Monday, January 26, 2009

The Wrestler - haunted

I saw "The Wrestler" last night with my dad, and thoughts of it will not leave me alone. It was one of the best movies I have seen in a long while and Micky Rourke's personal, NATURAL performance was one of a kind.

If you've seen Rourke recently, you know what I mean when I say this: It might take you a while to get past his face. It did for me. I realized, hours after the movie, that he reminded me of the Cowardly Lion from the "Wizard of Oz." It's the hair, the movement, the mouth, the eyes...the skin's trippy.

The movie was made for practically nothing (Rourke literally worked for no pay) and the bumpy camera work can be, at times, distracting. The bloody realism is so striking--it had me covering my eyes when it got particularly brutal. But what I was continually amazed by was the naturalism of Rourke's portrayal of Randy "The Ram" Robinson. He *was* him. I just saw an interview with Rourke and he said that it was a hard role to play for many reasons (the training and gaining weight wasn't a picnic) but that the main reason was that it was so "close to home."

You know the story, right? In the '80s, Rourke was a hot (see above), young, brash up and coming actor's actor. Major gravitas, man. His life kinda got out of control (drugs, general recklessness, I think) and his career was all but dead. He gave up acting and started boxing professionally (!). He was *made* to play The Ram, a famous wrestler from the '80s. Right away we see that Randy, once a great wrestler and full-on celeb is now living in a trailer and has no one in his life. (Apparently Rourke himself got almost, if not exactly, as down-and-out as Randy.)
There's this scene between him and Marisa Tomei (playing an "aging" stripper named Cassidy) at a bar and the jukebox is blasting some godforsaken hair metal. They love that shit. They
make this adorable, realistic, Sopranos-esque love connection about how much the '80s ruled and the '90s sucked. Randy has this gross (but slightly funny) line about how "that pussy Kurt Cobain had to come along and ruin everything." Cassidy agrees heartily and spits, "like there's something wrong about wanting to have a good time!" I loved how just that one exchange say so much about them and their chosen careers--just not wanting to let the good times die, baby.

He fucks up a lot of shit in his life. It's hard to watch. But he makes fans (of this level of minor league wrestling anyway) happy and it's what he lives for. I won't go into the plot any more--I hate when people do that. I will tell you that his work in "The Wrestler" is explosive, haunting, touching, disturbing and awe inspiring. It's kinda like it's not really a movie…it's that good.

Please see this movie.

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