Study Guide

Million Dollar Baby Duty

Duty

SCRAP: I just thought you might like to know you got a fighter out there not talking to another manager.

FRANKIE: Not talking to another manager?

SCRAP: And not just any manager. Mickey Mack.

FRANKIE: You came in here to tell me Big Willie is not talking to Mickey Mack.

SCRAP: Not a word. Neither one of them.

FRANKIE: I'm tryin' to read here.

SCRAP: Well, if you think that's more important.

Here, Scrap and Frankie disagree on what Frankie's duty is to Big Willie. Scrap thinks Frankie needs to get his butt in gear and get Willie a title fight before another manager scoops him up. Frankie thinks Big Willie's not ready and reading is fundamental.

SCRAP: I had my shot. I went out swinging, and no man can say I didn't.

FRANKIE: Yeah, well I remember. And excuse me if I didn't want my fighter spending the second half of his life cleaning up other people's spit.

Frankie and Scrap's beef over when to throw in the towel goes way back, and Frankie still holds himself responsible for Scrap's messed up eye.

SCRAP: Yeah right, you're the smart one. You're the one learning Greek.

FRANKIE: It's Gaelic.

SCRAP: Well, you just protected yourself out of a championship fight. How do you say that in Gaelic?

Ouch! We think it's safe to say that Scrap isn't the biggest fan of Frankie's one rule: "Always protect yourself." Once again, he thinks Frankie isn't doing his duty as a manager.

FRANKIE: You watch it?

SCRAP: Yeah, I got HBO.

FRANKIE: Now, how can you afford HBO? How long have I been telling you save your money?

This exchange shows that Frankie feels responsible for more than just Scrap's eye. He also watches out for Scrap's finances and has a vested interest in Scrap's cable television needs. Of course, if this movie came out today, Scrap could just borrow Frankie's HBO Go password.

FRANKIE: I'm going to teach you how to fight. Then we'll get you a manager, and I'm off down the road.

MAGGIE: I hate to argue with you, but—

FRANKIE: Don't argue with me; that's the only way we're doing it. I teach you all you need to know, and you go off, you make a million dollars. I don't care. You get your teeth knocked out. I don't care. I don't want to hear about it either way. That's just the way it's going to be. It's the only way I'll do it.

Looks who's protecting himself now. After Big Willie, it seems that Frankie isn't looking to take on the obligation—and potential heartbreak—of another fighter.

SCRAP: To make a fighter, you gotta strip them down to bare wood. You can't just tell them to forget everything, you know; you gotta make them forget in their bones. Make them so tired they only listen to you, only hear your voice, only do what you say and nothing else. Show them how to keep their balance and take it away from the other guy. How to generate momentum off your right toe and how to flex your knees when you fire a jab. How to fight backing up so that the other guy doesn't want to come after you. Then you gotta show them all over again. Over and over and over... till they think they were born that way.

Here, Scrap explains a manager's duty to his or her fighter, which sounds just like how a mama bird raises a baby bird and then shoves it out of the nest—you know, except with lots of punching.

REF#1: You're telling me this is your fighter?

FRANKIE: Yeah, this is my fighter.

After Frankie watches Sally mismanage Maggie's first fight, he assumes responsibility for her. We suppose it was only a matter of time. It would be a really short movie otherwise.

MAGGIE: Did you see the fight?

SCRAP: 'Course I did. You had her cold, Maggie.

MAGGIE: I shouldn't have dropped my hands. I shouldn't have turned. Always protect myself. How many times he tell me that?

While much of the movie's theme of duty is tied to Frankie and his obligations to his fighters, BFF Scrap, gym, and daughter, Maggie also has a duty to herself. Here, she feels that she's let herself down.

SCRAP: Damnedest thing. So, what's the plan? I know you got one, so you might as well tell me what it is.

FRANKIE: It's your fault. Yeah, it's your fault she's lying in there like that. You kept after me until I trained her. I knew I shouldn't have done it, her being a girl and all. Everything kept telling me not to. Everything but you.

Holy passing the buck, Batman! Frankie's in a massive amount of pain here, so we'll let his attempt at putting the responsibility for Maggie's accident onto Scrap slide. Scrap will, too. Eventually.

FRANKIE: I swear to God, Father, it's committing a sin by doing it, by keeping her alive, I'm killing her. Know what I mean? How do I get around that?

FR. HORVAK: You don't. You step aside, Frankie. You leave her with God.

FRANKIE: She's not asking for God's help. She's asking for mine.

To say that what Maggie asks Frankie to do tests the boundaries of his duty to her is an understatement the size of Mount Everest. Or the Grand Canyon. Or Andre the Giant.

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