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Author Topic: Million Dollar Baby makes New York Times list of "Best Movies of the Century"  (Read 1948 times)
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« on: June 15, 2017, 11:23:35 PM »

The Times critics Manohla Dargis and A.O. Scott got together last Sunday and selected "The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century So Far." Million Dollar Baby is Number 3 on the list:

Million Dollar Baby
Directed by Clint Eastwood, 2004

A.O. Scott
Clint Eastwood sometimes releases his movies the way he shoots them: quickly and efficiently, without a lot of fuss and hype. “Million Dollar Baby” bypassed the festivals and the early awards-season buzz and was screened for critics about a week before it opened in December 2004. On a whim, I invited my editor at the time to the screening. Though he and I always got along well, we sometimes differed on matters of taste. Not this time. After the final credits rolled, we walked back to the office in a contemplative silence that he finally broke. “Now that was a movie,” he said.

It was, and it is. You sometimes hear that that they don’t make them the way they used to, but Mr. Eastwood – almost uniquely in 21st-century Hollywood – most assuredly does. In the years since “Million Dollar Baby” (which won him his second best picture Oscar), he has occasionally wandered into the public eye for reasons unrelated to movies. He appeared in a memorable Chrysler commercial, argued with an empty chair at the Republican National Convention in 2012 and expressed admiration for Donald J. Trump during the 2016 campaign. But that’s just his way of passing the time and letting off steam. Since turning 70 in 2000, he has continued to practice and refine his craft, producing some of the strongest work of his career and also some of the strangest. A ghost story? A musical? A rugby movie about Nelson Mandela? Why not?

But Mr. Eastwood has always been most at home in the classic American film genres: the western, the crime flick, the combat picture. And, in this case, the boxing movie, perhaps the most susceptible to sentimentality and cliché. The glory of “Million Dollar Baby” is that rather than strain for novelty, it settles into the conventions of the genre with masterly confidence and ease, and discovers deep currents and grace notes of feeling that nobody had noticed before.

Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank each won Oscars for their performances. Mr. Freeman plays a former fighter nicknamed Scrap who acts as the confidant and conscience of Mr. Eastwood’s Frankie Dunn. Frankie is a trainer haunted by ghosts and regrets who takes a chance on an ambitious young fighter named Maggie Fitzgerald (Ms. Swank).

If for some unfathomable reason you haven’t yet seen “Million Dollar Baby,” I won’t spoil the plot by saying any more. But if you have seen it, you know that there’s much more to this movie than its plot. The warm, sharp banter among the principal characters never gets old. The images, shot by Mr. Eastwood’s longtime cinematographer, Tom Stern, glow with unexpressed, somber feeling. Fifty years from now, as the end credits scroll on whatever screen viewers are watching on, they will reach the same conclusion my editor did back in 2004. This is what a movie looks like.
Richard Earl
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« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2017, 06:34:46 PM »

I am glad too see this!

Music speaks louder then words. It's the only thing that the whole world listens to. (Peter, Paul & Mary)
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