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The Hollywood-Media 'Million Dollar Baby' Hoax

Friday, 24 December 2004 12:00 AM

When the movie debuted last week, the L.A. Film Critics immediately voted it runner-up for best picture of the year, it received five Golden Globe nominations, the National Board of Reviews promptly placed it on its Ten Best list, and reviewers around the country confirmed what the coming attractions promise.

David Sterritt of the Christian Science Monitor rhapsodized that the "love story" … towers over other year-end movies." It’s a very hard movie to review, he said, "since it hinges on a plot twist I'd rather not give away." Hint, hint.

Charles McGrath of the New York Times was equally ecstatic, spending over a thousand words detailing Eastwood’s efforts to get the film made, the book on which the movie was based, the lengthy tradition of boxing films, the literary subtext of such movies, the recent revival of an interest in boxing thanks to cable TV, an allusion to Joyce Carol Oates’ view of boxing as "America's tragic theater," and his own opinion that boxing is "a kind of mythic arena in which the rituals that are reenacted are more primal than those of the seminar room, and the toe-to-toe combat even more fraught than that between, say, Michael Eisner and Michael Ovitz." Oh, how very inside!

McGrath also quoted Eastwood, who affirmed that the movie is "a love story." Oh, and he also devoted a thin paragraph to an outline of the movie – a very bare outline.

Longtime columnist and film critic Jack Mathews said, "The movie focuses on the father-daughter relationship that develops between Eastwood's Frankie Dunn ... and Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank), the 33-year-old waitress he reluctantly agrees to train for a career as a pro boxer," and again quotes Eastwood as saying, "It's not a boxing story, it's all about hopes and dreams ... it's a love story and the boxing is just there."

And critic Emanuel Levy called the movie "perfectly timed as a Christmas release ... a spiritual, even religious movie about the search for redemption of an old Irish Catholic who's become disillusioned with the church and the lack of significant family relationship. Through his (Eastwood’s) relationship with Maggie (Swank), Frankie redeems himself and experiences a moral and emotional rebirth at the most tragic circumstances." Hint, hint.

All this was good enough for my husband and me, on a recent jaunt to New York City, to enjoy the musical "42nd Street," to marvel at the dazzling Christmas tree at Rockefeller Plaza, to stroll down Fifth Avenue, and to overeat at a number of wonderful restaurants.

We walked into "Million Dollar Baby" fully expecting to see good or great performances and a movie that "promised" us – remember those trailers, ads and reviews! – both riveting and enjoyable entertainment.

But as they say in New York: Fuggedaboudit! Not because I didn’t agree with what the reviewers said, deceptive as it was. It’s what they

What they didn’t say was that Dunn’s protege Maggie establishes a remarkable boxing record, rising quickly to become a one-knockout wonder. But in a rematch with a known dirty fighter, she gets slammed from behind and crashes, headfirst and with graphic, temple-gouging horror, through her boxing stool.

Next scene: Maggie is hospitalized as a quadriplegic, on a life-support respirator, with no hope of ever moving again but with Dunn sitting faithfully by her side day after day, week after week – significantly missing the daily Mass he has attended for 23 years as well as the frequent consultations he has had with his foul-mouthed priest.

Maggie wants Dunn to help her die, but not yet. First she develops a vividly depicted blue-purple, foul-smelling, fulminating infection, which requires that her leg be amputated. Again, she asks for his help. But, still, not yet. So, she bites off her own tongue and Dunn enters the room as blood is spewing, spurting, dripping everywhere. Is it time yet? Well, not quite.

But finally Dunn decides it

This is the movie that ads now say "May contain scenes not suitable for those under the age of 13." Duh.

As critic Harry Forbes (Tidings online) finally admitted: "What starts out as a formulaic, Rockyesque fight film takes a disturbingly downbeat turn, becoming a somber meditation on assisted suicide with a morally problematic ending which … will leave Catholic viewers emotionally against the ropes."

Aha! So the personal is political after all! This is the Christmas "gift" that the secularist, anti-Christian powers-that-be in Hollywood and the media decided to foist on the public during the Christmas holiday season!

A film about a failed Catholic who is such a moral weakling that he vanishes after he commits murder. A film that both Hollywood and the media have knowingly lied about in order to entice people into movie theaters so they can cringe at its unending blood and gore and experience not enlightenment but pity at the heroine’s fate and disgust at her trainer’s cowardice.

Upon leaving the theater, my husband and I – for the first times in our lives – were met by a number of people handing out lengthy questionnaires regarding our reactions to "Million Dollar Baby." Did we (and the other moviegoers) like it? Would we recommend it? Well, no and no.

What we did feel – along with a great number of people who grumbled as we did when they left the movie – was great resentment at the false advertising that had brought us into to this "holiday" movie to begin with.

So, here’s a caveat: If you want to have a very Merry Christmas, miss this leftwing-inspired hoax!

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When the movie debuted last week, the L.A. Film Critics immediately voted it runner-up for best picture of the year, it received five Golden Globe nominations, the National Board of Reviews promptly placed it on its Ten Best list, and reviewers around the country confirmed...
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Friday, 24 December 2004 12:00 AM
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