actors, Lucky 13 Film Club, movies

L13FC: Pugilism

A seemingly silly, violent sport is still a popular genre. Why? It ties into why people are attracted to the stories of war. Ordinary people find within themselves the motivation to rise to the surface to victory. That grit and tenacity are virtues, in my book. To live actively with a purpose is a life worth living. That’s why I’m a sucker for a hero story. It’s the most basic narrative since the classical era. I believe hero-worshipping is an intrinsic part of human DNA. 

Welcome back to Cindy’s Lucky 13 Film Club where everyone is encouraged to comment and share their thoughts regarding the monthly topic about the film industry. Today, it’s about the genre of boxing. Why do you love them? After all, can’t we predict the plot elements of the boxer story? 

  1. The protagonist is poor, forgotten, abused, or alone in life. 
  2. The protagonist discovers a mentor who gives him/her hope. 
  3. The decision is made to be a boxer. The training begins. 
  4. The boxer experiences some initial success until a problem occurs. Usually, something from the past revisits. 
  5. The boxer suffers a loss. He considers throwing his career/life away. 
  6. The boxer finds the strength within and fights the big fight. He/She takes a beating, but hangs in there to the finish and wins. 
  7. It was the love and devotion of the partner/mentor that explains why the boxer had the fortitude to carry on.
  8. They live happily ever after. Most of the time. 

That was easy. What makes, then, a better boxing movie than another? The human backstory? The quirky characters and heartfelt comedy? The wisdom of the mentor? The star power of the boxer? The musical score? The director’s choice of filming the fight itself? Do you like your boxing matches where you feel every punch and smell the sweat? 

Looking at the following movie posters to help jiggle your memory, you will probably be drawn to a few and say, “Oh, yeah, that was a good boxing movie. I loved that one.”  My question to you is, why? Why not the others? When comparing the classic boxing films to recent ones of the last twenty years, does technology help?