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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Rivalry Thirty Years In the Making: Robert De Niro Vs. Sylvester Stallone Grudge Match by Warner Brothers Pictures Earns Whom You Know's Highest Recommendation with its Christmas Day 2013 Release Also Starring Kevin Hart, Alan Arkin, Kim Basinger and Jon Bernthal All You Want for Christmas is a Ticket to see Grudge Match! Our Coverage Sponsored by Maine Woolens

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In our humble opinion, the whole point of going to a movie is to be entertained and feel better about being alive both during it and also when you leave the theater smiling.  Sometimes we go to a movie and have a sincere appreciation for the quality of the efforts and final product, sometimes we don't, but the best is when we have this appreciation and genuinely love it.  It's even better when you throw in some legends - this is the first time we've critiqued Robert De Niro or Sylvester Stallone (both started their careers before we were born) - and when you consider their storied acting boxing backgrounds (you know Rocky and Raging Bull) - Grudge Match becomes even more special.  As long as you've already got your two front teeth (quite important), all you want for Christmas is a ticket to see Grudge Match, and here's why.
Before seeing Grudge Match, we saw the stars on Jay Leno and commend Robert De Niro and his persistence in getting Sylvester Stallone on the bandwagon. Billy "The Kid" McDonnen (De Niro) and Henry "Razor" Sharp (Stallone) are two local Pittsburgh fighters who have a storied rivalry that has many cobwebs on it.  Ironically, they are the only friend each other really has left points out director Peter Segal.  
Dante Slate, Jr. (Kevin Hart) is the duster off of the cobwebs, and Hart delivers a convincing performance that had us laughing out loud.
Seeing De Niro plead in this scene painted sugarplums dancing in our head of his persuasive capabilities.  
 It's important to acknowledge first choices for every role were filled in this movie and that casting made all the difference.  It's an understatement to say this is an All-Star cast, and for the record, none of them are over the hill.  They are still all at their very best.  It is mad important that Grudge Match is your priority movie this Christmas season!  When you are done opening your gifts, let Warner Brothers unwrap this on the big screen for you.
It is highly laudable and notable that no stunt doubles are used.
This is the real thing, baby!
We were thrilled to see Alan Arkin again (previously featured on Whom You Know from Argo) and he delivers another stellar performance.  During his 50 year career, Arkin had not yet worked with Stallone or DeNiro before so just seeing that is reason enough to see Grudge Match.  
Getting in shape we can see is no joke when you are of this age, and Arkin trained Stallone expertly.  
"Bobby is lighter than I am, so I had to come down to 168 pounds.  I've not been there since 1981," Stallone commented.  That's thin for him; the opponents needed to look like they were somewhat evenly matched!  
And you'll never think of a certain liquid of a canary hue to soak in the same way again...
The banter back and forth between the characters is truly priceless, and the screenwriters deserve huge accolades for their pure wit.  The delivery by the stars is equally impressive.  From Bad Baywatch to Butterscotch Jellybeans, you will be left in stitches.  
If you are of the Baby Boomer generation that is older than Peachy, you should consider Grudge Match to be a victory film for older age-a commercial that age is just a number!  Personally, we found the whole idea of "going viral" super timely and getting older people to understand it we completely empathize with!  And we're also glad it resulted in a must-see HBO event as we love them too!
We were pleased to see Steve Levy making a cameo from ESPN...and we really loved the rendition of the National Anthem by The Kid and Razor (Ashley Tucker how do you like it?).   We see a lot of brands and their promotions and interact with them, so this whole concept of promoting the fight cracked us up along with its execution. The parachute scene with Bengay was truly priceless.
The History of Sports class at Boston College that we took from the late Professor Buni continues to be relevant in our life today-this movie was pure Donnybrook! We studied John L. Sullivan...and doesn't DeNiro look good in green?

Thumbs up to Razor with his Semper Fi tattoo-Peachy's grandfather was a Marine 3rd Division.
Peter Segal, the film's director and producer says, "...the fight becomes a metaphor for never giving up."  Though Grudge Match is especially appealing to sports enthusiasts, it is inspirational to all.  By the way, did you know Stallone is the only actor to open a number one film across five decades, the most recent one being "The Expendables."
We were told that Stallone was so intent of De Niro hitting him he actually had specially designed boxing gloves made for the actor to protect his hands.  "I made gloves where you could hit.  If the camera's angle is set, you can see the hits.  Those were all hits.  They're not lethal but they hurt after awhile."  Stallone says when De Niro put on those "brutal, real eight-ounce killer gloves" and finally started landing a few, "it seriously hurt.  No matter where you hit, it hurts," he says.  "Bob's going for it, banging away at me and I know he's hurtin, 'cuz I'm hurting,' and he says 'Oh, I'm sorry,' and I said 'Don't be sorry.  Knock me out!' So, he did it and he did great."
We personally applaud DeNiro for getting in top shape!  Great jump-roping skills. It cannot be easy when you own a restaurant, and we found it fun that DeNiro's character owns a restaurant in the movie too, aptly named "Knocked Out."  We kind of like that pancake and scotch diet early on...(and we bet our friend Charlie Whitfield would too.) Hats off to finding Jon B who is definitely cut from the same mold as DeNiro; the resemblance is almost eerie.
The only way Grudge Match would be better is if it had a sequel.  Now that we've seen it done on Grudge Match, seeing DeNiro open a bottle of champagne is on Peachy's bucket list...
Here's Looking at You, KID!
Grudge Match has earned Whom You Know's Highest Recommendation!
Go see it in theaters starting tomorrow, and do bring your butterscotch jellybeans to munch.

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