Tag Archives: boxing

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Pop Culture Happy Hour: CREED II

Sly, Wood Harris, Michael B., and Jacob ‘Stitch’ Duran all return. (MGM)

It had been too long since I got to appear on a PCHH panel with the great Gene Demby from Code Switch, so I was very happy to find myself sitting beside him for this episode dissecting Creed II, which frustrated each of us in different ways. You can hear the episode here; my review of the movie is here.

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Halo, Goodbye: Bleed for This, reviewed.

ciaran-hinds-miles-teller-and-aaron-eckhart-seacia-pavao

Here’s my NPR review of Bleed for This, writer-director Ben Younger’s new biopic about super middleweight champion Vinny Paz’s unlikely-but-true comeback from a massive injury. Not essential, but not bad.

Gonna Fly Again: Creed, reviewed.

In my NPR review of writer-director Ryan Coogler’s stirring new Rocky sequel Creed, I avoid mentioning that I sorta-cried four times during this movie but only once during Inside Out. Read it here, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Requiem for a Middleweight: Southpaw, reviewed.

Like Robert De Niro and Daniel Day-Lewis before him, Jake Gyllenhaal transformed his body to play a boxer. (Scott Garfield)Those who’re skeptical of the doctrine of self-mastery through sweat probably won’t find much to hold their interest in Southpaw, a boxing melodrama so old-fashioned it’s almost new. But I dug it. If my NPR review contains slightly fewer cliches than the movie does, it’s not because I took a dive.

Notes on Champ: Fetch Clay, Make Man and ABSOLUTELY! {perhaps}, reviewed.

Roscoe Orman and Eddie Ray Jackson as Stehin Fetchit and Muhammad Ali in "Fetch Clay, Make Man."

Roscoe Orman and Eddie Ray Jackson as Stephin Fetchit and Muhammad Ali in Fetch Clay, Make Man. (Round House Theatre)

My review of Round House Theatre‘s strong production of Will Power‘s Fetch Clay, Make Man, a play about the unlikely friendship of Muhammad Ali and Stephin Fetchit, is in today’s Washington City Paper. I also review Constellation Theatre‘s update of a century-old Luigi Pirandello play, ABSOLUTELY! {perhaps}. Continue reading

Mouth Almighty: I Am Ali, reviewed.

Muhammad Ali with his then-wife Veronica Porche and their daughter Hana in the 1970s.

“Muhammad Ali is our black Paul Bunyan,” wrote Budd Schulberg in the New York Times 16 years ago, “except that Bunyan’s superhuman exploits were fables and Ali’s are real.”

Muhammad Ali is already the subject of many, many fine books and films. The distinguishing feature of the new documentary I Am Ali, which I reviewed for NPR today, is that filmmaker Clare Lewins was given permission to use never-before-released private tapes that Ali made of his conversations with his daughters and close confidants for his own enjoyment.

As someone who has listened to all 537 episodes of This American Life, many of them more than once and some of them more than twice, and who has annoyed my parents, brother, friends, and girlfriends by recording lengthy interviews with them on various occasions, this approach strikes a chord with me. The recorded voice of someone speaking to one other person will always feel more intimate than a close-up photograph ever could – to me, at least. Continue reading

Radio Radio: On Downtown Boxing Club, for Metro Connection

Downtown Boxing Club trainer Dave White

Trainer Dave White

The thermostat at Downtown Boxing Club read 43 degrees — Fahrenheit — the Sunday afternoon I spent reporting this story for Metro Connection. It felt strange to be in a boxing gym and not be moving around. I’ve wanted to go train at this place for years; a couple of the guys I train with off and on have told me good things. Anyway, I’d better get on it: Downtown Boxing Club will have to move this year, for the third time in its 15-year existence.

You can hear the piece here. I was sorry to have to lose the part where trainer Dave White says that to land a punch you have to be quick enough to catch a penny.