09 June 2005

Blockbuster Politics

These days, the box office numbers are almost
as important as the poll numbers.

Since the spectacular success of Fahrenheit 9/11
and The Passion of the Christ, pundits and hacks
all over the country have increasingly added
“film critic” to their well-padded resumes.

Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott has this to say
about National Review Online’s glowing
review of Cinderella Man:

It’s amusingly obvious why NRO has thrown its
nonexistent critical weight behind Cinderella Man.
It's everything Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby
quietly, subversively wasn't. Eastwood's allegorical
chamber drama violated the pious strictures of
family-value entertainment as chiseled on stone
tablets and brought down from the mountain top
by Michael Medved. The fighter’s family in MDB is
a gimme-gimme pack of trailer-trash Snopeses;
Braddock's family in Cinderella Man is a warm,
movable hearth. Million Dollar Baby enters a dark
tunnel and travels the length of it to accept death
as a personal choice and deliberate destination.
For all its somber coloration, Cinderella Man is as
life-affirming as a Frank Capra movie without all
the corny humor of contrived eccentricity.
Million Dollar Baby took a girl-power story and
existentialized it. Cinderella Man enshrines
masculinity in a humble wooden frame.

Well, the box office has spoken -- and so has Russell Crowe.