Movie Review: SOUTHPAW

Hello to you, my avid fans.  Today, I will be doing my first review of a movie.   The movie in question is Southpaw the latest film from director Antoine Fuqua (Training DayShooter) and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Forrest Whitaker, and Rachel McAdams.  It is a boxing movie about a lightweight champion at the top of his game who, after a tragic event, spirals downward hitting absolute rock bottom, and must battle his way back to the top.  If this sounds like a movie you have seen before…well…it is…unfortunately.

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I went into this movie with low expectations after watching the trailer.  Not only that but I haven’t really been a fan of the director’s past work.  Training Day and King Arthur are about the only movies in the man’s resume that I enjoyed watching on some level.  He seems to be one of these directors that doesn’t really bring anything new to the table, playing it safe and banking on what has already been proven to work, and it shows here in this movie.

Another person I want to note is the writer, Kurt Sutter.  You probably haven’t heard of this guy unless you watch television.  This is Kurt’s first foray into movies.  His television credits are for writing, producing, directing, and acting several episodes of The ShieldSons of Anarchy, and the upcoming period drama The Bastard Executioner.  Both Sutter and Fuqua mesh well here in this movie because, well they both exhibit the same style and tone as showcased in all of their previous work.  While I have only seen a handful of episodes of The Shield and Sons of Anarchy, I hear how good the two shows are so I am disappointed that Sutter’s supposed skill doesn’t show up in the script. Perhaps he should stick to television.

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If you haven’t guessed by this point I wasn’t at all thrilled with this movie.  Southpaw suffers mainly because of the writing and directing.  The movie feels like the studio threw money at these guys and said “make a boxing movie.”  Well, that’s exactly what they did.  They took everything that works well for a boxing movie and said “you’re welcome.” There in lies the problem. The movie is a tired retread of the same boxing formula and nothing new is brought to the table.

The performances are good, don’t get me wrong, but even their acting can’t pull this movie higher than what the movie has set out to be.

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I had several issues with the movie, I won’t go into too much detail but just for safety sake there may be minor *SPOILERS* up ahead.

In the movie Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, Billy, suffers a terrible tragedy and ends up losing all of his money, but it’s never quite explained how much time has passed or where all of the money is going.  Its only implied that he is living a lavish lifestyle and in a month or so and he is already broke.  Also, the police work following the tragedy is cliched and very groan worth, bad police work which leads to a “revenge” fight in the climax of the film.  From here Billy makes all the wrong choices and loses custody of his daughter, the loss of his boxing license, his house, processions, and his promoter.  In other words, he hits rock bottom.

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We are then given the “hero must find a down and out trainer to build him back up.” Forest Whitaker is the trainer in question. However, he doesn’t train pro fighters, for reasons unkown, but for reasons unexplained he breaks this rule and ends up training him up to his comeback fight. During this time too we are introduced to a minor character, plot line, and subsequent off screen death that is supposed to bring more emotion to the already tragedy stricken plot.  The problem is the character is on screen for so little time and so poorly built that I didn’t really feel anything for the character.  Honestly, the movie would not have been affected if said character/plot was dropped. It only leads to a half assed speech and motivation for Billy and his trainer.

Also the entire movie’s timeline is not specifically stated but probably happens in a time frame of 6 months, maybe 8, but it’s definitely no where near a full year.   I have a problem with this because I feel like there is no way in hell that everything in this movie would happen in that short amount of time.  I am all for suspension of disbelief in movies, but this movie tries so much to root itself in reality that the viewer isn’t really allowed to suspend disbelief in the plot. There are other story threads and character development that make no sense as well, but that is probably best argued for another time.

At the end of the day, i give the move 2 out of 5 stars Knockouts.  The acting and fight choreography was good, and Jake Gylenhaal is very hot without his shirt. If you are a die hard boxing movie fan you will enjoy the film.  Me, on the other hand, I was hoping for something more.

P.S. I would like to formally ask Hollywood to create a boxing and/or mma movie where the characters aren’t stereotypical, incoherent, sub-par educated, d-bags…PLEASE!

JOTD: Cassidy Haley, “This Time”

Today’s Jam of the Day I stumbled upon while looking for examples of “fight photography and art” and google brought this video to my attention.  Now the concept of an underground fight club or a fight contest between two men is nothing new.  In fact it seems like they are a dime a dozen these days.  However, this may be the most homoerotic video I have ever seen.  Take a look.

Now, I am not quite sure what is up with the avant garde looking crowd, but the action in the ring is a lil more than suggestive.  Dare I say this is the first “fight club” type video to feature the fighters kissing?  The two men certainly hit the spot for fighter physiques and the fight choreography is above par.  Also it really helped to have then men in tight trunks, another thing you don’t see a lot of in the mainstream.  Overall, this video definitely peeked the gay side of me and I am more curious now about the thought process behind this video and the artist Cassidy Haley.  What do you guys think?  Can anyone give me other examples of fight club themed music videos?

