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Comparing Fact and Fiction in “The Fighter”

Comparing Fact and Fiction in “The Fighter” (photo)

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A few weeks ago, we pointed you to “High on Crack Street”, the real documentary we watch being shot in director David O. Russell’s film “The Fighter.” Today over at Fandor, critic Kevin B. Lee posted “Micky Versus Marky — The Same Fight Twice,” a superb video essay that goes deeper into the gulf between fact and fiction in the film. It compares the original fight between boxers Micky Ward and Shea Neary with the fictionalized version that serves as the climax of “The Fighter.”

That comparison is important because Russell and producer/star Mark Wahlberg’s visual approach to the boxing matches in “The Fighter” is to mimic reality: to approximate the look and feel of televised boxing matches. That choice, in turn, suits the entire film, which gets deep into the gritty realities of working-class Lowell, Massachusetts and crack addiction.

To shoot his fights, Russell used the same equipment and crew that HBO uses in their boxing telecasts; he even got Jim Lampley, George Foreman, and Larry Merchant, the analysts for the real Ward/Neary fight, to recreate their original comments, often word for word. But despite all those attempts at fidelity, Russell still couldn’t or didn’t resist the urge to fictionalize some elements of the fight for dramatic effect, particularly Neary’s knockdown of Ward just before Ward’s big comeback. Even “realistic” boxing, it seems, needs a storybook ending.

Here’s Lee’s video:

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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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

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