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Million Dollar Cry Baby

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    Originally posted by Moose Jaw:

    Hey I just thought of something. We have two movies nominated for Acadmey Awards that both deal with disability issues. In MYB Hollywood wants us to beleive a quadriplegic is better of dead. In RAY, we celebrate the way Ray Charles overcame blindness to go on to become a musical legend and a national treasure. Let's hope people who see these movies see the irony. Ray Charles beat every imaginable odd. An African American child goes blind by age 7. He comes from a poor family, grows up in an America that has not yet outgrown segregation and yet he creates a life and music that inspires generations. Hmmm. I for one am greatful that a young Ray Charles didn't have an over the hill music teacher who wanted to put a pillow over his face and end his suffering
    Actually, we have three disability movies nominated for Oscars this year--THE SEA INSIDE (still another quad-euthanasia movie) was nominated for Best Foreign Film.

    Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.-- Søren Kierkegaard
    "Who are all these strange ghosts rooted to the silly little adventure of earth with me?"--Jack Kerouac


      From IMDB/YahooNews, January 26, 2005:
      Commentators Issue Intentional Spoilers About 'Baby'

      [NOTE - SPOILER ALERT: Ordinarily we do not offer "spoiler" warnings when discussing the content of movies unless they also appear in the news reports that we compress for this digest. The following item, however, covers the controversy over the actions by some commentators and columnists to undermine Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby by disclosing a key plot element. Readers who have not seen the movie and who do not want to be informed about the issue it raises until they have seen it may wish to skip this item.]

      Rush Limbaugh has become the latest commentator to blast Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby, calling it a "million dollar euthanasia movie." On Tuesday, he facetiously apologized for letting "the cat out of the bag when I mentioned to you that the real subject of the movie is, when this heroine becomes paralyzed, she wants to die and they say, 'Okay, you'd be better off dead,' and they pretty much zap her. I apparently spoke out of school, as a movie critic and reviewer, uh, ladies and gentlemen. I just feel terrible about this." Critic Michael Medved told USA Today that he had revealed the plot twist because "there are competing moral demands that come into the job of a movie critic. We have a moral and fairness obligation to not spoil movies. On the other hand, our primary moral obligation is to tell the truth." Medved, who says he "hated this movie," also remarked that "They didn't want to tell people what it is [about] because no one would come." On Tuesday, an orgaization of paraplegics also joined the critics of the movie.
      Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.-- Søren Kierkegaard
      "Who are all these strange ghosts rooted to the silly little adventure of earth with me?"--Jack Kerouac


        Am I missing something, this is just a movie right? Are people really that concerned, USA must be a strange place to live. Personally couldn't give a stuff for the thoughts of an aging entertainer, I think it's a bit unfortunate that you guys pay so much attention to people whoose whole life was/is devoted to dress-ups and fairytales. Emperors new clothes - Clint can't act for shit anyway, the chimp (as usual) did a better job!


          Besides Million Dollar Baby and The Sea Inside, there was one other film this year that featured a character with an SCI. It was called "Saved". A bit like "Heathers" set in a Christian school, it is a biting but funny and thoughtful satire. One of the characters is a para (played by Maculay Culkin). I thought he did a very respectable job, and the script deals with him in a very positive way. There is one scene where he gets back into his chair from the ground way to easily, but it is an otherwise good (and uplifting) portrayal. See Saved instead of Million Dollar Baby. Regardless of how "good" that film may be, Clint Eastwood does not deserve our money.

          On the other hand, The Sea Inside is actually supposed to be anti-assisted suicide, even though the main character does die in the end (because that is how it happened in real life). Apparently the director tries, within the constraints of the true story, to show that the wrong decision was reached.

          Just my 2 cents.

          Matt (T6 incomplete 8/27/04)

          Originally posted by SCI-Nurse:

          Well, who here has actually seen this film? I saw it tonight with a friend of mine who has a C4 injury. We both laughed at how phoney the SCI scenes were.

