The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

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Hail_Cesar
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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#151 Post by Hail_Cesar » Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:23 pm

Arg! Quebec and their fucking movie doubling! :evil:

Well not sure if iy was a french(France) doubling though...

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exte
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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#152 Post by exte » Sun Feb 01, 2009 1:32 pm

AWA wrote:I just read tonight this was shot on Super16mm film and transfered to 35mm for the final edit.... now I really want to see this. Anyone have any comments on how this contributed aesthetically?
Umm... Are you kidding? It made the film (no joke). This was totally handheld, as Aronofsky has described in countless interviews. And this allowed for his DP (who has a background in documentaries) to roam with her camera, allow for minimal setup time. And he did it, very simply, for the sake of Rourke, because he wanted him to always be in the moment, and really encourage his method acting. He didn't want to take him out of it with added artifice, which is why, for example, there were no director chairs on set. And, if I remember correctly, no video tap either for the cast and crew to watch the takes. Basically, it was a complete break from the way he shot The Fountain...

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#153 Post by filmnoir1 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 5:42 pm

Rourke is really great in this role, but I disagree with so many critics and viewers who are astonished at what they perceive to be his great acting ability in this role. It is a role that is tailor-made for him and one which I would argue is often flat and two dimensional. In those few scenes where we see another side to the character of Randy such as with his daughter at the Boardwalk or with the kids, the actions and emotions seem forced. I do not really believe that he has any love for them or his daughter, but instead i feel as if he tolerates them because they are remnants of his past, a past that he dwells in without regret.

Rourke has always been somewhat of a fascinating actor, but he has never been the caliber of say someone like De Niro, Pacino, Spacey, Hoffman, or even of Will Smith, whose performance in I am Legend was brilliant to watch. If Rourke wins I would not be disappointed but somehow I think Sean Penn will win for his complete transformation and subtle genuflections as Harvey Milk.

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exte
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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#154 Post by exte » Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:15 pm

filmnoir1 wrote:Rourke has always been somewhat of a fascinating actor, but he has never been the caliber of say someone like ...Will Smith
Get the f**k out. [-X

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#155 Post by swo17 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:22 pm

With all due respect exte, I believe you are discounting Mr. Smith's groundbreaking work on the playgrounds of West Philadelphia.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#156 Post by tavernier » Sun Feb 01, 2009 6:29 pm

filmnoir1 wrote:Rourke has always been somewhat of a fascinating actor, but he has never been the caliber of say someone like De Niro, Pacino, Spacey, Hoffman, or even of Will Smith, whose performance in I am Legend was painful to watch.
Fixed.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#157 Post by Binker » Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:14 pm


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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#158 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sun Feb 01, 2009 7:41 pm

RagingNoodles wrote:
flyonthewall2983 wrote:I'm glad to see someone else feels this way. I pointed out earlier that there is enough backstage drama that's been going on in wrestling for years, that's all ripe for screen adaptation. My dream project would be to be able to tell the story of the Von Erich family, as it's both a bonafide American tragedy and a really fascinating narrative. This documentary does a really good job of painting the picture of what went on in the organization they helped build (and ultimately help destroy).

My other dream project would be to tell a heavily fictional (IE, names changed, etc, etc) account of the Monday Night Wars and within that framework, try to put in as much of the backstage stuff that's happened since the 80's. My tongue-in-cheek pitch would be that it's a cross between Network and Gladiator.
If they ever get around to making a film on the Von Erich, I would love to see it and I would imagine it being one of the most depressing films around. It's a story that I would be very difficult to shoot and hard to structure.

I once thought a biopic on Eddie Guerrero would be very fascinating, as no one has ever had a career like him. He was a there at the peak of WCW in late 1990s, at the peak of WWF in 2000, a main eventer with Art Barr at the peak of AAA in 1994 (when they were drawing more people in major American markets than WWF or WCW were at that time), a Junior star in the NJPW promotion in the early 1990s, and at the peak of EMLL in 1990-1991. He was a 5'6 guy who was deemed to tiny to become a star, and had to pretty much become so charismatic, exciting, a draw amongst Hispanics and pump himself with so much chemicals that he become at the time the shortest WWE Champion ever. Another interesting thing was that he was scripted to actually win his 2nd WWE World Championship the day he died. One could really examine this obscure subculture of a world using Guerrero's story and the different things Japan, Mexico and American want in their peculiar form of entertainment. Or a documentary on Benoit could be really something if the right people got behind it.
In thinking about it, I couldn't believe I left out how interesting it would be if someone brought Mick Foley's Have A Nice Day to the screen. It remains to this day the most entertaining (about his business) and inspiring (about his life) book about wrestling. It would certainly be more of a Capra-esque story (and one easier to sell to any of the major studios) as opposed to the really heavy tragedies cited above.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#159 Post by Antoine Doinel » Sun Feb 01, 2009 11:20 pm

