In lockdown, with the largesse of watchable content available through Netflix, Prime, Disney+ Hotstar and other online streaming sources, there is probably enough content for every taste. There is a reasonable choice of sports movies as well. This is our attempt to suggest a few lesser known sports movies.
We begin with a movie called “Bleed for this” available on Netflix. With movies like Raging Bull and the Rocky series, Boxing is definitely a bankable sport for movie makers. “Bleed for this” is also another boxing movie, based on a true story.
Vinny Pazienza (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinny_Paz) is a Rhode Island based lightweight category boxer with a reputation on the East Coast. The movie begins with Vinny, world champion in the lightweight category, trying his hand at the junior welterweight category, but loses the fight. In the aftermath, his manager tells the press that Vinny should never fight again. (Learn about weight categories here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weight_class_(boxing) )
Vinny then hires Kevin Rooney as his new coach. They decide to fight 2 weight categories higher. He takes down a French opponent to win the bout, and become the junior middleweight world champion. Then Vinny gets into a near fatal car accident that leaves him with a broken neck and may never walk again. The movie is engaging, with adequate fight scenes, and ok performances and a one-dimensional storyline. The main meat of the movie is about Vinny’s determined recovery from the accident, his struggle for getting back in fight shape, and emerging triumphant at the end of the movie.
The crux of the movie is the inspirational comeback by Vinny after having to spend 6 months with a halo (https://www.spine-health.com/glossary/halo) around his head. Keen followers of triathlon may recall a certain Tim Don Halo man. (https://www.on-running.com/en-in/athletes/tim-don) There are a few scenes that stick:
The first scene is where Vinny goes back to the doctor after six months to have the halo removed. He refuses the anaesthesia and just bears the pain of having 4 large bolts removed from his skull.
There is a sequence where Vinny, unknown to his family, is working the bench press in the basement. He then calls Kevin to help him get back in shape. Kevin does the obvious, and tells him that it is a bad idea. The dialogue goes something like this:
Kevin: Vinny, no, no! You just don't know how to give up.
Vinny: I know exactly how to give up. You know what scares me, Kev? Is that it's easy.
In the last scene, a reporter asks Vinny, the new super middleweight world champion about the biggest lie he was told through his boxing comeback. Vinny replies saying “Its not simple”. He means that the lie told to him was that things are not simple. That this is the lie people will tell you to make you give up. But if you just do the thing that people tell you you can’t, it gets done, and you realise that the truth is that it is simple.
In the health crisis situation we all are in currently, and the economic crisis that we will find ourselves in due course, giving up will be easy. But if we keep doing what we are supposed to be doing, taking each day as it comes, we will soon realise it was simple enough.
Image Credit: https://www.denofgeek.com/