Saturday, January 24, 2009

Point/Counterpoint - The Wrestler

A movie is like a work of art hanging in a gallery...no two people necessarily see it the same. A few days ago, Josh reviewed The Wrestler. I saw the movie with a few others last night. There are certainly some things that we agree on. For example, Josh thought the acting as superb. I concur that Mickey Rourke should be a near-lock for this year's Best Actor award. I can't think of a single actor who would have been a better fit for the role.

However, there are several things that we, um, also agree on but not for the same reason. He called it "devastating" and "wanted to cry" through the entire movie. I was also devastated and wanted to cry, but only because I just shelled out 20 bucks for that trash. I thought the camera work was notable, but only because I felt noxious every time Randy was moving.

SPOILER ALERT -IF YOU ARE GOING TO SEE THIS MOVIE, STOP READING HERE.

It wasn't until after the movie when I was discussing the picture with others that I saw the true deep meaning of the movie. This movie is a blatant attack on the political system. If it came out before the election, Barack Obama could have used the movie as a campaign platform. For example, he could have explored the following topics:
  • Universal Health care - Had Randy received the proper health care, he may have avoided many of the health issues that arose throughout his career. In particular, a doctor may have foreseen many the symptoms of the heart attack that he suffered following the gruesome "slap" match.
  • Broadband Access - Who still uses payphones these days? I didn't realize that they still existed. If the President increases the accessibility of Internet access, Randy could have emailed his daughter on his GMail account to let her know he would be late. He could have looked up the side effects of bypass surgery on WebMD. He could have set up a vendor account on Amazon to sell the rest of his Randy the Ram videotapes. Additionally, he could have found someone to convert those tapes to DVD.
  • Retirement Planning - If the wrestling federation had taken care of its independent contractors or at least helped them set up a 401k plan, Randy wouldn't have been in a position to still be wrestling at such a late age. Without a nest egg available, he had no choice but to continue wrestling.
  • Unionizing - When Randy was looking at some of his fellow aging wrestlers and their ailments, he should have considering starting a union in order to improve working conditions for the performers.
  • Family Values - Abandoning your children at such an early age is never the right thing to do. It is important for a father to be in a child's life. I don't want to even bring up the abortion topic in this forum.
  • Racism - You take a normal black person and give him a goatee and suddenly he is middle-eastern? Hasn't the country come further than that? Wrestling fans are dumb.
  • Steroids - As Ken Caminiti can tell you, steroids are not the answer. It may make you stronger now but they are bad for you in the long run. The Obama administration should make more of an effort than past administrations to ban all of these performance enhancers.

I could only describe Marissa Tomei's performance in this movie as titillating. Two things about her stuck out to me, but I can't put my hands on it. She should totally win Breast Supporting Actress for her role. (Ok, I am now done being an immature 12 year-old).

The one thing I did enjoy about the movie was the availability of story lines for "The Wrestler 2 - Back in Training".

  • Who wins the match between Randy and The Ayatollah?
  • How did Randy catch up to Pam and woo her into his life?
  • Does she quit her job at the strip club?
  • Does Pam's son grow up to be a wrestler?

In summary, if Rotten Tomatoes gives this movie a 98% rating, count the 6 of us who saw it last night in the 2% minority.

2 comments:

Josh said...

I thought Marisa Tomei's performance was also ass-tounding.

Jaimie said...

One movie, so many political statements. Nicely drawn parallels, Steve. I think you conveyed the groups discussion nicely.