          All the SCI scenes were SOOOOO fake! You would think that Clint Eastwood would have gotten some decent technical advisors. No halo (you must be kidding with a Philly collar for a C1-2 fracture!). She never is intubated, is trached from day one, and talking in full sentences from day one even though she is vent dependent (and not even talking with the vent as you could clearly see CR doing in his many public appearances). She is never turned, suctioned, etc. She of course never has any bowel or bladder care. The pressure ulcers she got were all on fleshy (not bony or weight bearing areas) and looked like no pressure ulcer I have ever seen. She supposedly had her care paid for but never got any rehab, was in a warehouse/nursing home facility with no ECU, no decent power chair she could drive, or even a call light, and never got a day of therapy or counseling. Even her trach looked fake.

          Regardless of what you think of the theme of the film or the ending, I am wondering if anyone else here found all this phoney stuff distracting in the last few scenes like we did.

          "On November 2 the voice of the people was heard. I promise not to imitate it out of respect for the mentally retarded" - Lewis Black (Comedian)
          "On November 2 the voice of the people was heard. I promise not to imitate it out of respect for the mentally retarded" - Lewis Black (Comedian)


            I could not resist it, I went to see it yesterday. I actually thought it was a pretty good movie and that it would not do anything for or against SCI one way or the other. The main problem I found with the movie was after she got SCI, I could not take the movie seriously as it seemed so fake due to all the reasons KLD gave. You would think they would have done a little more homework on the technical aspects of C1,C2 SCI.

            I could not help but to think if at the end of the movie if they had put some kind of information on the screen Like "every 10 seconds somebody sustains a Spinal Cord Injury, please support the Christopher Reeve Project" or something to that effect how useful the movie really could have been. But no, all you see at the end was Clint Eastwoods name flash in front of you about 20 times, oh well.

            Anyhow, hope Clint makes a lot of money with this movie, maybe he will donate the proceeds for SCI research you think?

            [This message was edited by Curt Leatherbee on 01-29-05 at 01:38 PM.]
            "Life is about how you
            respond to not only the
            challenges you're dealt but
            the challenges you seek...If
            you have no goals, no
            mountains to climb, your
            soul dies".~Liz Fordred


              since when does a cognizant person on a vent "need" someone to help them die? i believe they can ask for medical intervention to be terminated all by themselves.


                Originally posted by Curt Leatherbee:

                Anyhow, hope Clint makes a lot of money with this movie, maybe he will donate the proceeds for SCI research you think?
                Get involved in politics as if your life depended on it, because it does. -- Justin Dart

                I shall not tolerate ignorance or hate speech on this site.


                  Beating Up Baby

                  Clint Eastwood, in the line of fire

                  By David Edelstein
                  Updated Friday, Jan. 28, 2005, at 12:25 PM PT

                  Beating Up Baby: Now that Million Dollar Baby has won a slew of Oscar nominations and Clint Eastwood is closing in on Martin Scorsese as the favorite for the best director prize, it's worth touching on the ticklish issue of the movie's ending. Critics are in a no-win position here: We can't really grapple with the film without revealing its most brutal plot turn, but to "spoil" the ending would be to incur the wrath of millions.

                  So stop here if you haven't seen the movie. Read on if you have, or you don't care to, or you haven't and want to know what's in store for you.

                  Disabled organizations around the country-among them Chicago's Not Dead Yet-have begun a campaign against Million Dollar Baby. In the film, the quadriplegic Maggie compares herself to an old, sick dog that needs to be taken out to the woods and shot, and the movie endorses that view. The weirdly belligerent, foul-mouthed priest argues (unconvincingly) that euthanasia is a sin, but the film's true priest-its spiritual conscience, Eddie (Morgan Freeman)-gives Eastwood's Frankie his blessing to finish her off.

