Night & Day — There are the requisite extended training sessions, some geared to getting laughs. Even the famous boxing movie meat locker makes a return visit. Razor will be trained by an old geezer played by Alan Arkin, who has many of the film’s best comic lines. ‘The Kid’ will be trained by his own estranged son (Jon Bernthal), who, cue the heartstrings, has a son of his own. Whether or not the little boy will be able to call ‘The Kid’ grandpa is one of the emotional turns in this very satisfying movie.
“Grudge Match,” which is directed by Peter Segal and written by Tim Kelleher and Rodney Rothman, works because the people behind it are honest about their goals. They want to entertain you, hoping you’ll leave the theater in good spirits. They succeed. You may even have a tear in your eye. The acting by all is straightforward and the main boxing match is a realistic as it needs to be. The fighters are determined to show their mettle.
As an added bonus, there’s a Buffalo Bills joke early in the film that brought down the house at the screening I attended.
Another movie about single-minded determination is “Nebraska.” The story is simple. A crusty curmudgeon named Woody Grant (played by Bruce Dern) thinks he has won a million-dollar sweepstakes. To claim his prize he has to get to Lincoln, Nebraska from his Billings, Montana home. His family is aghast. They accept that he’s a drunken old coot, a stubborn mule in his seventies, but they can’t believe he’ll actually walk to Nebraska just to prove a point. He and his wife have been married for so long that they spend their days talking past each other, when they actually do speak.