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“Chuck” (Bleeder) a must see for sports fans……..Wepner vs Ali


For sports fans in general and boxing fans in particular, a new movie opens in the United States this weekend that will bring back memories if you followed the pugilistic fist-a-cuffs during the Muhammad Ali era.  It is named “Chuck”, formally called “Bleeder”, referring to the real life “Rocky” of the 1970’s Chuck Wepner.


This movie brought back great memories I have of a day when heavy-weigh boxing was more than just a passing thought.  A time when the most recognized person on the earth was a sports figure and his name was not Pele. It was Muhammad Ali, the heavy-weight champion of the world.  There was no discussion on who was the champ, and Ali was not just a bigtime boxer. He was larger than life, and what he said, did, and represented dominated not only sport but politics and the world view in general  Some hated him and others loved him.  Even today after his recent death, he has people in both camps. And part of Ali’s life was to “meet” the men in the heavy-weight division that tried to knock the hell out of him at any cost.   Chuck Wepner was one of those men that gave it a try.  “Chuck” the movie is about this man and his date with Ali in the ring.


From a strong positive reaction to the film by top critic Norman Wilner:

The Bleeder offers a fairly equivocal take on that story, with Liev Schreiber (who also co-produced and co-wrote the film) playing the boxer as a loudmouthed hustler who carries himself like a king. It’s the GoodFellas of boxing movies, with Wepner’s self-aggrandizing voice-over constantly challenged by the images we’re seeing – an angry wife (Elisabeth Moss), an alienated brother (Michael Rapaport) and a drug habit that ruined the parts of his life he hadn’t already destroyed.

Wepner might think he’s Rocky Balboa, but Rocky Balboa was a good husband, a good father and a winner. Schreiber and Falardeau let him talk, but their movie has no illusions: The Bleeder knows this guy’s a bum.

Any movie that is compared to “GoodFellas” must be a winner.  It is.  Take a trip back to a day when the fight game was not all good.  But it was salient.  And if you are over sixty, you understand. If you are a novice in sport, or younger than a millennial, wise up and take a taste where sport, especially boxing, was just more than two men beating their brains into permanent damage.


(this movie is rated R for bloody images, profanity, sexuality, and nudity)


Feature photo:  Live Schreiber as Chuck Wepner (http://www.cultjer.com/liev-schreiber-as-boxer-chuck-wepner)








About Fred Pahlke

Fred Pahlke, an Oklahoma native has viewed over 10,000 sporting events in his 64 years. A season ticket holder of the Oklahoma City Thunder, former season tickect holder for the Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma City University Chiefs/Stars, he is an expert in both professional and college basketball and football. A high school athlete at Classen High School in basketball and tennis, he played amateur tennis after high school in the Missouri Valley Tennis Association. A graduate of Oklahoma City University, he taught in the public schools for 6 years before becoming a building administrator in the Oklahoma City Public Schools for 31 years, 28 as the Principal of various schools in the district. Fredsportsextra has recorded 101, 410 article views in its first ten months, from August 2015 through May 2016.

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