Oona Laurence all excel in their roles. First off, Gyllenhaal’s physical transformation was incredible considering how frail he looked in last year’s Nightcrawler. He definitely upped his game for this one. McAdams gave a stellar performance considering the small amount of screen time she gets (she dies- it’s in the trailer). The true star of this movie has to be newcomer Oona Laurence; this little girl puts on a goddamn masterclass in how to make the audience cry. Everything she does seems genuine and her rapport with Gyllenhaal is pretty freaking incredible. I think this girl has a great future ahead of her.
A lot of boxing movies tend to falter in that they feel fake and the action looks too staged. Everything here looks believable; from the in-ring gore to the training sequences, the creators hit their goals. I also have to mention Forest Whitaker playing Mickey to Gyllenhaal’s Rocky. I truly forgot how great Whitaker can be when given good material to work with.
The movie follows almost every sports movie formula exactly. Hero is on top of the world, personal tragedy strikes, goes back to his roots, then wins in the end. It’s not a bad formula, it’s just gotten a bit stale. The great thing about Southpaw is that it makes the most it can of itself while following the generic formula. Could there have been a couple of curveballs thrown in? Yes. But the movie was still pretty great regardless.
Can someone please tell Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson to hang up his acting shoes? Holy shit, this guy brings every fucking scene he is in to a screeching halt. He stands out like a sore thumb every time he is on-screen, and doesn’t even seem to be trying at all. Just stop.
If you are a fan of sports movies, Southpaw will be a must see for you. Enjoy the performances and the brutal boxing sequences.