Pop-culture: May 2009 Archives

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.

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