Directed by Darren Aronofsky.
Written by Robert D. Siegel.
Starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 11/17/08
Free movie, packed house, great stuff, Q & A
with the director and the lead actress...my screening of "The
Wrestler" was all that and a bag of chips, baby!
So, background--Darren Aronofsky made
"Requiem for a Dream", and then accepted the happy thanks of
millions of indie film fans. Then, he waited six years to make
"The Fountain", which was not well received because it wasn't an
indie-spirited film...and, it sucked. So, why should we
believe that Aronofsky was anything more than a fluke?
Because "The Wrestler" is great for the
reasons that I remember liking truly independent films in the first
place. It has a story that, trust me, you haven't seen before:
a pro wrestler 20 years past his heyday, Randy "The Ram" Robinson
(Mickey Rourke), is still working the underground circuit as well as
working part-time jobs to get by while living in a trailer park.
And, no, it's not a comedy...in fact, it's a sad tale of a man down
on his luck, living in Jersey, neglecting a daughter from a past
relationship, and occasionally getting lap dances from a
slightly-older-than-norm stripper named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei).
It's almost as if Scorsese did a drama based on the life of Hulk
Hogan...and, it freakin' works!!
Chuck Longer, see this film!!
Brett Stone, see this film!! Fans of the WWF, see
this film!! And, oh, Aronofsky fanboy--see this film!!
"The Wrestler" is funny (never laugh-out-loud funny, but some solid
laughs), it was written by a former staffer at The Onion, it has an
incredible lead performance by Rourke, it's got Evan Rachel Wood
doing what Evan Rachel Wood does best...explode emotionally; Tomei
plays a stripper with a personality (bang, bang!!), and you get a
film that looks like it is low budget because it was shot low-budget
($6 million). There's even a scene with an old-school Nintendo
that nearly brought a tear to my eye. One tear, though.
The film is a little eh at the three-quarter
mark, but it recovers nicely by giving us more Rourke doing more of
what got us through to that point of the film. "The Wrestler"
may or may not be Oscar material, but its biggest accomplishment is
re-establishing Aronofsky as a guy worth watching. This may be
his best film and it now makes me forget that "The Fountain" ever
happened. And, Rob Grant--your love of the hair bands comes
through full-tilt boogie in this film, so maybe this is for you,
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard