A new history book about Lowell by Richard P. Howe Jr and Chaim Rosenberg to be published on March 11, 2013. To order a copy and to learn about local readings and book signings, check out our Legendary Locals of Lowell page.
Tonight’s NYT online includes a home-page positive review of “The Fighter” by A. O. Scott in which the commentary goes on at length and includes observations about the portrayal of Lowell and the city’s place in American culture. Read the review here, and get the NYT if you want more.
It’s unfortunate that many people in the media are writing about the setting of this story as if one slice of the city’s society represented the urban experience here as a whole during the 1990s, when Lowell was already 15 years into its renaissance. That was the source of the controversy over the notorious HBO documentary back then, and the film would appear to rewind the tape. I will see it soon. Richard Howe, Sr., was Mayor then, I believe, and was strong in speaking out for a more balanced image of the city at the time of the HBO production. There’s no denying the problems in those years, or now, but more was and is going on.
Mickey O’Keefe, Mark Wahlberg, and Christian Bale (Web photo by Jojo Whildon/Paramount Pictures, courtesy of NYT)
Sticking fairly closely to the facts of Mr. Ward’s story, “The Fighter” also plants itself firmly in his native terrain of Lowell, Mass., immersing the viewer, especially in early scenes, in the sensorium of a hard-luck industrial town left to languish in the backwash of globalization. The voices of the citizens are angry, irreverent and profane. The light is flat and unlovely. You can almost smell the weariness and desperation rising off of the tar that Micky, in his day job as a road paver, spreads on streets lined with sagging three-decker houses and faded storefronts. A city with a distinguished place in American labor and literary history — it was the birthplace of Jack Kerouac — Lowell in the early 1990s, when “The Fighter” unfolds, is blighted by poverty, unemployment and the crack epidemic, which has claimed Micky’s half brother, Dicky Eklund, as a casualty.
“Honor in the Valley of Tears” is the feature length documentary about 1SGT David McNerney, the Lowell native who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in Vietnam. Correction: According to the “Honor in the Valley of Tears” Facebook page, Amazon will be accepting pre-orders for the DVD which is expected to ship by December 17 – just in time for Christmas. The Amazon page just asks you to register for notice when the film becomes available. Sorry for the confusion on that. Here’s the link to the movie site on Amazon and below is the official movie trailer:
Lowell Mayor Jim Milinazzo opened the Mayor’s Reception Room to all residents of the city this evening for this year’s Holiday Reception. About 100 folks enjoyed live music from the Lowell High Brass Band, plenty of food and refreshments, great conversation, and a visit from Santa Claus.
As a big fan of NYC native Melissa Leo – since back in the “Homicide: Life on the Streets” days, this review of “The Fighter” by Patriot Ledger’s Al Alexander strikes a positive cord. While he has a mistaken “fact” or two - all the sisters didn’t play themselves – it’s his take on Leo’s portrayal of Alice Ward that has me looking forward to the movie:
But it’s Alice, played by the outstanding Melissa Leo, who rules the roost from under a short platinum bob. Leo, resurrecting her pitch-perfect Bawston accent from “The Contender,” delivers her most balls-to-the-walls performance yet. You can tell she’s having a blast, too, ordering people around like Patton and waging war on anyone, especially boxing promoters, trying to lure her Micky away from the family.
Every time Leo is onscreen, “The Fighter” comes deliriously alive and unpredictable, as her Alice captivates you with a combination of attitude and moxie befitting a chain-smoking force of nature in a skin-tight mini-skirt.
Leo is particularly strong when she goes toe-to-toe with Amy Adams as Micky’s new uppity, “college educated” bartender girlfriend, Charlene, who is unafraid of anyone, including Alice. Listening to them trade subtle insults and backhanded compliments are the comedic highlight of a movie that runs the gamut of emotions.
For another great Melissa Leo character portrayal – check out Frozen River . She should have won an Oscar for this awarding-winning performance back in 2008. Maybe her time has come with Alice Ward. Stay tuned.
Read the full review here. Read the PatriotLedger.com article on the Hingham fans who were frustrated by Mark Walhberg’s side-door exit from last night’s preview and party – so disappointed.
From left: Mark Wahlberg, “Irish’’ Micky Ward, and director David O. Russell at last night’s screening of “The Fighter’’ in Hingham. (Bill Brett for The Boston Globe)
Globe A&E writers Mark Shanahan and Meredith Goldstein note some reactions to “The Fighter” shown last night in a Hingham charity preview. The buzz continued for the “Oscar-worthy” performances of Christian Bale as Dick Eckland and Melissa Leo as family matriarch Alice Ward. Apparently Alice is accepting of her portrayal, not so pleased – one of the seven sisters:
At a private screening for family and friends in Lowell this week, Phyllis Eklund, one of Ward’s seven sisters, was less than impressed. Played in the film by Conan O’Brien’s sister, Kate, Phyllis angrily walked out of the movie and was overheard afterward saying, “I don’t like it.’’
For a list of the stars and celebrities who attended the Hingham event – and more - read the Globe article here.
The Lowell premiere of “The Fighter” and pre-preview reception is scheduled for tonight. Stay-tuned for more reactions.
I traveled to Conte Forum on the campus of Boston College last night to watch the Boston College Eagles play the Providence College Friars in basketball (me – Providence, class of 1980). The first half was a BC blowout with the Eagles up by as many as 20, ending the half with a 15 point lead. Providence picked up the pace (and the speed) of its defense in the second half, however, and clawed its way back into the game. With five minutes left, PC was down by 5 points; with three minutes to go, the BC lead was down to 3 points. With just 30 seconds to go, BC clung to an 85-83 lead. BC nailed a 2 pointer to go up by four, 87-83 with just a few seconds left, but then Providence nailed a 3 pointer with 2.8 seconds on the clock, closing the BC lead to just a single point (87-86). Providence fouled on the in-bounds pass and a BC player went to the line with two foul shots and just 1.7 seconds left. He hit the first (88-86) but missed the second. A Providence player rebounded, dribbled twice, and heaved a two-handed, chest pass type shot towards the other basket as the buzzer sounded. The ball ricocheted off the backboard, caught the front of the rim and bounced away, preserving the win for BC – but just barely.
With it being a cold, midweek night, there wasn’t much of a crowd for this game, but I did spot several folks from Lowell, especially when PC mounted its comeback and all the Friar fans were on their feet.
According to the Eagle-Tribune and the Boston Herald, Steward Medical Holdings – a subsidiary of the Cerberus Capital Management L.P. – has filed an application with the Commonwealth for permission to purchase Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill and Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer. This firm recently purchased the Caritas Christi Hospital chain that includes Caritas Holy Family Hospital in Methuen. Both hospitals are currently owned by Essent Healthcare of Tennessee.
From the Eagle Tribune:
For months, Haverhill officials have said they were aware a sale was being considered.
Mayor James Fiorentini has said the city will protect its interests, in terms of insisting the hospital continue to be run as a community hospital offering the same emergency room and other services it does now.
City leaders have said it is important that Haverhill have a hospital so residents can receive emergency and other care locally…
Caritas Christi officials have said they believe in running community hospitals which allow residents to receive care close to home, rather than having to travel to a hospital in Boston.
Read the Eagle-Tribune article here and the Herald article here.
Here is a great video posted by the people over at WCAP radio.
Actors Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale were in Lowell on the night of December 7, 2010 for an exclusive photo shoot with Mickey “Irish” Ward and his half-brother Dickie Eklund. 980 WCAP was there for both interviews and photos. Tune in to 980 WCAP tomorrow morning (12/8/2010) for the audio clip!