Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Things To Do

Reviews: Please, give up the fight in 'Grudge Match'

By Steve Persall

Times Movie Critic

In this corner, weighing over his prime fighting weight so we'll photograph him from the chest up: Two-time Academy Award winner, lately an actor in anything that pays, the Raging Bull himself, Robert De Niro.

In this corner — and who cares what he weighs but what's up with his torso? — an actor who's been to the Academy Awards, the Italian stallion with the stallin' speech, Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone.

Come in close, fellas, before we get this Grudge Match underway. Just a few rules first. We want a nice, clean movie, suitable for your reputations yet mocking them ever so smartly. You each get one shot at romancing a woman one-third your age, or you swap that for being the guy to make funny faces getting a rectal exam. You can't have both.

Bobby, your name is Billy McDonnen but your boxing name is the Kid. You're a go-getter, owning a used car dealership and a restaurant where you hold court and where, in lighter shades of Raging Bull's finale, you do standup comedy with a puppet. Sound good?

Sly, your name is Henry Sharp but everyone calls you Razor, get it? You lost your money to a shady promoter, work at a closing factory and bills are piling up, for you and your former manager, played crustily adorable by Alan Arkin. Are we clear?

You guys despise each other because Kid slept with Razor's girlfriend — where have you been, Kim Basinger? — and produced a son. Now she's back, the kid's grown into Jon Bernthal, so he's buff enough to train Kid, who ignored him all his life. Are you with me here? I know the plot's more trouble than it's worth but bear with me.

Now, these people in the seats are expecting a good show, so here's what I want from you: Bobby, give me less bull, more rage, make Kid funnier than the jerk the script sets him up to be. Sly, don't play Razor with such a dull edge. Each of you is obligated to reference your previous boxing movies, either with CGI re-toolings where your face is pasted on someone else's body, or gags like Sly chugging eggs and almost punching a side of beef.

You are required by the sports comedy commission to have at least one professionally trained comedian in your corners at all time. I see you're both utilizing Kevin Hart's expertise in motor-mouthed urban weaselry. Good choice.

Other than that, this Grudge Match is winners take all and losers bought tickets. Now, tap gloves, and cash those paychecks.

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall on Twitter.

Comments
Candidates rush to fill void left by Murman’s withdrawal from District 7

Candidates rush to fill void left by Murman’s withdrawal from District 7

TAMPA – The chance to run for an open seat on the Hillsborough County Commission doesn't come along often.That might explain why there are now 10 wannabe commissioners vying for the countywide District 7 seat.Democrat Mark Nash became the ...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
RuPaul’s Drag Race star Coco Montrese on St. Pete Pride, the Pulse shooting and compassion from police

RuPaul’s Drag Race star Coco Montrese on St. Pete Pride, the Pulse shooting and compassion from police

Coco Montrese is best known as the RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 5 lip-sync queen who came back a record four times to win with fierce performances. But longtime Tampa Bay drag performer Kori Stevens just calls Coco a "hometown girl." As head of entertai...
Updated: 1 hour ago
My husband has been on the ketogenic diet for three months. Here’s how he does it.

My husband has been on the ketogenic diet for three months. Here’s how he does it.

This week I wrote about something with which I have become very familiar: the ketogenic diet. If you’re like, "Huh?" you are where I was three months ago, before my husband, Phil, embarked on the weight-loss regimen. The keto diet is a high-fat, low-...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hillsborough Rep. Jack Raburn won’t seek re-election in House District 57

Hillsborough Rep. Jack Raburn won’t seek re-election in House District 57

LITHIA — State Rep. Jake Raburn hasn't had a challenger since the Republican first won the District 57 seat in 2012.Now he has an opponent: Valrico's Debbie Katt is a software development engineer and political newcomer who has qualif...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA — Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing. In its latest revision to a disease class...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Review: On ‘Everything Is Love,’ Beyonce and Jay-Z emerge from chaos defiant, triumphant

Review: On ‘Everything Is Love,’ Beyonce and Jay-Z emerge from chaos defiant, triumphant

In 2016 Beyoncé dropped Lemonade, a culture-quaking song cycle about her troubled marriage to Jay-Z, and more broadly about the black female experience in America. It was her best and most meaningful work, and it was nominated for Album of the Year a...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

Jobsite’s ‘Dancing at Lughnasa’ should be more gripping than it is

TAMPA — The virtues of Dancing at Lughnasa, with which Jobsite Theater closes its season, are many. This drama by the celebrated Brian Friel opened in 1990 to much acclaim. It captures a family’s joys and sadnesses, and the quickness with which one s...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What’s changed for 2018

Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What’s changed for 2018

Pride weekend kicks off in St. Petersburg today with a free concert hosted by a RuPaul’s Drag Race star, a parade along the downtown waterfront on Saturday and an expanded expo of vendors and art on Sunday in the Grand Central District that gave birt...
Published: 06/19/18
XXXTentacion, controversial Florida rapper and singer, shot dead at 20

XXXTentacion, controversial Florida rapper and singer, shot dead at 20

The last words posted to XXXTentacion's Instagram Stories on Monday afternoon: "planning a charity event for this weekend Florida!"Whatever it was, it would have been huge. The 20-year-old singer-rapper was among the biggest — and most controve...
Published: 06/18/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 19

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for June 19

James After 5: The museum is open from 5 to 8 p.m. every Tuesday, featuring $5 admission. Tonight, former Tampa Bay Times movie critic Steve Persall will introduce a screening of Stagecoach (1939). 5 p.m., James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, 15...
Published: 06/18/18