                  You could argue that Million Dollar Baby is not offering Maggie's fate as a prescription: It's one particular young woman in one particular place in one particular story-which some critics have maintained is an allegory with boxing as its frame. I'm a literal-minded guy, though, and have a hard time getting past the wrong and crudely manipulative notes on the surface. Isn't it odd that this million-dollar baby (a boxing cover girl, a celebrity, a near-world champion) is in a hospital room with no flowers or cards, no hovering fans, no doctors or counselors committed to helping her with her transition? Her trailer-trash family is cartoonishly venal: They don't even pretend to offer sympathy. (Couldn't just one of her relatives have been genuinely distraught?) Last year, Christopher Reeve went out like a champ, but Eastwood's movie is so threadbare, underpopulated, and shameless that there really is nothing for the saintly martyred Maggie (also, supposedly, a celebrity) to live for. She took on the world with shining eyes and was broken without mercy.

                  I don't buy the view of the disabled community that the notoriously vindictive Eastwood is getting revenge for having been sued under the Americans With Disabilities Act over access to a hotel he owns in Carmel, Calif.-although Michael Miner in the Chicago Reader notes that Eastwood later testified before Congress for a change in the law that many activists felt would gut it. Eastwood didn't write the screenplay (Paul Haggis did) or the stories it was based on. This isn't about revenge; it's about insensitivity and opportunism, as well as an aesthetic that lends itself to fatalism-a man is what he is, a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, etc.

                  I loved The Sea Inside for Javier Bardem's performance, but I'm also troubled by its view that euthanasia should be sanctioned by the government. It's possible that an individual has a moral right to take his or her own life, but the legal hurdles should be left in place. The last thing we should want is for a disabled or terminally ill person to feel pressure to ease the emotional or financial burden on family members-or for family members to apply that pressure. And as Not Dead Yet wants you to know ... well, the name says it all. ...

                  Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.-- Søren Kierkegaard
                  "Who are all these strange ghosts rooted to the silly little adventure of earth with me?"--Jack Kerouac


                    Oscars Reflect America's Rightward Shift

                    by Randy Shaw 25/01/05
                    BEYOND CHRON (San Francisco)

                    Oscar nominations were announced today, and the three leading contenders for Best Picture are Sideways, Million Dollar Baby, and the Aviator. All three films offer deeply conservative messages that have been almost entirely ignored by America's overwhelmingly white male movie reviewers. If you have not seen these films and do not want to find out what happens, stop reading; but those interested in learning what reviewers omitted will be in for a surprise.

                    I was so excited about what I had read about Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby that I saw it at San Francisco's Metreon the second day it was out. As a big fan of boxing movies, my expectations were high for the film about a young female boxer played by Hilary Swank trained by old timers played by Eastwood and Morgan Freeman.

                    But none of the reviewers revealed that Million Dollar Baby is less about boxing than it is about killing disabled people. And the film's message cannot be separated from the public anti-disability rights perspective of its director and lead actor, Clint Eastwood.

                    We are told in reviews of Million Dollar Baby that a dramatic plot twist occurs more than halfway through the film that cannot be revealed. But this "plot twist" is essentially a shift to an entirely different film with a very different message.

                    The film initially focuses on the changing relationship between the young boxer and an aging manager whose daughter ignores him and who now has been given a final chance at career glory and patriarchal redemption. But the last third of the movie has viewers leaving the theater with a different message: disabled people prefer to die.

                    As the Chicago-based disability rights group Not Dead Yet puts it, "Million Dollar Baby becomes Million Dollar Bigots."

                    Here's what happens. After a succession of rapid knockouts, Swank's character faces a title shot with a champion who has already been exposed as a dirty fighter (although she is supposed to be from Germany, she is dark-skinned rather than Aryan). Swank appears headed to victory when after the bell rings and she is returning to her corner, she is hit from behind. Not prepared for the illegal blow, Swank falls. But because the round had ended, her manager (Eastwood) has put the fighter's stool in the corner, and Swank falls not on the ground but on the edge of the stool.

                    Here is where the movie gets bizarre and Eastwood's political agenda becomes clear. As a result of the fall, Swank suffers spinal cord damage and learns she can never walk again. A victim of a high profile felony---having been atttacked after the round had ended-Swank should have been awarded the title by disqualification. But curiously, Swank, Eastwood and everyone else claim she lost because she made the mistake of turning her back on her opponent.

