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Philadelphia Connection: FOXCATCHER

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Because John du Pont was born in Philadelphia, attended The University of Pennsylvania, had funded a wrestling program at Villanova University, and Foxcatcher Farms was located only a stone's throw away in Delaware County, this news story was pretty big here in Philly back in 1996; yet I have to admit, I couldn't remember a single detail going in to see the movie Foxcatcher.

Steve Carell plays the wealthy, eccentric, oddball, murderer John du Pont with perhaps a little too much characterization. Everyone's been praising Carell for losing himself in a dramatic roll; but for me, the transformative hair, prosthetic nose, extensive makeup, small teeth and overly stiff upward tilt of the head, is all a bit distracting.  I think it should've been cast with someone more naturally weird and unattractive. It would have been a perfect role for the sadly deceased Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I also wish they hadn't cast Mark Ruffalo, not because he isn't good in the role of slain Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz, but because up until this point, I'd always had a crush on Ruffalo. I don't wanna see him with a receding hairline, pigeon toe tipping around in a gay wrestling unitard - very off putting. Now Channing Tatum as the more dim witted younger Olympic wrestling brother Mark Schultz, is on point!

Foxcatcher director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) allows for some artistic license in the film's time line. For instance - midpoint in the movie John du Pont turns on Mark Schultz who'd been taking the lead coaching the wrestling team, under John, at the Foxcatcher wrestling facility. John slaps him in front of the team and tells Mark he wants his brother Dave to come take over and that he'll get him at any price. In reality, Mark and John du Pont's patriarchal relationship does fall apart before the 1988 Olympic games in Seoul, but Dave didn't come to the estate until after Mark left.
  
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A major element in the movie is John's distant relationship with his mother Jean du Pont (Vanessa Redgrave). He desperately seeks her approval, and she is more than withholding and domineering in an oblique manner. Therefore, the movie gives the impression the name of the family estate, Foxcatcher was named by Jean, an avid horse breeder; implying the old, upper crust pastime of foxhunting was the inspiration.  Not so, in reality, the estate was called Liseter Hall Farm until John's mother passed in 1988.

READ MORE John du Pont Biography

Not to mention, the movie makes it seem like Dave is murdered within the first year of him being at Foxcatcher, when in reality he'd worked there for several years.  I also would have enjoyed more foreboding as things built up to the murder. We should witness du Pont's fall from a pathetic, self-inflated jack-ass to an all out loon. 

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What Foxcatcher gets right is the relationship dynamics. The love Mark has for his brother David despite feeling resentment at being considered 2nd best.  The infatuation du Pont has with both men, but particularly his creepy seduction of Mark - taking him in under his wing only to let him fall.  

 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Matthew 16:26

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.
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Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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