Friday sees the release of Cinderella Man, starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ron Howard. From the commercials, it would seem to be your standard Rocky-ish rooting-for-the-underdog type movie. The way the advertising campaign is portraying the film, the film draws a comparison with how this real-life boxer helped to lift people's spirits during the dark days of the Depression.
My first thought upon hearing all this is that I've already seen this film, and I liked it better when it was about three guys and a horse named Seabiscuit. Yet if I eventually go see it in the theater, then I won't go in with any preconceived notions. It could very well tread this similar and recent ground yet still be original in it's own way and, overall, a darn good film.
All of this backstory is building up to a commercial I saw for the movie this morning that ran critic blurbs throughout. The final blurb announced something along the lines of, "This is one of the best movies ever made!". Quite a statement. Then I saw that it was uttered by Larry King.
I'm not saying that Larry King isn't entitled to his opinion, but it's pretty much conventional wisdom that those whose job it is to interview celebrities are going to have nothing but platitudes to say about them and their work. Of course, we don't see similar quotes from Katie Couric and the like in these commercials, but then again I imagine they restrain themselves from making such out-and-out praise. At the very least, they refrain from saying anything so blurb-worthy as King's comment.
It's not as if there are any laws being broken here. Yet scruples would seem to dictate that the studios not use such quotes from someone whose position restrains him from being an impartial...er...critic. And it's not like they would be reaching for straws, here, in terms of positive press. There appears to be plenty of actual critics that like the film. The Tomatometer rating for Cinderella Man currently stands at a high 87%.
So it may very well be that good a film. Hell, it may be an Oscar contender, for all that signifies. But let's leave King's sliced bread pronouncements out of it.
And a side note to the people who designed the Cinderella Man website: As good as it is, I think the soundtrack to Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is pretty much played out for it's use in trailers and promotional material. They got it playing during Iron Chef montages, for crying out loud! Give it a rest!
(This can also be viewed at Blogcritics)