As an old-school sports fan and a wannabe Jersey guy, I was quite interested to see the movie "Chuck" which was based on the life of highly-ranked world heavyweight Chuck Wepner during the very prominent Ali-Foreman-Frazier boxing era in the mid 70's
Affectionately known as the "Bayonne Bleeder" for obvious reasons, Wepner was that sort of a lovable guy/lovable loser from the neighborhood who could take a pounding and get up smiling. Near out of the blue, he is selected to fight Ali and Ali fights (and losses to the beast George Foreman in Africa)…no spoiler alert here. Puts Wepner on the national radar. Such a spotlight magnifies his outside of ring weaknesses and accentuates his roller coaster life specifically social life.
There are some gruesome, bloody boxing scenes but it really works because it's boxing and because he's the B.B.... so that's just a heads up.
I had heard zero Buzz about this movie and I must say I'm rather surprised. Maybe it's documentary of sort loosely based on his life but it really work for me.
What I think most impressive about this film is how good the casting is. You have the top shelf Live Schreiber, who must have put on 50 lbs to become Chuck; his incredibly loyal, loving wife and kids mother played by Elisabeth Moss; Ron Perlman steals every scene as Chuck's manager but moreso, this TV original "Beast" has the perfect, weathered boxing face. Then add in Naomi Watts, who simply NEVER AGES and Michael Rapaport and you have one uber cast of actors. Heck even renown clean comedian Jim Gaffigan has a premium role and players it perfectly as a celebrity wanna be and Chuck's right hand guy.
There is also a fun "Rocky" tie in and I'm telling you that the actor playing Sylvester Stallone does a priceless vocal impersonation.
In sports it is so hard to get to the top and to stay at the top while most burn and crash. I think it's some ways you would put Chuck Wepner in that category in that he was a lovable loser a kind heart but also a pretty lousy husband and father who gets caught up in his words in the world of wine women and song.
Nonetheless he is alive and kicking and living in Jersey today and in fact was down giving a talk in Ocean Township three or four weeks ago which alerted me to the movie. I wish I'd gotten to hear that talk.
I just think he's one of ours he's a Jersey guy who he still here today. This movie is not going to win any awards but we should honor him buy buying a ticket. a surprisingly enjoyable movie.