I can’t remember a movie come out with as much fanfare as The Wrestler. Today, the DVD is released of this great movie. This is one DVD that is a must-buy whether you haven’t seen the movie or not. The DVD features this great movie and a tremendous extra that will appeal to wrestling fans far and wide.
I watched the movie as both someone well educated with the wrestling business as well as someone who just wanted to see a good movie. Up until The Wrestler, I can’t ever remember a pro wrestling movie that got it right. Even WCW with full control over their own production, turned Ready to Rumble into a disaster. This one hit the mark on a lot of levels.
[adinserter block=”1″]The movie is as real to the business as I have ever seen. I was surprised to see how many actual wrestlers were used in the movie. It was like a walk down memory lane seeing a lot of friends and familiar faces pop up on the big screen. I don’t think this has been talked about enough, but everyone involved in the wrestling scenes and locker rooms are real wrestlers.
One of the most compelling characters in the movie was the Necro Butcher. Necro wrestled “Ram” in the hardcore match in the beginning of the movie. The Necro in the movie is the same exact Necro I have worked with many times in the business. It is funny how Hollywood allowed wrestlers to be themselves while the WWE try and turn their wrestlers into actors.
I thought a few things had the probability of being realistic, yet were a stretch to anyone familiar with the business. Back to the Ram’s foray into hardcore wrestling. I can’t remember a veteran the status of the Ram doing something as hardcore as the match in the movie. Terry Funk is an exception, but Funk wasn’t doing it because he was hard on his luck living in a trailer.
As for Mickey Rourke’s character, I thought it was pretty genuine. Rourke has said that he based his look on Lex Luger. Rourke hasn’t outright admitted to using steroids but hasn’t denied it either. The only problem I have with the character is that he was almost too nice. I can’t remember ever meeting someone like the Ram who was nice enough to wrestle with neighborhood kids. I don’t know, but I thought he should have had a little harder edge.
For every Bruno Sammartino who saved his money, there are way more Rams than there are Sammartinos. Most of the wrestlers who were successful in the 1980s never expected the territories to disappear. A lot of these guys woke up one morning with slim options, no money in the bank, a lost family, and fading fame. The big money didn’t come until the late 1990s which was too late for a lot of these guys.
I think the movie probably does more to pay respect to pro wrestlers than pro wrestling itself. It is a creative way of telling an interesting story even though it revolves around something as corny as pro wrestling. I only wish more people understood the pain and sacrifices that a lot of their heroes made, especially when they chant “boring” or “you f*cked up!”
[adinserter block=”2″]I think there is a lot of potential left on the table from this movie. I could see a sequel (depending upon how you interpret the ending). I think a similar movie featuring a female wrestler could be off of the charts. I also think that there is an opportunity here for a television series based on a similar character. The surface is just being scratched with this great movie.
The DVD features a ton of extras. One of the most exciting extras to wrestling fans is a round-table discussion featuring ex-pro wrestling. Ric Flair, Lex Luger, Roddy Piper, and others host a question and answer session talking about the movie and the business. This is what some would consider to be the ultimate shoot interview. I am grabbing the DVD specifically for this extra.
I’d highly recommend the DVD whether you are a wrestling fan or not. I have heard nothing but great things from people I know that hate wrestling. Mickey Rourke gives one of the all-time performances in this one and deserves every accolade that he has received. Maybe just maybe, this movie will open up some eyes and some kind of union could be established for aging wrestlers.
Now I am really talking fiction with that one.
Order the Wrestler today by clicking here.