Mr. Holmes VS Southpaw

VERY IMPORTANT INTRODUCTION

(Trigger warning—this introductory segment mentions violence against women.)

To learn more about why we didn’t review Straight Outta Compton (2015), I recommend you read these articles about the truth that its creators chose to omit. If you would like to do what I did and donate money to a worthy cause—instead of giving it to Dr. Dre—please follow this link to White Ribbon. (I was initially going to donate to Lifeline, but I went for a more targeted approach. However, Lifeline would also appreciate your support.)

Thank you.

*                *                *

Greetings, trusted allies! Welcome back to The Cage Match—the monthly comparative movie review podcast in which my good friend Justin McArthur and I discuss the latest box office heavyweight alongside a comparable indie unknown. The linking topic betwixt these works for this particular sojourn is ‘mind versus body’. Intriguing, non?

Playing the part of ‘body’, the box office hit we discuss this month is Southpaw (2015), a sports drama about a man whose only marketable talent is getting beaten thoroughly insensate under harsh lighting. (Apparently the part was initially written for Eminem, which I WISH I had known when we recorded the podcast. Because MAN.) Written by Kurt Sutter and directed by Antoine Fuqua, this film demonstrates the transformative talents of Jake Gyllenhaal, if nothing else. (Wikipedia, IMDB)

Playing the part of ‘mind’, the the indie film we have chosen this month is Mr. Holmes (2015), a crime drama mystery, or ‘crimdramstery’, about Sherlock Holmes in his twilight years. Based on the novel A Slight Trick of the Mind by Mitch Cullin, it was written by Jeffrey Hatcher and directed by Bill Condon, and elevates Sir Ian McKellan into the stratosphere of wonderful actors who have played Sherlock. Which wouldn’t be possible without the iconic characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, obviously. (Wikipedia, IMDB)

(Spoiler warning—we spoil the thematic content of the ending of Mr. Holmes, and the literal content of the ending of Southpaw. But I maintain that neither of these exist beyond a reasonable stretch of the average imagination.)

Some of the topics we discuss this month include:

  • excellent child actors
  • Justin’s ‘humorous jokes’
  • representations of Sherlock in the current zeitgeist
  • the emotional journey (which can, at times, be hackneyed or non-existent)
  • your brain is LITERALLY who you are
  • the use (or disregard) of social awareness
  • how editing can make or break a film
  • the inherently calming effect of talking with Forest Whitaker
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