Monday, October 27, 2008

Ooooohhhhhh Yeeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhh!

When I was but a youth, my brother and I watched more WWF wrestling than we did any other activity. More hours than sleep, bathing, eating, reading, and school put together I'm sure.

We had parties planned around the Pay-Per View schedule for the big matches.

And my favorite was Randy "Macho Man" Savage:

I don't know, he seemed like a nice guy, I guess.

So when I saw "The Wrestler" the other night, I was feeling a lot of nostalgia. And a lot of, what happened to these guys? I mean, Hulk Hogan had that reality show, but what of Randy? or Rowdy Roddy Piper, or the Undertaker? or that Rick guy, the dream or whatever.

The movie was a lot like a story you read in a workshop that's really well written and has moments of subtle beauty and character revelation, but was ruined because the writer took too many comments from the class to heart. "He needs a love interest." "Where is his family?" "Poor women are strippers."

Oh, what's that? The last one? Yeah. Why is it, in soooo many movies, the female character who gets our sympathy, who is the saving grace to the protagonist, the representation of women who are a little down and out is always always always a stripper?! Are there no other careers for the down and out? Shoe sales maybe? I worked in shoe sales for a good three years and let me tell you, it can be pretty degrading too. On your knees all day tying people's shoes. I would like to see a movie that has a scene of a woman who thinks herself smart and funny and bright having to deal with tying the shoes of an old woman who won't stop talking about her bunions.

The only good part about the stripper character was that she was played by Marisa Tomei and in all the close-ups, you could tell the Ms. Tomei as stayed away from the botox and the face lifts and her expressions were refreshingly true. But they drew all these busted face tattoos all over her and they screamed sharpie marker. Lame.

They also gave the wrestler an estranged daughter. The character was basically an excuse to give Evan Rachel Wood and excuse to "emote" and to ACT. lame.

The true highlight of the movie was Mickey Rourke. Damn, that guy can act. Even the way he breathed was in character. The way he walked, the way he smiled. The way he looked at people kind of out of the corner of his eye, not in a shady way, in a kind of shy/scared of exposing himself kind of way. And it seemed like a lot of the interactions with the other wrestlers was improvised which added a really nice kind of camaraderie to the story.

This all brings me to say, cliche's and plot devices suck. Sometimes, adding story lines for the purpose of filling a formula (character needs love interest, character needs family) takes away from the story itself. It can even take away from the depth of the character! It may add to the "plot," but at what cost?  There were so many small moments in the movie that told so much more about the character than the big over the top crying scenes. 

Go see the movie, Mickey Rourke is awesome, but don't say I didn't warn you.

There is something to be said for small and delicate, don't you agree, Randy Savage?


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