Near the end of the excruciatingly depressing "Million Dollar Baby," this country's greatest action hero stood over Hilary Swank's hospital bed, shut off her respirator and started to cry. At least I think that's what happened -- sitting in the theater, I started jamming popcorn kernels into my eyeballs and bracing for the apocalypse. After all, if the toughest man in Hollywood could start to bawl on a 50-foot screen in front of millions of movie-goers, anything could happen.I note this not because Sports Guy is especially right or anything--I think he's got a bit of an obsession with Eastwood crying--but because I wanted to say something about Million Dollar Baby. I like Clint Eastwood in a general sense. I think he has made some very good movies. He tends to be a little depressing and slow for me, but there's no denying that he has a distinctive and beautiful style to his movie-making. But I'm here to rain on the Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby as best picture quality parade.
On Mystic River: I do not like Sean Penn, but I thought he was pretty good. Tim Robbins, on the other hand, was laughably bad. I mean jeez, we made fun of Kevin Costner when he had that accent in Thirteen Days. And was he mentally handicapped or something? I couldn't tell, which isn't a good sign for putting character in your character. Oh, and by the way, I figured out who killed her about forty-five seconds into the movie, which does away with lots of the suspense. And more Laurence Fishburn would not have been less. And how old is Marcia Gay Harden? She plays every age from 25 to 72, without any special make-up. It's bizarre.
I have a more simple criticism of Million Dollar Baby: if the entire plot turns on a series of events more implausible than a sequel to Brokeback Mountain starring Dick Cheney and Michael Moore, you have a problem. Apparently I'm the only person who watches boxing anymore. The scene where Hillary Swank breaks her neck was so unrealistic I expected Clint to sneeze out little purple men in tap dancing shoes to use their mind beams to move the stool three inches to the left so that she landed more perfectly from the sucker punch landed by that East German boxer (who, incidently, was played very well by Rick Fox, although I think he's out of Hillary's weight class). I can't believe anyone took that movie seriously after that scene.
And you want to know the sad part? It was totally unnecessary. She could have got hurt from a normal punch, she could have got in a car accident driving back from Vegas, she could have sneezed hard and broke her neck and it would have better served the purpose of getting to the depressing part of the movie. Instead we got a scene so staged and absurd that Hulk Hogan is suing for copyright infringement. Seriously, if I wanted to watch professional wrestling, I would have turned on Spike TV. Ridiculous.