Its Been a Long Time Coming

Holy Crap peoples! February!? Its July now!!!  I know its been a long hiatus from this blog but I feel like writing this weekend so stay tuned.

Coming up…the most homoerotic music video I have seen since…well…ever!  After that my thoughts on David Letterman and his final show (I know 2 months after the fact).  What I have been doing this summer and what I plan to do.

Another Year Older, Another Year Wiser (maybe)

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Hello again, yes I am far behind on my promise to blog once a week, needless to say I have some catching up to do.  So some of you may have noticed via Facebook and a few other websites that my birthday is coming up.  Yes its that time of year when everyone dreads adding another tally to that thing we call age.

This year is my last year as a 20 something. By the way, thank you you to everyone who compliments me on not looking my age.  So for this blog I thought I would talk about what has been going on in my life so far and what I look forward to in the next year of my life.

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To start, family.  I don’t talk much about my family because I prefer to keep them out of the spotlight.  But I do love my family and am very thankful with their support.  This past year I came out to them and brought home my first boyfriend, they were as cool as can be with the idea of bi/gay son.  Even my grandparents were cool with it too!  While I am no longer with that first bf, I am in another relationship and cannot wait for them to meet him.  Also, I too am keeping my boyfriend out of the spotlight so please do not ask for any pictures.  He will show his face when I have his permission to show it.  My family is also expanding too.  I welcomed a sister-in-law, a sister-in-law-to-be, and two new nephews (i.e. future wrestlers/fighters) expecting arrival over the next few months!

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Training wise, my pro wrestling skills continue to improve and I am learning a few new moves every year.  I have even enlisted a friend to give me a few private lessons in an actual ring to help me in my videos.  Who knows I may make an appearance at an Indy show this year, but its something that I am keeping on the back burner for now.  In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I am preparing for my blue belt.  Its been a long time coming and I am excited to add a new color to my belt collection and climb further up on the skill ladder.  The same goes for Muay Thai Kickboxing. I will be testing for what we call shirts at my gym (as opposed to belts).  I am looking at a blue shirt in my future.  Boxing and MMA are going smoothly as well, and much like pro wrestling, I am hoping to do an official sanctioned match this year.

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I love staying in shape and in addition to all of that training I have been lifting more in an effort to put my body into the best shape of it’s life.  Now the weight is hard for me to put on but I am happy to report that I am back up to 155 lbs and aiming for 160 over the next two months. Wish me luck!

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Onto the video front.  This has been the busiest year so far for me in my wrestling career.  Not only has UCW been growing (fingers crossed we can move into a new facility this year), but I am more easy than ever to find on the internet.  If you like me as a face outside of the traditional ring then you have UCW (http://www.ucw-wrestling.com/).  If you like me in real submission wrestling matches there is Movimus Wrestling (http://movimuswrestling.com/) under the name Case “CT” Thorton.  If you like to see me as a heel beating on the muscle boys why not check out Rock Hard Wrestling (http://www.rockhardwrestling.com/).  To see me as a heel doing one sided beatdowns or other crazy stuff (vampires) then Cameron Matthews site (https://wrestlecameron.wordpress.com/) is there to service you. Finally, even though I haven’t wrestled for them in a while and I do know they have some matches saved in the vault, for everything else in between there is BG East (http://bgeast.com/).

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There are more things to come this year, I know it. Maybe a full time job as a personal trainer? Maybe an acting role on a webseries? Maybe modeling for an ad or magazine? Who knows, but I am going to make it the best!

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Feel free to wish me a Happy Birthday on February 25th via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ethanaxelandrews), Twitter (@EthanAxelAndrew), or Instagram (@ethanaxelandrews).  For those of you wishing to send something more physical in terms of a gift or card you may do so by mailing to this address; Tovar Entertainment, Attn. Ethan Axel Andrews, P.O. Box 151, Woodlyn, PA 19094.

Next blog will be up in a few days…promise!

Favorite Comics: Daredevil

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Keeping up with my New Year Resolutions I blogging once again, and reading more, specifically, comic books.   Over the break I used some of my Christmas gift money to purchase some comics.  Not the single issue monthly comics, but instead the bound collections.  I haven’t read comics since I was a kid when my parents would purchase X-Men to help me get into reading.  I am not quite sure why I stopped reading.  I never had any complaints about reading comics.  The colorful pages, the compelling stories, and fantastical always had my attention.  Whatever the reason may be I am back into it now.

Over the Christmas break I put some of my Christmas gift money to good use. After stopping at a local comic book store, I picked up DaredevilThe Sandman, and Moon Knight.  The Sandman series is not to be confused with the villain in the Marvel Universe.

