My goodness, what a week it’s been. 13 goals in two games, and huge wins over both Everton away and Bournemouth at Wembley. Wednesday’s demolition of the Cherries was fun to watch, not only because there were a lot of goals and goals are fun, but also because it was done with the squad still suffering through an “injury crisis.”
Boxing Day was wall-to-wall football, and it was great. I know “Boxing Day” isn’t actually about boxing, but it’s obviously a day where you are supposed to beat the crap out of your opponents. Which Spurs did. So for today’s theme, we’re going to celebrate the best ever boxing movies in honor of “Boxing Day.” Also because themes are hard and there’s a short turnaround, work with me here.
5 stars: Raging Bull
Scorsese. De Niro. Pesci. If there is a FILM about boxing, this is probably it, and there’s a reason why people rank it up there among Scorcese’s best. It’s a tale about grief, anger, and jealousy all in a manly wrapper of sanctioned violence. Scorcese doesn’t attempt to glamorize any of Lamotta’s worst qualities, and it comes across as much as a cautionary tragedy as a boxing film. It coulda been a contender? It’s the best damn boxing film of all time.
Son Heung-Min: I love him so much and there aren’t many, if any, players more in form right now than our Korean superstar. Seven goals and three assists in his last seven matches. We will miss him when he leaves for the Asian Cup.
Kyle Walker-Peters: Kyle was a bit messy defensively, but it’s super hard to argue with three assists in 35 minutes (even if one of them was a “Tom Carroll assist”). Think he’s earned himself some more minutes.
Christian Eriksen: His goal was thanks to a wicked deflection, but he gets this rating for that amazing pass to Harry Kane for Harry’s volleyed goal.
Harry Kane: His goal was special. But his work rate and passing was even better. What’s frightening is that he isn’t the team’s best goal scorer right now — it’s Sonny.
4 stars: Creed
I wasn’t sure that a movie could out-Rocky “Rocky.” I also don’t remember a whole lot of buzz surrounding the release of Creed, a Rocky spin-off about Apollo Creed’s son, with Rocky as his manager. But this is a very solid fight movie with a bunch of parallels to the original Rocky. It suffers from a few minor pacing issues here and there, but the fights are well done. And since this is a football blog, the climactic fight takes place at Goodison Park in Liverpool. Reccomend.
Lucas Moura: Kind of a quietly excellent match for Lucas who didn’t have a huge impact until his goal. Was unlucky not to get a second on the Yakkity Sax Goal.
Toby Alderweireld: Solid at the back as always. Makes a good partner for Juan Foyth who is still finding his legs at this level.
Moussa Sissoko: Since we’re all still apparently on Earth 2, Sissoko was a hard-working midfielder who covered a lot of ground in this match and completed 93% of his passes while nullifying Bournemouth’s midfield. It’s still weird, guys. Sorry.
3.5 stars: Million Dollar Baby
MDB wasn’t the first boxing movie to feature a female protagonist — I believe that was Girlfight — but it was the best. Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman in a fight movie featuring a super-buff Hillary Swank in a Best Picture Oscar-winning performance? Yes please.
Juan Foyth: Distributed the ball well, and also ably dealt with the threat of Callum Wilson, though you got the sense that he was right on the razor’s edge of blowing it on a few Wilson runs. Had another challenge that with another official might have been a penalty. Still, an encouraging match.
Danny Rose: Didn’t have to do much on defense thanks to Bournemouth. Looked good going forward but his passing was a bit off. It still feels like he’s our best left back at present, with apologies to Ben Davies.
3 stars: Rocky IV
Yes, it’s pure Cold War era pro-American schlock. Yes, Rocky has that awful “If I can change, and you can change, everybody can change” speech. It features Rocky training in a freakin’ Siberian barn against a juiced-up Russian cyborg and ends with the communist crowd cheering the American for his plucky grit and determination. It might have helped win the actual cold war. It has obvious flaws. Don’t care. This is not a movie you send to Sundance, but it’s a freakin’ great popcorn-munching flick and (fight me) the most fun movie in the Rocky franchise.
Harry Winks: Again with the good passing and the sideways motion and the half step slow and the defensive lapses. One tackle against Bournemouth. He was fine, but we should probably re-evaluate our expectations for what a central midfielder is supposed to do when he’s in the match.
Hugo Lloris: Made a couple of comfortable saves but otherwise didn’t have much to do.
Oliver Skipp: Had 15 minutes of match time and was unremarkable. What’s cool is that we can give an 18-year old academy midfielder 15 minutes of league match time, and that’s a thing we do now.
2 stars: Ali
IDK if this is really bad enough to be this low. Probably not. But the fight scenes are more or less just cribbed from the excellent documentary “When We Were Kings” and Will Smith’s acting is very much Will Smith Does Muhammad Ali because despite everything the best character Will Smith plays in a movie is and always will be Will Smith.
No players in this category.
1 star: Great White Hype
I have not seen this movie — it was selected by my fellow writers as a “solid 1-star choice.” After watching the preview, reading the summary on Wikipedia, and looking at the reviews, I have no reason to doubt this opinion.
No Tottenham Hotspur players were as bad as Great White Hype.
Tom Carroll Memorial Non-Rating
Ben Davies, Fernando Llorente