Fight: Tommy Riley (James Marshall) vs. Jimmy Horn (Brian Dennehy)
Gladiator is better known as that movie you accidentally started watching because you thought it was the one with Russell Crowe, and had to keep watching because you couldn't believe how bad it was.
It almost feels like nitpicking to call out just one aspect of a movie about underground boxing as being absurd. To begin with, we're pretty certain the world of illegal underground boxing doesn't exist, or at least isn't as easy to get trapped in as the filmmakers ask us to believe. Even more absurd—they ask us to buy Cuba Gooding Jr. as a black man.
The story follows Tommy Riley’s rise through the seedy world of some strange boxing-like sport that's illegal for some reason. After beating his final opponent, you think the movie’s over, but instead Riley goes on to fight the same guy who played Chris Farley’s dad in Tommy Boy, who we think is supposed to be an evil trainer or something. To get an idea of just how mind blowingly strange this turn of events is, imagine if after Rocky beat Ivan Drago at the end of Rocky IV, there was a 20-minute scene in which he fought Drago’s 65-year-old boxing trainer.
The highlight of the final fight has to be the tankini that Dennehy is sporting, though it just barely beats out the part where Dennehy punches Riley in the balls. You’ve got to hand it to the filmmakers, no one saw that ending coming.