Sport

The Champ (1931) King Vidor, Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper, Irene Rich, Drama, Family, Sport

The Champ (1931)
Dink Purcell loves his alcoholic father, ex-heavyweight champion Andy “Champ” Purcell, despite his frequent binges, his frequent gambling and their squalid living conditions. And there’s nothing Andy wouldn’t do for Dink. When Andy wins a race horse gambling, he gives it to Dink and they race it at a Tijuana track. There, Dink meets Linda Carleton, a race horse owner herself, and they have an immediate rapport. But Linda’s rich husband sees Andy and realizes Dink is Linda’s son, who she gave up when she and Andy divorced. Andy is bribed $200 to allow Dink to visit with Linda, but refuses to allow Dink to spend six months with the Carletons. When Andy loses the horse gambling and winds up in jail after a drunken tirade, he realizes Dink’s place is with his mother. Dink tearfully goes but sneaks out and returns at his first opportunity, filling a depressed Andy with a desire to make good. So Andy goes into training after his managers arrange a boxing match with the Mexican champion.

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Downhill Racer (1969) Michael Ritchie, Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Camilla Sparv, Drama, Sport

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David Chappellet is a mean-spirited skier, who profits from another skier’s injury to gain a spot on the American Olympic team. His roommate sums up his goals when he observes of David, “He’s not for the team, and he never will be”; but precisely who the David is that David is so fiendishly striving for we’re never to learn. He develops a short-lived relationship with Carole Stahl, a glamorous European woman even more capricious than himself. Chappellet’s identity trouble are exacerbated by the fact that he is an “Event” as well as a personality; and more astute minds than his own have difficulty where the one leaves off and the other takes over. Director Michael Richie’s (“The Candidate”) feature film debut.

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Banchikwang / The Foul King (2000) Jee-woon Kim, Sang-Myeon Park, Kang-ho Song, Ho-kyung Go, Comedy, Sport

Banchikwang (Kim Ji-woon, 2000)
Dae-Ho is an unproductive bank clerk who is late to work every morning and the object of his manager’s frustrations. He was a fan of TV wrestling as a child, but can’t get out of a headlock. He finds a local wrestling trainer and through a series of events eventually starts to train. He is slowly transformed as he begins his second job as the cheating villain wrestler known as the Foul King. He starts to stand up for himself in odd ways that are not really in his own best interest. Events get out of hand as conflicting influences come together.

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Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004) Ken Burns, Jack Johnson, Keith David, Samuel L. Jackson, Documentary, Biography, Sport

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The story of Jack Johnson is huge. The first black Heavyweight Champion of the World, 1908 to 1915, he was rowdy, smart, rebellious, and proud. He was also resilient in the face of unrelenting racism. And, as Stanley Crouch observes in Ken Burns’ Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, “There is nobody like Jack Johnson, because, first thing, when Jack Johnson was fighting, he could have been killed at any of his major fights. There were people out in the audience who were probably willing to murder him. He knew it, they knew it, everybody in the world knew it.”

Talented and world-famous as a young man, as well as essentially unbeatable, Johnson was champion when (official, as opposed to underground) boxing was a wholly white province, when the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Jack London, all editorialized as to natural orders, in which African Americans were humble and inferior, and Caucasians were honorable, strong, and always right. And yet, as courageous and frankly brilliant as Jack Johnson was, his story is frequently forgotten in the wake of more recent flashy sports and other celebrities.

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