Maybe a few of you saw Fighting over the weekend; I'd guess that most Cinematical readers chose to steer clear. I kind of liked the film, which is thin and silly but has a nice measured earnestness and is beautifully directed by Dito Montiel (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints), a prodigy with a terrific sense of rhythm, motion and place. But the real reason I'd recommend Fighting to all of you is a completely deranged, unmissable performance by one Roger Guenveur Smith. Smith has bided his time over the past couple of decades in B-grade DTV efforts, small roles in Spike Lee films (he was Do the Right Thing's Smiley), and an occasional appearance in something higher-profile, like Ridley Scott's American Gangster. I hope that Fighting earns him some cult popularity and maybe some more interesting work.

He plays "Jack Dancing," a New York mobster and streetfighting kingpin who gives Channing Tatum's Shawn his first bout at the urging of hustling small-timer Harvey (Terrence Howard). He doesn't have a lot of screentime, but he takes the movie to a whole new, utterly bizarre level whenever he appears -- and in the process made me laugh harder than almost anything else this year. His performance has been described by others as "Walken-esque," but while Smith is compellingly weird in a similar way (and speaks with a comparable off-kilter cadence), he adds an element of hardass gangster menace that somehow makes the whole thing even funnier.