Project 101

Dan attempts to watch 101 movies in 12 months

#34 The Wrestler

Posted by Dan on August 27, 2009

The_Wrestler_posterThis was another movie I watched on my airline flight from the UK. Probably the wrong time to watch it, being all sleep-deprived that I was, because this movie is super-depressing. Even during the rare happy moments, you just know that something fucked up is about to happen. For people that have seen the doco from the 90s, Beyond The Mat? It’s basically a screen-play version of that.

The movie stars Mickey Rourke, a washed up wrestler called Randy “The Ram”, who used to be a high profile wrestler back in the 80s, but these days he struggles to pay rent in his trailer park home and spends most nights sleeping in the back of his van. He wrestles are small-time community halls in local wrestling circuits, surrounded by wrestlers half his age, while he spends his prep time taping up his various failing limbs and joints – that is, when he’s not injecting steroids.

Life goes from bad to worse when, just weeks after having a come-back match in the big-time with The Ram’s arch enemy, he suffers a major heart attack and needs to have a heart bypass. The doctor tells him that his body simply cannot take any more wrestling or steroids, and basically says to him point blank that if he continues with this, he will die. Randy decides to take the doc’s advice and starts on the straight and narrow, yet after just a few days working in the deli at his local supermarket, he realises he can’t take it anymore and books himself in for the showdown against The Ayatollah. The final wrestling scene leaves things a bit open-ended, which I kinda liked, as the movie was becoming incredibly predictable, so to leave it a little open-ended wasn’t too bad.

Along the way, you see the relationship with his teenage daughter, or lack thereof, as she deals with not having her father around. He’s incredibly incompetent as a father, and doesn’t seem to know the first thing about parenthood, but his heart’s in the right place, so you do end up feeling sorry for him. We also see a relationship play out with a stripper at his local bar, played surprisingly well by Marisa Tomei.

As I mentioned the whole movie is fairly heavy-going, and it’s quite upsetting to see a guy take hit after hit in his life, and really struggling to deal with his life after being in the spot-light for so long. But it’s still a captivating movie, and I couldn’t help be stay pinned to every scene just to find out how it ends. Make sure you’re in the right mood to see this one, but just make sure you do.

I give The Wrestler 3 and a half People’s Elbows out of 5

“I just want to tell you, I’m the one who was supposed to take care of everything. I’m the one who was supposed to make everything okay for everybody. It just didn’t work out like that. And I left. I left you. You never did anything wrong. I used to try to forget about you. I used to try to pretend that you didn’t exist, but I can’t. You’re my girl. You’re my little girl. And now, I’m an old broken down piece of meat… and I’m alone. And I deserve to be all alone. I just don’t want you to hate me.”

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