                    Having fulfilled her dream of winning a shot at the big time, Swank sees no reason to go on living. She expresses this view despite having full use of her mental faculties and being outfitted with a modern wheelchair. Eastwood tries to conceal his true message by having his character urge Swank to go to college, but she rejects this and begs Eastwood to kill her. After her leg is amputated, Swank shows her desire to die by trying to bite off her tongue. Eastwood then makes the "moral" decision to fulfill her desires and puts her to death by lethal injection.

                    After providing a realistic, hard nose drama of Swank's rise to the top, Eastwood shifts to the world of unreality and illogic to make his political point about putting an end to the lives of disabled persons. I have never heard of a boxer being seriously injured by falling on a stool, and the entire series of events following Swank's fall is nothing short of preposterous.

                    It appears geared entirely toward creating a scenario where the audience would root for Eastwood to kill his surrogate daughter, Swank (some might suggest he is acting out his anger at the adult daughter who has cut him out of her life, though the reason she returns all of his letters unopened is never revealed)

                    Eastwood was sued on the grounds that a resort he owns was inaccessible, and it has clearly left him with a grudge against disabled persons. Eastwood testified in Congress in support of weakening the Americans for Disabilities Act, and his face is on the cover of a book, "Make Them Go Away," which identifies him as a leader in the fight against disability rights.

                    Shame on Roger Ebert and other critics for heaping praise on this fundamentally dishonest and reactionary film. And shame on the academy for rewarding Eastwood with a Best Actor nomination.
                    BEYOND CHRON/Voice of the Rest

                    DUBIOUS CONCLUSIONS
                    January 28, 2005
                    By Michael Miner (The Chicago Reader)


                    The debate's already under way. Kalman Kaplan, a professor of psychology at Wayne State University, wrote a letter of protest to Roger Ebert. He seconded Ebert's praise for the first two-thirds of Million Dollar Baby, the portion Ebert had described in his review. "My disagreement is with what you haven't discussed: the 90 degree turn after Maggie's tragic accident into a naive . . . factually incorrect, out-of-date and dangerous characterization of a disabled person, and its implicit advocacy . . . of mercy-killing of the disabled." He compared Million Dollar Baby to propaganda films made in Germany under Hitler.
                    Diane Coleman considers herself lucky to have known what was coming. Coleman, president of Not Dead Yet, has spinal muscular atrophy. She's been in a wheelchair since she was 11 and is now on a ventilator at night. "I was the only wheelchair user in the theater, which was packed," she says. "I already knew what I was going to see, and I was pretty much steeled against it in terms of personal pain. But I couldn't stop thinking about all the people I see at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago who are newly injured and how they would react when they were assaulted by the ending.
                    Whole story: Dubious Conclusions

                    Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.-- Søren Kierkegaard
                    "Who are all these strange ghosts rooted to the silly little adventure of earth with me?"--Jack Kerouac


                      I read the short story "Million Dollar Baby" by F.X. Toole which the movie was based on but haven't seen the movie yet. F.X. Toole was an ex-cut man in the boxing world and I thought it was a pretty good read. Only 40 pages and I got through it during a BP sitting. I'm disappointed to hear that Clint made some errors in the movie with regards to SCI. Seems like some more work/research wouldn't have been that difficult. With that said, I'm glad the movie was made and I will go to see it.

                      There is a group in Chicago called "Not Dead Yet" who protested what they say was an anti-disability stance of the film. I have to disagree. I know there are people in this community who have shared their feelings about wanting to end their suffering (be it pain or otherwise) so I know its a real issue on the minds of people with disabilities. I agree with film critic Roger Ebert who basically said the actors in the movie have a right to do what we would not ordinarily do and we have the right to disagree with them.

                      After doing some reading Clint hasn't had a stellar track record with people with disabilities so he probably deserves some of the bad press he is getting.