In Contention

Sports Illustrated celebrates ‘The Fighter’

Posted by · 3:52 pm · December 14th, 2010

Vanity Fair and Entertainment Weekly covers may occasionally factor into the Oscar conversation, but here’s a rag we don’t normally discuss much during the season. In a neat bit of cross-media hype, Sports Illustrated has declared “The Fighter” the “sports movie of the decade” (rather a young decade, really, but they mean the last 10 years), and has granted it the cover of their “Year in Sports Media” issue. Also featured, apparently: “Secretariat” and “127 Hours.”

Sports Illustrated journo pablo Torre explains why they gave “The Fighter” the title ahead of such runners-up as “Million Dollar Baby” and “The Wrestler”:

None of those films makes you care for its protagonists like The Fighter. None of them has a performance as transcendent as Christian Bale’s playing Dicky Eklund, [Micky] Ward’s half-brother and on-again-off-again trainer, and the star of an HBO documentary on crack addiction. And none of them treats its subject matter – in this case, ’90s-era boxing in Lowell, Mass. – so authentically and with so little pretension.

As essentially meaningless as this honor is, however, this is a handy little boost for the film’s public profile, while the association with the Sports Illustrated brand ties in nicely with the film’s burgeoning image as the meaty, no-nonsense “people’s film” in the race. Well played. After that sweet haul of Golden Globe nominations, this is a pretty decent day for “The Fighter.”

(Thanks to Coming Soon’s Ed Douglas for passing this along.)


→ 16 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

16 responses so far

  • 1 12-14-2010 at 4:02 pm

    Nicolas Mancuso said...

    I have yet to see “The Fighter”, but I have a hard time believing any performance can be more “transcendent” than Mickey Rourke’s in “The Wrestler”, which I think will go down as one of the all-time greatest screen performances.

    If Bale even comes close, then I really can’t wait to see the film!

  • 2 12-14-2010 at 4:32 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Is it me or is The Fighter coming on like gangbusters?

    That photo is great, the buzz is growing, good reviews, awards notices aplenty, primed for decent box office, etc..

    I’d venture to say that it’s a three-horse race right now. Black Swan & Inception are lingering closely in 4th and 5th for me, for the moment – til the next award season wave comes along.

  • 3 12-14-2010 at 4:32 pm

    Brian said...

    You know I think this actually might be more “The Social Network” vs. “The Fighter” for the top prize — and I think part of that might have to do with The American Spirit being represented in both (entrepreneurial superiority vs. the underdog). “The Social Network” and “The Fighter” will probably be more Box Office than “The King’s Speech” as well.

    @ Guy, Kris: Do you think an American setting will bode better for these films?

  • 4 12-14-2010 at 4:35 pm

    caro said...

    the cover looks alike a Mad Magazine parody cover with Bale stand in in Alfred Neumann

  • 5 12-14-2010 at 4:36 pm

    Brian said...

    also — because Wahlberg worked hard getting this film made, I think he slips into the final Acting slot (taking Bridges or Duvall’s spot). It just seems like with “The Fighter” and “The King’s Speech” being released to the general public after “The Social Network” has already swept a lot of critic’s prizes and already had an audience stamp of approval that there will be only one opposition to “The Fighter” (1 v 2 also distinctly part of where we are in America). I just keep feeling like “The King’s Speech” already peaked before it will be seen by most people. Is it Fox v. Sony now?

  • 6 12-14-2010 at 4:37 pm

    Brian said...

    *whoops, only one in opposition to “The Social Network”

  • 7 12-14-2010 at 5:26 pm

    Colin said...

    Gee only 3 Fighter posts today. Slipping.

  • 8 12-14-2010 at 5:46 pm

    cineJAB said...

    SI curse! No BP nomination.

  • 9 12-14-2010 at 5:48 pm

    John said...

    Every so often in Hollywood, a league of actors come together in a film which may be presented as a master class in acting… in 1951, it was Streetcar; in 1976, it was Network; in 2006, it was Notes on a Scandal; and it 2010, it’s The Fighter.

  • 10 12-14-2010 at 9:12 pm

    Danny King said...

    While I haven’t seen The Fighter, I do think Torre’s reasoning is rather flawed. Of all the people who aren’t fans of Million Dollar Baby, I bet that none of them will testify that the film’s problem is not making you care for its protagonists.

  • 11 12-14-2010 at 9:51 pm

    cineJAB said...

    Does Christian Bale smiling terrify everyone else?

  • 12 12-15-2010 at 1:28 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    I started laughing when Wells posted this last night and I still haven’t stopped laughing at that cover. My god, that is one funny picture.

  • 13 12-15-2010 at 4:45 am

    Glenn said...

    What an awful picture!

  • 14 12-15-2010 at 5:52 am

    Maxim said...

    And here I thought Ready 2 Rumble would be more their speed.

    Sounds like Sports Illustrated knows as much about movies as Rolling Stone does.

    It is kind of interesting how they marginalized Wahlberg in a movie named after his character (I think?) though.

    Does SI even cover Wrestling as such?

  • 15 12-15-2010 at 7:21 am

    Sawyer said...

    I also think Wahlberg is inching closer to a nomination. Right now I’d go with:


    All 5 actors from Best Picture nominees.

  • 16 12-15-2010 at 4:14 pm

    SammysRun said...

    What a bizarre photo. “Hey, just hanging in the boxing ring with my hobo friend. Say hi to your mother for me.”