Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Go see this damn movie!

The Wrestler
Hopscotch, rated TBA, out January 15
The gist: Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) was a pro-wrestling superstar in the 80s. Now, he’s a broken-down bum, working in a supermarket during the week and reliving old glories on weekends, wrestling in front of small crowds in bingo halls. He lives to entertain the fans, because that's all he has in his going-nowhere life. After a particularly violent bout - where he and Necro Butcher take turns destroying each other with chairs, barbed wire, thumbtacks and stapler guns - Randy has a heart attack and, for the first time, has to contemplate the possibility of never wrestling again. Feeling lost, he tries to form a relationship with stripper Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), and attempts to mend a shattered relationship with his estranged daughter. Then Randy gets a once-in-a-lifetime offer to do a match with his legendary 80s enemy The Ayatollah (Ernest "The Cat" Miller) that could rekindle his fading career, even though getting in the ring could also kill him. Will The Ram come out of retirement and risk donning the tights one last time?
Selling points: Rourke, who deserves an Oscar for a gripping performance as a washed-up athlete who knows nothing but wrestling; Tomei looks sensational (she has great tits) and acts her socks off as the ageing stripper who’s coming to the same realisation as Randy: you can’t keep doing the same shit forever. In fact, she's smarter than The Ram, 'cos she's thinking about getting out of a ruthless business where youth and looks are everything. The backstage shenanigans - where wrestlers discuss their matches and spots, the scenes where Randy chugs down pain pills or shoots himself up with steroids, and the wild partying after shows - has an air of authenticity. And the in-ring stuff looks great - even Mickey doesn't look out of place in the squared circle. Writer Robert D. Siegel and director Darren Aronofsky have done a magnificent job in covering pro-wrestling honestly but with dignity. It reveals what drives these athletes to do what they do: the drive, the obsession, the passion, the pain...the madness. Anyone, wrestlers and non-wrestlers alike, can enjoy this movie - it's that fucking good.
It’s kinda like: A grittier Rocky (everyone seems to be saying that), but with more boobs and grown men being attacked by stapler guns.
Final word: The best movie of 2009.