Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Movie Review - The Wrestler

I had the distinct honor of being invited to a special screening of The Wrestler last night, a movie I had been wanting to see since I first heard about it. Currently, it's in limited release, but goes wider on Christmas Day, I believe.

34 years into this life, one of my consistent features has been pro wrestling. I still DVR four wrestling shows weekly and catch matches online on occasion. It's to the point that I just accept it as part of who I am. I've watched it since 1985, and now find myself reading wrestling websites daily. I'm sure it's partly the nostalgic factor, as I'm very interested in the historic side of the industry. Sometimes I fast forward through matches just to see the outcomes, as I still like being in the know.

I think that The Wrestler is receiving such rave reviews because it's a subject that is so rarely seen in theatres, and the performances were stellar. Great script, interesting look behind the curtain, and a terrific overarching story about a fallen 80's icon, clinging to the past and struggling to live a borderline-poverty line life in New Jersey.

I'm sure many former pro wrestlers will see this movie as their own lives, while many younger guys hope they don't become Randy the Ram (virtually unrecognizable Mickey Rourke's character).

The movie pulled us into two parallel yet similar lives, Marisa Tomei's character - a late 30-something stripper - being the other. Both hanging on, both working in questionable industries, both connecting with one another. (side note - for a 44 year-old, Marisa was often topless and a total cougar)

Two major thumbs up. This one should feature prominently during the upcoming awards season.


Casey said...

since you're interested in wrestling, you should check out a documentary about some of the industry's first women wrestlers in the 50's. name of the documentary is "lipstick & dynamite, piss & vinegar." it came on starz or hbo one time and i came across it, watched it, and found it very interesting. i've obviously remembered it. it features one of the main woman wrestlers who still participated in wrestling events into the 90's: the fabulous moolah. she just passed away last year though. anyway, you might already know about it, but just in case, it was a cool wrestling documentary...

Jason said...

Hey Casey - I saw that on DVD a few years ago - wasn't it great? Wrestlers can be pioneers and tragic heroes all in one...such interesting movie subjects!