Saw this tonight and I pretty much echo the sentiments of others in thread, for the reasons why it worked (Rourke's incredible performance, Aronofsky's restrained work behind the camera). I completely agree with domino, re: the deli scene. That was just an incredible sequence that really spoke volumes about what attracted Ram to the ring in the first place. For me, the biggest achievement of the film was making the impact of every hit, blow and slam real. The film really made you appreciate these aren't just prima donnas going out there and falling over themselves. That these guys are athletes, putting their bodies through hell for an audience.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#160 Post by Mr Pixies » Wed Feb 11, 2009 11:21 pm

This movie is specifically an allegory for us, me, you. It's about the material dimension we live in we all wrestle with life. And maybe that;s the meaning of life. The film focuses on a wrestler cause it brings more focus to the beatings we all go through. The film is brilliant on all levels, I am ashamed that I can't retain all that I experienced from the film, I can't wait to see it again.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#161 Post by AWA » Thu Feb 12, 2009 2:35 am

I should note here that I did get to see this last week and is the best American film of 2008 I've seen... it is a crying shame this isn't up for best picture when so many questionable films actually are. This should also be up for best cinematography, as the handheld Super16 was a brilliant decision and really helped aid the story... the cinematography was so much an integral, essential part of the film's success in all aspects - conveying the emotions, the character, etc - in such a way I can only compare (and maybe because I'm a big Woody fan) but to Gordon Willis' work on Manhattan. Or maybe even Godard's Breathless, which also required some deft cinematography to make the film succeed. But it was really remarkably done. The handheld camera, the gritty, grainy images, the colour tones of the 16mm ... they all really contributed to the B-rate star life The Ram was and added to his desperation.

Rourke was fantastic. It takes a lot of guts to look like hell like he did, but also to make such an idiot so likeable at times, so despicable at others. When he fools around with the groupie in the washroom with the cocaine fueled sex (and everything that apparently came afterwards), you're actually cheering for him because he was hesitant to do any "partying" before because of concerns about the heart surgery. You're kind of glad he can still, you feel for his reasoning... and you forget about his appointment with his daughter, just as he did. And then you hate him.

I had lost all faith in Aronofsky... he made Pi, which I loved and still love... one of my favorite films... but RFAD and Fountain were brutal disappointments, especially Requiem, which I think is up there on the list of films I hate the most. He really surprised me with this, and I'm glad he did. It's a mature piece of work that is simple in it's production and story, but complex in terms of emotions and character. Plus the Super16 must have taken some real guts to do, as I doubt that helped endeared the film to potential distributors. PT Anderson made the leap from being a young filmmaker with potential to being a mature, wise true auteur capable of refined and meaningful filmmaking last year with There Will Be Blood... Aronofsky has seemingly made that jump this year.

ETA: And for all the film theorists out there, I also came away from the film thinking that this film also perfectly suited the times it was released in... America's good times (Reaganism policies wrought in the greedy heyday of the 80's that paralleled The Ram's career highs to the crumbling, repercussions and ramifications of those ideas now, once again in direct parallel with The Ram's fall from grace). The film was summed up in the bar conversation about them enjoying 80's music... when he mentions how Cobain ruined everything in the 90's, he asks "what's wrong with having a good time?" Of course... his whole life has been ruined by that philosophy and he puts up one more example when he neglects the date with his daughter for another "good time".
Last edited by AWA on Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#162 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:05 am

I'd like to point out, as a fan of the old school of pro wrestling, that I find it hilarious you gave this film a good review (a very thoughtful one, mind you). This is why.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#163 Post by AWA » Thu Feb 12, 2009 3:17 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:I'd like to point out, as a fan of the old school of pro wrestling, that I find it hilarious you gave this film a good review (a very thoughtful one, mind you). This is why.
That's pretty funny. I've had many people ask about what "AWA" stands for, but no one has actually suggested anything... no less some wrestling connection!

