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Watch the Real Documentary About The Characters From “The Fighter”

Watch the Real Documentary About The Characters From “The Fighter” (photo)

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WARNING: This post contains some mild spoilers for “The Fighter.”

Throughout “The Fighter,” an HBO documentary camera crew follows Dicky Ecklund (Christian Bale) around his hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. He believes — or he claims to believe — the documentary is about his impending boxing comeback. But we follow Dicky around Lowell, too, and we see how lost he is to crack addiction. There’s no way he’s making a comeback. So why is the crew there?

In reality, the cameras were making a documentary about crack addiction in America, and it’s not until the film, “High on Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell,” premieres on television, that the family realizes the reality not only of Dicky’s comeback movie but of Dicky’s comeback as well. It becomes a major motivational turning point in the film for Dicky and his younger brother Micky (Mark Wahlberg) who’s lived his whole life in his more famous, more gregarious brother’s shadow and who has sublimated his own wishes to those of his brother and his domineering mother (Melissa Leo).

If you’re curious about the real Micky and Dicky, SnagFilms has “High on Crack Street” available to watch for free in its entirety on their website. I would recommend it with a warning: it is a heartbreaking and harrowing film. Dicky’s story is a little less than half of the movie; the other half follows some of the other crackheads we see him palling around with in “The Fighter” including a sad woman named Brenda who can’t decide whether or not to get an abortion and keep smoking crack indefinitely or have her baby and go into rehab. “The Fighter” unquestionably paints a funnier picture of this place and these people — you won’t find “crazy” Dicky jumping out of any windows to get away from his mom in “High on Crack Street.”

There’s at least one sequence in the doc, though, that’s so interesting I’m surprised it didn’t make it into the fiction film. After Dicky goes to jail, his mother Alice attempts to raise bail money by charging admission to a private viewing Dicky’s old fight with Sugar Ray Leonard. The surreal scene gets even more surreal when a fight breaks out amongst the attendees at the rebroadcast. How’d that get left out? My guess would be that it had to be dropped because of the condensed chronology of “The Fighter,” where Dicky only goes to jail once instead of the two times shown in “High on Crack Street.”

We don’t see much of the real Micky in the doc, though we get to know Alice a little; she seems just as deluded about Dicky’s addiction as she is in the “The Fighter.” The Dicky of “High on Crack Street,” though, isn’t quite the same man we see played by Bale in “The Fighter.” He’s not the charismatic crackhead or the life of the party. He’s surprisingly quiet, and he doesn’t tell jokes or make boasts about his boxing skills. He’s doesn’t look or act like a local hero who can’t let go of his past glories. He looks like a broken man who’s long resigned himself to a lifetime of crack addiction. More than once the camera catches him staring silently into the distance, looking lost, searching for answers to questions he’s forgotten in a drug stupor.

“High on Crack Street,” directed by Jon Alpert, Maryann De Leo, and Richard Farrell, is available on SnagFilms.com. It’s a really interesting companion to “The Fighter.” It’d make a great DVD extra, too.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

via GIPHY

Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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