Among the many attention-and-statuette-grabbing performances in The Fighter, Mark Wahlberg's work in the title role has been targeted as the picture's weak link—a void in the center of the ring. But the more I let the movie sit with me, the more I find Marky Mark's passivity resonating. The character of Micky Ward is distinguished from other boxing heroes (and other Wahlberg characters) by being a punching bag for his family's ambitions; the way he absorbs the blows of his mom, his brother and his Irish chorus of sisters recalls the stoic confusion of other bruised toughs back to a young Nick Nolte, or even Burt Lancaster in The Killers. Academy, Hollywood Theatre, Kennedy School, Laurelhurst, Mission, Valley.

  • Best paired with: Oakshire Espresso Stout.
  • Also showing: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (BAM@Laurelhurst).