On March 7, 2015, the seedings and pairings were announced for March Madness, Hollywood Style. So here are the results from the East Region of the “Round of 64” which, of course, is completely made up and so is the completion of Round 1 in the East bracket. The match-up summaries and results are as follows:
Top of the Bracket:
Raging Bull (Boxing, 1980) # 1 Seed
Cinderella Man (Boxing, (2005) #16 Seed
“Raging Bull” was the true story of one of boxing’s greatest and most violent fighters, Jake LaMotta. “Cinderella Man” is based upon the true story of James Braddock, who won one of the great upsets in boxing history when he defeated Max Bear in a fight that brought hope to people suffering during the Great Depression. There was no Cinderella team here as “Raging Bull,” considered one of the greatest films of all-time and starring Robert De Niro, wins by a landslide.
He Got Game (Basketball, 1998) #8 Seed
Downhill Racer (Skiing, 1969) #9 Seed
He Got Game starred Denzel Washington as a convict and featured NBA great Ray Allen, who played Washington’s son. Allen’s character was a top basketball prospect and Denzel as his father tried to influence him to sign with a particular school in exchange for a sentencing break. Downhill Racer starred Robert Redford and Gene Hackman and gave an inside look at international downhill skiing. It was a gem. Here, “Downhill Racer” has stood the test of time and in a minor upset, defeats “He Got Game” and advances to the second round.
Round of 32 match-up: #9 “Downhill Racer” against #1 “Raging Bull.”
For Love of the Game (Baseball, 1999) #4 Seed
Paper Lion (Football, 1968) #13 Seed
One of many entries for Kevin Costner, “For Love of the Game” features an aging pitcher who is flirting with perfection in a late season game against the Yankees. The approach is ingenious, with one evening game featured as the main setting and using flashbacks to tell the story. Among the best of the film is Vin Scully as the play by play voice for the game. “Paper Lion” is a film starring Alan Alda as Sports Illustrated Reporter George Plimpton, who actually attended training camp with the Detroit Lions in 1963 as part of a story for the magazine. It is a really fun movie. It’s worth watching, if you can find it, but is no match to the beautiful story-telling of “For Love of the Game.”
Chariots of Fire (Track, 1981) #5 Seed
42 (Baseball, 2013) #12 Seed
“Chariots of Fire” plods along slowly despite the fact that the story line focuses on sprinters. Yet it is an inspiring film about two English runners competing in the 1920 Summer Olympics in Paris. “42” tells the story of Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Jackie Robinson influenced generations and is included with the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King in advancing equal rights in our country. But, I am not impartial here as “Chariots of Fire” is one of my favorite films of all-time, and wins by a lean at the finish line tape.
Round of 32 match-up: #4 “For Love of the Game” against #5 “Chariots of Fire.”
Bottom of the East Bracket:
Rocky (Boxing, 1976) # 2 Seed
Eddie (Basketball, 1996) #15 Seed
“Rocky” was not only a great film, it became a great franchise (although there are some low points in Rocky IV against Ivan Drago and Rocky V against Tommy “Machine Gun” Morrison). Whoopi Goldberg’s “Eddie” is a fun yet improbable basketball film and made the field of 64 by virtue of how the film depicts the desperation of NY Knick fans, something that matches the present state of affairs in the Big Apple. No match here, Rocky by a knockout.
The Hurricane (Boxing, 1999) #7 Seed
The Fighter (Boxing, 2010) #10 Seed
“The Hurricane” is based on the true story of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a former middleweight champion who was convicted of a triple homicide. After about 20 years in prison and a great deal of public support, his conviction was overturned and Carter was released from prison. “The Fighter” stars Mark Wahlberg as former boxing stand-out, Mickey Ward, who is best known for his ring battles against Arturo Gatti. Well, round 1 has been difficult for Denzel Washington who lost in “He Got Game” and who loses again to one of my favorite fighters of all-time, Mickey Ward.
Round of 32 match-up: #2 “Rocky” against #10 “The Fighter.”
Miracle (Hockey, 2004) # 3 Seed
Invictus (Rugby, 2009) #14 Seed
Here are two stories of inspiration. Miracle involves the US Hockey team’s road to the gold in the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics while “Invictus” was based upon the true story about how Nelson Mandela used the 1995 Rugby World Championships to help unite South Africa following Apartheid. “Invictus” starred Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman. It was a great story but “Miracle” is a great sports film. Herb Brooks’ boys do it again, this time as favorites, and “Miracle” advances to the round of 32.
The Replacements (Football, 2000) #6 Seed
Little Giants (Football, 1994) #11 Seed
OK, not much by way of acting but “The Replacements” is fun. I know you agree. If it pops up on a cable station, you can’t help but watch it again and again. On the other hand, “Little Giants” is one of those films that when it pops up, it makes you feel nostalgic. You can’t help but remember how old or where you were when you first saw it. Nostalgia beats fun, so “Little Giants” in an upset. Sorry, Shane Falco (aka Keanu Reeves).
Round of 32 match-up: #3 “Miracle” against upset minded #11 “Little Giants.”
Next up: The Mid-West Region round of 64.