Movie Review: The Front Runner

I could not help but wonder what Gary Hart must have been thinking in 2016 when he saw Donald Trump win the election for President despite the myriad of things he had done and said about women for years compared to what he did in 1988. Within a few days Hart’s career as a politician was destroyed along with his Presidential campaign. There is no comparison to what Gary Hart did in 1988 to what Trump has said and done for so many years and after he was elected. The only reason why Gary Hart was ruined by his relatively minor one time mistake and Trump was elected is because people view everything about Donald Trump differently and say to themselves, “Oh that’s just Trump, who cares”. Despite all of this, the irony is quite amazing considering all that has happened during the last 2 years, including proof that Trump was having an affair with a porn star. At the end of the movie, it was confirmed that Gary Hart and his wife are still married 30 years after the “Donna Rice, Money Business” scandal and there was some real evidence that the press did in fact treat Gary Hart unfairly.

As far as the movie “Front Runner”, starring Hugh Jackman and directed by Jason Reitman, it plays like a combination of reality show and documentary, so I thought that the quality of the film making was not what I expected for a movie like this. The acting was very good, including Hugh Jackman as Gary Hart and Vera Farmiga as his wife and J.K. Simmons as Hart’s campaign manager.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating for this film is a very average 58% – which is about the same as my opinion, so I give this movie a very marginal recommendation mostly for the history of what happened 30 years ago.

Movie Review: Creed 2

Regardless if you are not a boxing or sports movie fan, one cannot help but admire the 8 movies in the Rocky franchise that started 42 years ago in 1976 with the release of Rocky, arguably one of the most emotional, relatable and best movies ever made. The movie Rocky came with both a screenplay and a new star that came out of nowhere – Sylvester Stallone. After Rocky, what followed was a very good sequel, Rocky 2 in 1979, another very good sequel, Rocky 3 in 1982 and two bad movies Rocky 4 in 1985 and Rocky 5 in 1990 that most people thought was the end of the franchise. The amount of work involved in making movies like this, including the intense boxing scenes with real contact and physical training involved is extremely impressive. Michael B. Jordan is in the kind of shape for this movie that Stallone was in for Rocky 3 and his acting in this movie is of Academy Award level quality.

Stallone revived the dead Rocky franchise 16 years after Rocky 5 with the release of “Rocky Balboa” in 2006, which was a return to a quality story and the end of Rocky boxing in a movie. What is even more brilliant is the new branch of this franchise with Creed, starring Michael B. Jordan, released in 2015 and Creed 2, released today that are both outstanding films. For Creed 2, the story idea is even better than Creed, with the son of Ivan Drago from Rocky 4 fighting Adonis Creed, remembering that in Rocky 4, Ivan Drago killed Adonis’ father Apollo Creed in the ring. I thought that the actor who plays Victor Drago, Florian Munteanu was miscast for this movie, because he is a huge heavyweight and 6’4′ and Jordan is at best a light heavyweight at only 5’11, but more of a middleweight. Because of the extreme weight difference, no boxing association would ever allow this match to even happen in the first place.

Creed 2 follows the same story paradigm as Rocky 3 and has references to Rocky 2, 3 and 4 throughout this movie that even included the return of Brigitte Nielsen, who appeared in Rocky 4 as Ivan Drago’s wife but thank God she has no lines in this film. The boxing action in this movie is as outstanding as the last Creed movie, with this version showing some brutal body shots that included broken ribs. As with all of the movies since Rocky Balboa in 2006, I have found it depressing that both Adrian and Pauley died of cancer some years earlier and Rocky still visits their grave sites, talking to them while reading the paper. The character of Rocky in both of the Creed movies leads a depressing lonely life and even gets cancer himself in Creed but is able to recover with the help of Adonis Creed.

The acting and the fight sequences in this movie are outstanding and like all of the previous Rocky movies include real impact with boxing that is extremely realistic. The Rotten Tomatoes for Creed 2 is a very high 79% and my rating is 95%. I highly recommend Creed 2.