Those that have read my Dark Knight review know that I am a pretty "blue collar" movie reviewer. All I am really qualified to talk about is what I notice and remember from movies. This review will not be as purposely spoiler free as my DK review, just because I want to talk openly about the movie.
The Wrestler is a movie about a man that Father Time is catching up with. His fast and furious lifestyle as a top-draw pro-wrestler in the 80s is catching up to him as he works for twenty bucks in a grade school gym between shifts at the grocery store, thus we are introduced to Randy the Ram.
Anyone that has ever been broke and down on their luck immediately identifies with The Ram. He can't make his rent, sleeps in his van, his daughter hates him, he has a prescription pill habit, and the closest thing he has to a girlfriend is a regular girl at the "gentleman's club".
Nevertheless, his "public" still adores him. Even if he is wrestling to a crowd of 20, The Ram is still on top! Even the neighborhood kids love him, there is a great scene where a bunch of little boys are banging on his van and wake him up, he comes out like he's all pissed, but then he "wrestles" them all as the "bad guy" (even "chokeslams" one of the kids), and they all start laughing.
The "human" element of this movie is undeniable. In a way, it is like a pseudo-documentary, with the camera following Randy the Ram around during a key time in his life. You see, one of the major plot drivers is that the Ram has a heart attack after a grueling hardcore match (complete with shattered glass, staples, and barbed wire). After the ensuing bypass surgery, the doctor tells Randy the Ram he's done...no more wrestling.
This keys off the drama of the movie. Randy wants to end the rock and roll lifestyle, make up with his daughter, and turn a stripper into a housewife...all while working 9 to 5 at the grocery deli counter.
There are some really great scenes in this movie, some touching, some hilarious, some painful. Here is a brief rundown of some of my absolute favorites:
- "Marking out for the Ram"-During his hardcore match, Ram puts a trashcan over his opponent and is going to whatck him with a chair out in the middle of the audience. This kid yells, "No, use my leg!", and pulls off his prosthetic leg. The whole crowd goes apeshit and chants, "Use his leg! Use his leg!" Sure enough, "WHAMMO!", the guy in the trashcan got the leg!
- "Don't you knock?"-Randy goes to the grocery store manager's office to ask for more hours (after his heart attack). He goes in without knocking only to find the manager watching some filthy porno on his computer! Ooops!
- The entire set with his daughter and him on the boardwalk, and dancing...just...wow.
- "Wanna party?"-During his short-lived retirement, Ram goes to party with some of the guys after a show. A girl recognizes him as a wrestler, several drinks and lines of coke later he wakes up half naked at her house with fireman boots on! (Hilarious scene!)
- "Wanna play Nintendo?"-Ram has one of the kids over to play NES shortly after he gets home from his heart attack. I don't know why, I just like the scene.
Before I sign off here, here is a list of things I would be remiss to not mention:
- Marisa Tomei was great in this and HOTTER than hell. Let's just say it was akward watching this with my mom a couple times.
- The music in this movie bangs. I'd probably put this third on my all time fave soundtrack list behind "The Crow" and "The Devil's Rejects".
- Very good wrestling choreography in this movie, didn't look "Hollywood" at all.
- Another thing I just happen to notice was how well the wardrobe in the movie was played out. It's funny how much a good wardrobe helps a good movie.