"The Wrestler," therapy not included

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The other evening we watched "The Wrestler." About five years after everyone else.

Just when you think that life can't get any more depressing, "The Wrestler" will prove you wrong. I remarked that you have to watch "Beaches" just to get over "The Wrestler."

Not that it isn't a brilliant movie, beautifully shot, poignant at times and an interesting critique of Americana, but just ... sweet jeebus. You think it's sad that Randy the Ram was locked out of his trailer? Or that his boss is an ignorant little twerp? Or that his bones sound like they're going to crack under the weight of his very heavy and slightly frightening old man breathing? Well then BAM! HEART ATTACK! And then he gets better but BAM! Randy the Ram can't wrestle anymore or he'll die because he's had a bypass! Also? His daughter hates his guts, the trailer park kids all have better gaming systems than he does, and the only person who cares about him is an old stripper from a club called "Cheeks," but when she finally tells him this it's too late because he just wants to wrestle one more time and die because there isn't anything left on earth anymore for Randy.

Watching this movie made me feel like I was going to die alone. Alone, in a van parked by a trailer with only a duct-taped coat to keep me warm. Darren Aronofsky is a tricky little SOB because he made the screen go to black after the final scene so you're left thinking "Wow, maybe Randy the Ram ... doesn't die? Maybe?" This little bubble of hope crawls up your throat before NOPE, CREDITS and the reality of life's awfulness punches a fist down your throat.

This movie dredges up all the awful crap that you've ever experienced in your life, the stuff you've swept under your heart, and taunts you with it. Your dog died? RANDY HAS NO DOG. No social life as a teen? Randy's big night out consists of getting his roots touched up, tanning, and going to the five-and-dime to buy wrestling props. HE HAS TO BUY HIS OWN PROPS. It's like a stripper having to use her own change for dancing music. And then? When he buys his daughter a used pea coat at a vintage store while you can very clearly see the duct tape on his coat? Slap-Chop my heart. The only part of the movie in which I did not require therapy is when some dude with an artificial leg offered it up to Randy the Ram because he wanted Randy to beat his opponent with it. That's fan devotion.

It was a brilliant movie, it deserved every award for which it was nominated, Rourke was robbed at the Oscars, but I will never watch it again because it was that real. This Memorial Day weekend I'm going to watch "Transformers" a few times, "The Big Lebowski," and probably something involving vampires over some beer and BBQ.

Happy Memorial Day, thanks to all our men and women for their service, see you back here on Tuesday.

37 Comments

Gawd, I KNOW. I KNOW. IT WAS SO HEARTCRUSHING.

Excellent, but I needed a Disney movie afterward, veiled misogyny and all. I didn't care. Give me The Little Mermaid. At least there's a HAPPY ENDING.

Gee whiz, I've never seen it, and now I might not, but I think I need a drink just from reading your description ;-)

Have an awesome holiday. I too plan to eat, drink and be merry over the weekend. If I drink enough maybe MY bones will quit being stupid.

Too much tragedy of fatherhood. I loved The Wrestler, but I don't know if I can watch it again. I haven't been able to watch Million Dollar Baby again after it wrecked me in just about the same way.

Ummm, you may want to add a "spoiler alert" header to this! I want to see the movie at some point and have thus far managed to avoid finding out the plot. Luckily here I was able to do the internet equivalent of sticking my fingers in my ears by scrolling down really quickly! ;-)

Thanks.

I think movies like this one are brilliant, but they make me so utterly sad. It's like the writer can see into your soul and knows just how to bring out those same feelings of sadness, grief, and despair. Another movie like this one you talk about that I will never watch again..."I Am Legend" I thought Will Smith was so wonderful in this movie but I literally sobbed the whole movie. It broke my heart and just made me so terribly sad. I think I was crying for an hour after because my emotions were just so out of control after watching it. Sometimes movies just hit way too close to home, which is what makes them so great.

Happy Memorial Day, Dana! I hope you and the family have a great weekend~

Yes yes yes! I watched the movie a few weeks ago and commented on facebook re: how depressed I was and I got lambasted! That I wasn't appreciating the moving for what it was etc etc etc. I got that Rourke was amazing, I got that the storytelling was amazing, blahblahblah, but I will never ever want to watch that movie again.

i have yet to see the movie but it think you were supposed to write 'die in a van down by the river....'. chris farley skit, you know. no? okay. i guess it is your blog. now i kinda want to see it and maybe i don't.

How true is this review of the movie?! Thank you for making my Tuesday a little better- hilarious!!

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

i don't know if you're familiar with TED, but i think you would find this interesting!

i have been afraid to watch it because of everything you have just written! i'd probably need days to recover emotionally from it.

look forward to following you and feel free to swing by as well:

http://chroniclesofmomnia.blogspot.com

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