Movie Review: Bleed for This

The movie “Bleed for This” is about the boxer Vinnie Pazienza who has probably the most amazing comeback story in the history of boxing and perhaps in all of sports history. After going through a difficult boxing career with highs and lows and then turning things around to win the lightweight boxing championship, Vinnie broke his neck in a head-on car crash. Despite everybody telling him he should get his spine fused so he could walk again and everybody telling him his boxing career was over, he defied all the odds and returned to boxing again, winning another championship at a much higher weight class against Roberto Duran. From the beginning of Pazienza’s boxing career, you had to wonder why he was even allowed to be a boxer because he just did not have a nose for the sport and his nose was broken in just about all of his fights. How any person can continue to fight considering the pain of a broken nose that is being hit over and over again during a fight and the obvious problems this would cause with breathing is an amazing feat in itself. Pazienza was a very tough fighter who paid a huge amount of dues to be a boxer and lived in his parents home during most of his boxing career. From his surroundings where he lived and trained in Rhode Island, it seems he did not make that nearly enough money during his career considering the dues he paid and his fame within the sport of boxing. Pazienza also had a severe gambling problem during his career, that caused him many financial problems along with so many other boxers who followed the same path.

The part of Pazienza is played very convincingly by Miles Teller who is a great up and coming actor whose breakout role was in Whiplash where he played an abused drummer in a high school band. Overall, I thought this movie was well made and the acting was good. You have to admire the athletic trek that Miles Teller had to go through to get into boxing shape for this movie, proving that acting is not always the imagined easy path of just memorizing your lines and hitting your marks. The actor Aaron Eckart does an effective job of playing Vinnie’s trainer, Kevin Rooney, who was the same trainer who trained Mike Tyson.

This movie is an above average and well-made boxing story and I do recommend it.

Movie Review: The Edge of Seventeen

In life, we all know that there is a price to pay for everything. Everything we buy and everything that most of us sometimes take for granted. There has always been a huge price for being young. Most of the time you have no money of your own, you are at the mercy of your parents which can be both good and bad, you have to worry about fitting in at school and figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life and for many of us, 17 or 18 is too young of an age to know what you want to do as an adult. In recent years bullying has become a huge problem in this country mostly because there are so many more ways to bully someone with the advancement of the internet, social media and smartphones. It seems teenagers are now even more cruel now than they have ever been which makes the entire difficult task of becoming and adult that much more challenging. Add to this the stress of tests, SAT’s, hormones, confusion, trying to figure out who you are and it is a wonder any of us were able to survive 4 years of high school. The unique phenomenon of bullying is all about some sick damaged kid trying to find some kind of temporary sadistic relief from their own misery with the thrill of making some other kid feel worse than they do. The problem of bullying is rampant and it seems there have been no real solutions offered in the last few years.

Since the 2008 crisis the plight of 20-year-olds has become much worse, with the incredible rise of college costs, the guaranteed money you will probably owe when you graduate from college and facing the impossibility in many cases of ever getting any decent job for a long period of time. The realization that owning your own home is going to be much more difficult than it was for your parents, if this ever happens for you and facing a life long possibility of having to rent an apartment where the rents increase every year, mostly due to the housing crisis in 2008. If that were not enough, the realization that social security will probably not be there for you when you need to be able to retire is another problem facing you in the future. These are not good times for young people in this country, unfortunately.

The movie “The Edge of Seventeen” is a very good story about the very difficult late adolescent years of a 17 year old girl Nadine, played extremely well by Hailee Steinfeld, who has proven herself to be not only a great dramatic actor with her Academy Award nomination in 2010 for True Grit and a very good singer, but now a highly skilled comedic actress in this movie. Ironically Hailee herself was bullied while in high school, which eventually lead her to be home schooled. There are a series of life events in this movie, some depressing but many funny, especially the conversations between Nadine and one of her teachers played very well by Woody Harelson. Woody and Hailee have a very strong chemistry together and the contrast between her manic nervous personality and his extremely calm laid back demeanor is one of the many highlights of this very well made film. The actress Kyra Sedgwick plays Nadine’s mother and Nadine’s best friend is played by Haley Lu Richardson and both were very good in their roles. This movie was both unusual in dealing with the very common problem of adolescence and growing up which is more difficult now than it has ever been.

I thought this movie was well acted with a very solid story line and was also very funny despite the sometimes very difficult story. This movie was also produced by James L. Brooks which is another sign of the great quality of this production. I highly recommend this film.