Saturday, October 1, 2016

PCP's Movie Pick of the Month for September: The Hammer (2007)

Sorry for the late September movie pick, it's been a hectic month for me. I know it's October 1, but I picked this movie several weeks ago so I'm calling it September's pick.

The Hammer (2008)

"They say you should never let go of your dreams. But if your dream is to be a Mouseketeer, and you're 45, you may want to let that one go. On the other hand, if your dream is to be a Wal-Mart greeter, you can hang on to that baby until like a year after you die." - Jerry Ferro

Boxing movies tend to be either intense character studies of real people like Raging Bull or Ali, or motivational under-dog stories like the Rocky movies or Cinderella Man. There have been a few boxing comedies like Diggstown and Grudge Match, but they mostly miss the mark if you ask me (Don't even get me started on the Barbara Streisand boxing comedy The Main Event). MMA has Here Comes the Boom as it's best comedy (and best overall movie actually, but with competition like Never Back Down, that's not saying a ton). Muay Thai has very little in the way of comedies, so I'm sticking with boxing examples for the moment. For my money, this month's movie pick, The Hammer, sits as the one of the best boxing comedies in recent memory.

 Jerry Ferro (Adam Carolla) used to be a decent amateur boxer as a teenager. He made it all the way to the gold medal match of the California Golden Gloves, but then he no-showed, giving his opponent the win by default. A decade later he's washed up, out of shape and scraping by working as carpenter. He still involved with boxing though, teaching beginner boxing classes at a local fitness gym. After getting fired from his job and losing his girlfriend on his 40th birthday, things seem like they can't get any worse for Jerry. But then, after knocking down a visiting high level pro-boxer in sparring, he is suddenly noticed by an Olympic boxing coach and is asked to try out for team USA. The prospect of making right on his past  motivates Jerry to get back in shape and get back in to training. In the process he experiences some competitive animosity from Robert, the other much younger fighter in his weight class, which leads to some amusing moments. At the same time he becomes involved with one of his students (Heather Jurgensen), with some awkward dates and funny dialogue. It's light, motivational, and fun. Also, the fight scenes are pretty convincingly choreographed, which is something I can be picky/snobby about. It's what ruined Southpaw for me.

The Hammer's message, standing in stark contrast to other movie's that I've picked (most notably The Wrestler), is simple. Don't give up on something if it's really important to you, and it's never too late to try. A homegrown example of somebody who didn't give up and tried despite his age would be Robin Hutchins, YMT's oldest fighter. Robin was 42 when they announced his name and he went over the top ropes into his first Muay Thai fight in 2012. And if you ask anybody who was there, they'll tell you that he had a war. I've always respected him for that. Trying out for the Olyimpics at 40 might be an extreme example, but Hell, people have even done that successfully. There are many real-life examples of immensely successful musicians, actors, athletes or entrepreneurs who started late or took a long time to achieve success. It's never to late to just try.

I could only find one trailer for this movie on YouTube, and I'm not posting it out of principle because it's edited really poorly and kills the comedic timing of most of the jokes. Seriously, it makes the movie look really bad. It's also not on Netflix, so you'll have to find it somewhere else if you want to see it.

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