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First up, Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, aka the “Man Without Fear”.  The origins of Daredevil vary but most agree on this.  Matt was the son of a widowed boxer “Battlin” Jack Murdock.   Matt was a book worm and worked to do well in school, but also secretly wished to be a great fighter like his dad and took lessons behind his back.  Matt was blinded in an accident where radioactive liquid spilled into his eyes.  As a result, his four other senses were heightened to superhuman abilities giving him  a radar like ability.  As a child he stayed away from fighting with other kids and was taunted, being called a daredevil.

Matt’s father Jack was faced with a fading career.  In fear that he would not be able to provide for Matt he got involved with a crooked businessman called the Fixer.  Through him Jack was on the rise back to being a star boxer.  On the night Matt came to “watch” his fight, Jack ignored orders to throw the fight and instead beat his opponent.  This lead to the Fixer murdering Jack and leading Matt down the path to become Daredevil.

Matt continued his studies and became a lawyer.  His heightened sense of hearing helped turn him into a human lie detector, able to listen to the heartbeats of the people he interrogated.  Matt created the persona of Daredevil to do what he could not do in the courtroom. Unbound by rules, protected by the mask he could become the vigilante of Hell’s Kitchen, his home  in New York City.

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While I love the fantastical, mystical powers and superhuman forms and abilities, Daredevil does not hold any such abilities save for his heightened senses.  A master boxer, wrestler, martial artist, and acrobat he uses his fighting skills along with an augmented cane/staff to subdue his opponents rather than cosmic abilities.  Being a fellow boxer/wrestler/martial artist myself I can come to appreciate this.

When it comes to the timeless debate between DC or Marvel I constantly find myself favoring Marvel.  I identify more often with the characters in the Marvel Universe.  While I don’t have any issues with my parent’s I have felt like an outsider before.  As a kid I wasn’t always on the playground playing with my fellow peers, at the time I had no interest in physical activity. Instead, I was usually inside the classroom studying or, more often than not,  I was trying to complete homework at the 11th hour right before a deadline.  Then around 6th grade I watched my first boxing match and fell in love with the sport and wrestling shortly there after.  In a way, you can see some of the parallels between Murdoch and I in our youth. When I set out on my professional wrestling career I set out to represent the bullied and the weak, much like Matt defending the defenseless in Hell’s Kitchen.

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This is a great year to be a Daredevil fan too!  Soon the awful Ben Affleck incarnation will be a thing of the past.  In early 2013 the movie rights for all things Daredevil reverted back to Marvel from 20th Century Fox.  As a result Marvel Studios have teamed up with Netflix to produce 4, not 1, but 4 tv series and a miniseries team-up featuring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and the team up miniseries The Defenders.  The “Man Without Fear” this time around is Charlie Cox (Stardust, Boardwalk Empire).

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One can’t help but get excited, given Marvel Studios success on the big and small screens in recent years. Maybe even a Daredevil appearance in The Avengers? Now maybe if Marvel could get the rights for Spiderman back from Sony, and X-Men from Fox, we could have one hell of an Avengers team-up.  But that discussion is for another time.  In the mean time I hope you all too will visit your local comic store and discover your favorite comic book character.  The people there are usually knowledgeable about the products they sell and can help you find the perfect comic for you.

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New Year Resolutions

as I sit here in the final hours of 2014 I look back as the year that was. It was a great year for me I can send you nude to produce awesome videos for all of my fans. I stepped out of my comfort zone with some modeling pieces.   I also learned that nephews 2 & 3 are on the way in my family.

UCW had a rough year with the departure of a few wrestlers, Bodyslam’s, open heart surgery, and the death of the UCW mascot Winston, RIP buddy.  Despite the low points this year there are plenty of good ones we saw a new wrestler come into their own and other wrestlers gain the UCW belt.

I sit here in Chicago, in my friend’s apartment, thinking about what my goals should be for next year.  Some of you may find new year resolutions absurd or pointless. Yes, they may be pointless. However, I think it’s a good way to look at the past year while looking forward to the next and ponder about what you can do to improve things that are happening in your life. The problem with most resolutions is that people set goals that are too high for themselves. The key to keeping good resolutions is to make them obtainable. With that in mind here are my 2015 resolutions.

  1. Gain more muscle and increase weight to 165 lbs.
  2. Win the UCW belt.
  3. Blog more. Once a week at least.
  4. Earn my NASM certification.
  5. Compete in anoth BJJ tournament.
  6. Earn my blue belt in BJJ.
  7. Earn my blue shirt in Muay Thai
  8. Read more books.
  9. Brew my own beer.
  10. Cook more.
  11. Bonus Resolution…compete in a boxing, mma, or muay thai fight.

I think this is a good and realistic list to follow. What are your new year resolutions? Thank you for following. Thank you for buying my videos. I hope all of you had a good 2014. Now let us pin 2014 and bring in 2015!

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Ethan Axel Andrews blogs about himself as well as the world of modelling, wrestling, combat sports, current events, news, and pop culture.

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