Directed by Bennett MillerUnited States | 2011
Moneyball raises questions almost effortlessly, but for the sake of telling a story it wanders into pedantry. The hinted-at debate about team payrolls and player salaries never forms a coherent dialectic. Non-baseball fans won’t know, for instance, about the luxury tax imposed on the wealthiest teams (or the fact that those wealthiest tend to generate the most revenue for baseball as a whole) from watching Moneyball. If anything, the narrative choices in the film reinforce the idea that teams like the New York Yankees pilfer talent and buy championships. This is still a hotly debated contention in the baseball world and by no means fact. But all of that’s okay, and here’s why: Moneyball isn’t a documentary. And it’s not about the Oakland A’s and their magical season. That story is told obliquely at best. The focus is on Beane.
Directed by David O. RussellUnited States | 2010
His turn as Dicky is a ghastly reminder that Bale is one of the finest—if not the finest—actors of my generation, a performer so committed that he dropped a ton of weight and picked up a deliciously charming Boston accent (I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually became a crack addict in order to go full Method). Dicky is a cartoon for much of the movie, and that works in the film’s favor. His big-eyed antics; his jumping out the window of a crack house multiple times; his incessant bragging about the Sugar Ray bout—all of these things denote a fractured, addictive personality that uses just the right amount of exaggeration to show us how obvious his problem is to everyone except his mother and sisters.
Directed by John G. AvildsenUnited States | 1976
At times diving headlong into self-deprecation, Stallone’s Rocky Balboa comes across as a genuine, struggling artist. He lost his way, his craft, somewhere in the mix and he knows there’s something terribly wrong with the way things have worked out, but he’s never given up even as the distractions in life overshadowed the real goal, the boxing. Though physically stocky and muscular Stallone’s mumbling, sheepish demeanour downplays his impressive frame just as Chaplin’s Tramp hid his physical dexterity behind apparent clumsiness. He’s built for boxing. It’s just the rest of life that causes him trouble.