I couldn’t decide what to write about for my first blog, and spent a number of days going back and forth on which film to write about. This is my first blog, so you feel some pressure to do it justice from the get go and hope that maybe someone may read it or get some kind of enjoyment out it, but with that being said, just like the Podcast, this blog is not about how many views I get but rather just doing something I get great joy out of and am passionate about, and that passion is film.
So after much consideration I decided that I wanted to write about a recent episode I did which was the 2008 movie ”The Wrestler” starring Mickey Rourke. I can’t quite put my finger on why I chose this as my first blog, maybe there is a sense of ease and familiarity writing about something else I am passionate about which is professional wrestling, so maybe it is the wrestling fan in me that found comfort in writing about something I know and in a sense killing two birds with one stone, in that I love Film and professional wrestling. But before I continue to ramble on, I think I will just begin to discuss it.
I think it is a fair assumption that a film fan would watch this in a completely different perspective to an actual wrestling fan, who would have a more personal connection to this film or the sport. That would be fair to say about anything really or in regards to sports films, I wouldn’t watch Rocky Balboa as a boxing fan but merely for the characters story and pure entertainment. I feel like I had an inside scoop into the World of the film that a non wrestling fan wouldn’t, simply because I’m an avid wrestling fan, and I have always done my research on wrestling and how that industry works, but that is not to say my opinion would or should hold more weight, but this is simply just an observation on my behalf.
So what makes a good film? A good story. What makes a good story? The characters/Actors. That is pretty much the same formula for professional wrestling. So the director/writer had a lot of pressure put on them to deliver an honest and accurate depiction of the world of wrestling and the men and women who give theirs lives to that industry.
As I said on the Podcast, Mickey Rourke was meant to play this role, nobody else would have done this role justice and would not have given the performance Mickey Rourke did. There is a bitter sweet irony I guess with Mickey Rourke playing this character, There could be an argument made for a comparison with the character he plays and his real life Boxing career. I stand by this humbled opinion that Mickey Rourke is not playing the role of a wrestler, he is not playing the role of Randy the Ram, but his performance is simply flawless and he is Randy the Ram, he is THE WRESTLER!!!
There is a saying in professional wrestling, ”living the gimmick” Which means the character you see on screen, is what you see off screen, some wrestlers cannot distinguish between their real life and the character they are playing, and they simply become that character. It is almost as if Mickey Rourke for this role, just believed the hype, and became this character, almost like method acting, where he stays in character, because his performance is immaculate and it does not feel like you are watching an actor on screen playing the part of a character, I really believe Mickey Rourke is a professional wrestler and this is like a real life documented movie.
This film tells the story of a professional wrestler fallen from grace, he was once a big star and is now basically a washed up has-been hanging on to former glory. He works the independent circuit struggling to make it through each match he has, as his old broken down body is failing him from years of physical abuse and also substance abuse. He has destroyed his body from continuing to push through the pain, taking steroids among other substances.
He works part time in a supermarket as the life of a pro wrestler isn’t financially stable on the independent scene. It is obvious this job is beneath him and he does it to live and afford his rent, but it is clearly hard for him to be reduced to this, being a part time deli assistant on the weekdays to a famous pro wrestler on the weekends, the two lives don’t quite compare to one another.
He is to use to the rock star lifestyle but it is dawning on him that he has to walk away from the World of wrestling and retire from in ring action. After that grueling hardcore match, his body can take no more and he must walk away and focus on retirement and his broken relationship with his daughter. He is also confused about his rocky relationship with a stripper, which is very hot and cold.
He tries to live an every day life but he can’t seem to handle the pressure of the real World and the fact that he no longer relevant and goes on a destructive path and loses his job, and damages his relationship with his daughter and Pam (the stripper) It is not long before he is back to his old habits. He decides to come out of retirement for one more chance in the spotlight even those he is risking his health and in doing so has potentially destroyed his relationship with his daughter for good.
This film was an interesting watch to say the least, it was amazingly done, in terms of showing the lives of broken down retired wrestlers who are past their prime and the cruel World that is professional wrestling. I think Mickey Rourke did and amazing job in this role and to get into the shape he did at his age and to actually train as a wrestler and to do a lot of his own stunts is commendable.
He really did give his all to this performance and it comes across on screen and he gave one of the best performances ever on screen and even if you don’t like wrestling or are not a fan of the film, you can’t take away from his performance and acting ability. Personally I think the film was a very accurate depiction of the World of pro wrestling and although there are a lot of success stories in that industry, there are arguably a lot more failures and sad endings to these men and women’s lives.
If this film does anything it is a good insight into the World of pro wrestling and behind the scenes and what these men and woman go through on a daily basis to entertain a crowd and what they are willing to put themselves through in order to gain fame and recognition.