Flickchart’s Greatest Battles
In which we pit two movies together using flickchart.com, debating their merits or lack thereof.
Two action movies separated by almost two decades. M:I III was a gigantic step forward for the series, redeeming it after the pile of garbage that was M:I II. Predator spawned a few sequels and some crossover movies with the Alien series but none of those are particularly noteworthy, in fact most are quite bad. On the other hand there are not one, but two future governors starring in Predator while I’m pretty sure there are zero in M:I III. Predator was also one of my first exposures to sci-fi film, which is one of my current favorites. Also I don’t really remember much about M:I III except that Philip Seymour Hoffman was in it and I certainly do remember a number of scenes from Predator.
I do like PSH though…
Ah, fuck it, give it to Predator-SB
Million Dollar Baby
OMG! A FLICKCHART FIGHT ABOUT PEOPLE FIGHTING! Let’s jump right in, shall we?
“Million Dollar Babyâ€ is a fairly conventional human narrative about a woman (gasp!) who convinces a trainer to turn her into a successful prizefighter. (Ewww, splittails beating each other up in a way that does not cater to my boner–GROSS!) “Fight Clubâ€ is an instance of cinematic Defcon Batshit concerning men who voluntarily (and illegally) beat each other to a pulp as a way of reclaiming their “manhood,â€ which the men in the story complain has been stripped away from them by things like having a job, consumerism, eating with utensils. It’s also about capitalism, and mental illness, and terrorism. It’s a lot of movie. (I’ve noticed that films adapted from philosophical novels are often criticized if they ignore certain elements of the book, but overwhelming if they don’t.)
It might not seem like it at first, but the contents of both movies are actually cut from similar cloth–they both question the age-old “wisdomâ€ that links men to physical aggression. “Million Dollar Babyâ€ does so by showing us a woman that also displays these supposedly “masculineâ€ abilities and utilizing them. “Fight Clubâ€ satirizes the ideas that not only condone violence in men (by suggesting it’s an unavoidable part of their nature), but demand it, lest their man-card be revoked. (Some young men appear to not understand that the ideas contained in “Fight Clubâ€ were, in fact, satire–which is troubling.)
The problem is, both of these movies miss a big part of the gender story they’re telling. “Million Dollar Babyâ€ shows a woman participating in her passion despite prejudices, but not really struggling to overcome those roadblocks–the film doesn’t display much of the disdain (and probably danger) that a female prizefighter would undoubtedly have to endure. The oppressive system of thought that she would have had to break through is never exposed or named. “Fight Club,â€ on the other hand, loudly criticizes hypermasculinity, but only as its consequences ultimately relate to society at large (read: other men). Women–those who bear the brunt of these consequences–are largely unheard in this film. The sole female lead, Marla, really only exists as “the leading lady,â€ “the girl,â€ nothing more.
I went into this battle with the intention of giving it to “Fight Clubâ€–it’s less conventional, its pace is mesmerizing, Brad Pitt is fire onscreen. I also thought that even if “Fight Clubâ€ didn’t do a complete job of its social narrative, it was at least trying, whereas “Million Dollar Babyâ€ didn’t even start. But I think I’ve just figured something out. Maybe “Million Dollar Babyâ€ wasn’t telling a gender story at all. It’s not about a “female prizefighter,â€ it’s about “a prizefighter.â€ I still think themes of gender should not be ignored in such a movie, seeing as historical context does matter, but it would be a far more egregious omission from a film that was explicitly about gender–a film like Fight Club. Fight Club gets points for originality, but if you set out to do something, you have to actually do it.-EW
Million Dollar Baby