Clint Eastwood's sports tragedy is pretty much the polar opposite of that other boxing Best Picture, the feel-good, sequel spawning Rocky. This character driven drama remains solid and compelling (and I don't care what anyone else says: I totally think Hilary Swank deserved that second Oscar).
Rocky Graziano was originally supposed to be played by James Dean; instead it's one of the roles that helped make Paul Newman a star. This story of a scrapper who fights his way from the streets to the middleweight championship is one of the great sports movies of all time.
Director Karyn Kusama hasn't had the best luck lately, her last two films being Jennifer's Body and AEon Flux, but at least she can take comfort in the fact that her debut was so well-received. With a great performance by Michelle Rodriguez at its centre, Girlfight is a definite must see.
A film can't inspire a million sequels without tapping into something that truly speaks to audiences. The original (and best) Rocky came out in 1976, the most recent entry came out in 2006. I think it's safe to say that given that its story has carried on for 30 years, there's something to it that is ultimately timeless.
This Martin Scorsese-Robert De Niro collaboration is, quite simply, a masterpiece. This visceral, vicious film does not pull any punches and De Niro's performance is astounding.