Broken Noses (1987) Poster


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Portrait of a Boxer
Havan_IronOak1 September 2001
Bruce Weber, the photographer who's recently created an uproar with his hot, hot, hot, A&F catalogues tries his hand at movie making with a documentary portrait of Andy Minsker. Minsker is an amateur boxer, turned pro, who runs a boxing club for young men and boys in Oregon. Minsker is really not much more than a kid himself.

Minsker is a likeable guy and he and his family are presented in the honest, `I call them as I see them' style that is characteristic of rural lower middle class families in America.

As with any Weber product there is a generous helping of toothsome male skin in evidence. From the opening credits that include close-ups of each of the kids in his boxing club (the youngest is 8) to his horsing around with them in the water on a trip to a local beach we see a lot of Minsker and the kids in his club. It's all wholesome clean fun and we see Minsker being the best kind of role model he knows how to be.
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Beautifully Shot In B&W
rexy132629 December 2000
Bruce Weber's first directorial effort is a beautiful mix of B&W cinematography and scintillating jazz songs. Weber's documentary focuses on Andy Minsker, a very attractive(and often silly)lightweight boxer, who trains a group of kids in his small boxing club in Oregon. Becoming role model to them all, he dedicates his time to help them become the boxers they aspire to be. Minkser's relationship with his parents and stepparents is also captured(he was raised in a broken home), and many times true feelings are revealed that have never before been uttered. The very camera friendly Andy is a delight to watch in this film, and at times he acts like a little kid as well. As with most of Bruce Weber's work, there's no denying the homoerotic feel; from the boxing club training to a play fight between Minkser and one of his trainees, there's always a hint of it. Fans of Weber's work will not be disappointed, and those looking for a good boxing documentary should check this one out. Filmed in B&W interspersed with color sequences.
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He who fights with cotton fists
tieman6415 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Bruce Weber is an America photographer known for a long string of commercial photographs used prominently in various Calvin Klein, Vogue, GQ, Ralph Lauren, Rolling Stone and Revlon advertisement campaigns. Your typical Weber photo has homo erotic overtones, features nude, perfectly chiselled men, fawns over Adonis-like bodies, often has a distinctly 1950s sense of style (James Dean haircuts, tight blue jeans etc), is in black-and-white (or muted grey tones) and sports a crypto-fascist aesthetic reminiscent of Leni Riefenstahl's "The Last of the Nuba". He essentially creates slightly gay, overly poeticized, idealised male bodies. The big corporations love him. Look long enough at any of his photos, though, and the vacuity of Weber's prettified imagery starts to make you sick.

Weber's style works extremely well for "Broken Noses", though, a documentary he filmed in 1987. The film revolves around Andy Minsker, an Amateur Boxing Federation champion who defeated British Commonwealth and Yugoslavian champs with first-round knockouts. By the time his career ended, Minsker had fought 344 matches and never been knocked out.

Much of Weber's film is obsessed with topless boxers, near naked male bodies, artfully black-and-white shots of children, boys, men, muscles and physiques. The film goes beyond simple homo-eroticism, though, and captures a sense of male awkwardness, naivety, vulnerability, innocence, even stupidity. What Weber unwittingly does is demasculinize, feminize and neuter what is usually thought of as a hard, masculine, aggressive and testosterone soaked sport. His images capture, with some pathos, confused and near robotic humans; simple kids, not budding warriors, awkward boys, not violent fighters, fragile people, not dangerous combatants. And of course in Andy Minsker Weber finds a largely kind, caring and polite young man, not some volatile, brutal boxer. Weber's aesthetic, and the material he teases out, scrambles all our preconceptions, seems to systematically undermine all your typical boxing clichés.

A large part of the film focuses on Andy Minsker's family. It is learnt that Andy's father, Hugh, had been an Olympic alternate in 1954. Andy and Hugh share some conversations, and what emerges is a tale of disappointment and regret, both father and son struggling to conceal various grudges, money problems and shared career disappointments. Both "could have been contenders", Andy could have been a millionaire had the cards fallen right...but things, of course, rarely go as planned. It's a lament typical of the boxing circuit.

The rest of the film explores Andy's role as a local boxing coach, and features relaxed interviews with various family members. The film's last words are, to paraphrase, "I'll never forget you", which is the chief feeling viewers of the film will be left with. Andy's an infectious guy with a fascinating mix of traits.

8.9/10 – Worth one viewing.
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portrait of the boxer as a young man
mjneu599 November 2010
The debut film by fashion photographer Bruce Weber is an offbeat documentary portrait of former Golden Glove boxing champ Andy Minsker and his club of teenage pugilists, skinny young boys age ten to sixteen learning maturity through the tender art of fist-fighting. The finished film looks as if it were allowed to discover itself during the production, beginning as a vaguely homoerotic study of the adolescent male physique, continuing into a flirtation with the sort of cruel, irreverent satire used in the early documentaries of Errol Morris, and finally emerging as a compassionate study of Minsker himself, whose natural charm and well-adjusted disposition would seem to contradict the popular image of his profession. In a series of unrehearsed encounters with family and friends Minsker reveals himself as an uneducated but streetwise innocent, completely unselfconscious in front of a camera but genuinely bashful about his starring role in the movie. Candid and touching, the film offers insight into both the American male psyche in general, and in particular one of its more unique exponents.
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