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Million Dollar Baby: This Is One Fight Where You Get Your Money's Worth






     Copyright 2006 Ed Bagley

Million Dollar Baby 3 Stars (Good)

After watching so many pay-for-view, big time, hyped fights on the tube and being totally disappointed, watching Million Dollar Baby was refreshing because I really got my money's worth.

Million Dollar Baby is the story of Maggie Fitzgerald (Hillary Swank), a 31-year-old woman who wants to achieve her idea of the American Dream: to become a professional boxer. She finds her way to Frankie Dunn's (Clint Eastwood) gym only to get the cold shoulder.

Dunn, who barely stays afloat as a boxing trainer in a run-down gym, has never tasted real fame and fortune. Some of his fighters moved on to more aggressive managers and have earned more fame and fortune.

"Scrap Iron" Dupris (Morgan Freeman) acts as a go-between to bring Frankie and Maggie together. Dupris realizes Maggie is dead serious, a devout trainee and stubborn in her quest. The word "no" is not in Maggie's vocabulary. Frankie eventually agrees to take her on, and she fights her way to a title shot.

Her quest to be a champion takes a heart-wrenching turn when she becomes 100% paralyzed during the title fight. Her opponent throws a cheap-shot punch after the bell ending a round, and Maggie collapses to the mat, hitting her head on the corner stool with neck-shattering force.

It is here that the drama really begins in earnest as Frankie must now deal with his fighter, whose career abruptly ends.

The bond between Frankie and Maggie becomes a "family" issue as Maggie cannot deal with her misfortune; she attempts suicide but fails, and then enlists the help of Frankie to end her misery.

How Frankie, a Catholic who attends Mass almost every day, deals with Maggie's request brings to light the controversial topic of euthanasia.

You must see this film to understand how emotional Frankie's decision becomes. The issue of euthanasia is dealt with very sensitively and in a balanced way; it is worth the price of admission alone.

This is a really good film that has the hardware to prove it. When the 2005 Academy Awards presentation ended, Million Dollar Baby, nominated for 7 Oscars, won 4, including Best Picture, Best Director (Clint Eastwood), Best Actress (Hillary Swank as Maggie Fitzgerald) and Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman as Eddie "Scrap Iron" Dupris).

Eastwood was also nominated for a Best Actor Oscar but did not win in his role as Frankie Dunn.

Paul Haggis who wrote the screenplay was nominated for an Oscar. Million Dollar Baby is based on short stories by F. X. Toole, the pen name of fight manager and "cut man" Jerry Boyd.

Some critics wore out their keyboard pads yipping about what was wrong with this film, but the award givers were far more generous. In addition to the 7 nominations and 4 Oscars, Million Dollar Baby also picked up a ton of awards (another 44 wins and 29 nominations).

I believe a lot of folks are just plain upset with Clint Eastwood for winning another two Oscars with Million Dollar Baby as a Director and Producer (Best Picture). Eastwood was not known as a great actor (his "spaghetti" Westerns-on my personal favorites list-- were not exactly Oscar material), but he has become a Director of note.

Eastwood also won two Oscars for Unforgiven (Best Director and Best Picture) as well as being nominated for Best Actor which he did not win. He was also nominated for Best Director and Best Picture for Mystic River but did not win.

Some people are just bummed out because he was considered a so-so actor and now has become a Director and Producer to be reckoned with.

Million Dollar Baby is a standout compared to much of the trash Hollywood is producing today. And Eastwood? I just like him. If I had to go to war or fight in an alley, I would want Clint Eastwood on my team and in my corner, anything less and you would not qualify as a red-blooded American male.




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Ed Bagley is the author of Ed Bagley's Blog, which he publishes daily with fresh, original articles on Internet Marketing, Jobs and Careers, Movie Reviews and Lessons in Life intended to delight, inform, educate and motivate readers. Visit Ed at . . . www.edbagleyblog.com


Posted on 2007-01-27, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author,


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