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#164 Post by Barmy » Thu Feb 12, 2009 1:47 pm

Despite the horror that was Clinton, the 90s did NOT "suck", except for losers who stayed out of the real economy despite all the opportunities that existed. The screenplay was written by someone with no clue about the milieu he is writing about. All of the characters are "types" that you learn about at some screenplay course you take at the Learning Annex.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#165 Post by AWA » Thu Feb 12, 2009 4:54 pm

Barmy wrote:Despite the horror that was Clinton, the 90s did NOT "suck", except for losers who stayed out of the real economy despite all the opportunities that existed. The screenplay was written by someone with no clue about the milieu he is writing about. All of the characters are "types" that you learn about at some screenplay course you take at the Learning Annex.
I think The Ram was referencing 90's culture, not the 90's economy. More specifically, 90's culture in the first half with grunge re-applying some meaning and cultural ethos of some kind back to mainstream culture, however briefly. Nirvana and grunge completely made jokes out of hair metal bands and flashy kitsch (much like the wrestler depicted here) nearly overnight.

Clearly, the writers of the script are not knocking Cobain or the 90's at all - they're suggesting the hedonistic 80's are (and remain) a cancerous mindset for all those that embraced that culture and cling to it today, like Randy.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#166 Post by Barmy » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:10 pm

Umm, for The Wrestler the 90s was a lost decade. The Nirvana reference was a lame synechdoche for the 90s generally. I do agree that Nirvana sucked, however.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#167 Post by Antoine Doinel » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:12 pm

AWA wrote:
Barmy wrote:Despite the horror that was Clinton, the 90s did NOT "suck", except for losers who stayed out of the real economy despite all the opportunities that existed. The screenplay was written by someone with no clue about the milieu he is writing about. All of the characters are "types" that you learn about at some screenplay course you take at the Learning Annex.
I think The Ram was referencing 90's culture, not the 90's economy. More specifically, 90's culture in the first half with grunge re-applying some meaning and cultural ethos of some kind back to mainstream culture, however briefly. Nirvana and grunge completely made jokes out of hair metal bands and flashy kitsch (much like the wrestler depicted here) nearly overnight.

Clearly, the writers of the script are not knocking Cobain or the 90's at all - they're suggesting the hedonistic 80's are (and remain) a cancerous mindset for all those that embraced that culture and cling to it today, like Randy.
I disagree. In fact, as the film pains to point out, what audiences took as "flashy kitsch" was real deal guys getting the hell knocked out of them. And certainly, if you ask Axl or Slash if they thought what they were doing was doing was kitsch in the late '80s, they might knock your teeth out. For those who lived it, it was real and important and vital. If anything, the Nirvana line merely just showed that the Ram couldn't relate with where culture went in the '90s. It's not that uncommon to feel disconnected from an era you're not coming of age or having relevance in. Certainly, I have no idea what the kids see in popular bands these days, but that isn't to say that they are any less meaningful (to them).

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#168 Post by AWA » Thu Feb 12, 2009 5:30 pm

His follow-up line to the Cobain comment was "what's wrong with having a good time?", which Cassidy agrees with (in that grunge / Nirvana dealt with issues far beyond everybody getting their rocks off tonight and acknowledged and confronted the problems in modern life). Problem is, they've both staked their lives on the short term gains of a good time and are paying for it more and more as they both grow older. Then we're hit over the head with that line again when Randy neglects his daughter because he was busy having another good time. That conversation and that line in particular I think are vital to understanding the film. Yes, they were real deal guys getting the hell knocked out of them but I viewed it as a tragic, meaningless existence of suffering as they all tried to cling onto something that they instilled with far more meaning (and generally, more meaning in hedonistic "good times") than they could ever have. The Ram couldn't relate to where culture went in the 90's because people were starved for something meaningful and sincere by that point, not flippant illusionary decadence.

That, and I also viewed the film as one about people putting their bodies on the line as their sole means of value in life. The manual labor Randy did to make ends meet worked more for a metaphor for the grits out there that have to do this for a living in real life... the entire wrestling thing as an allegory for the working class who toil in manual labor for their entire lives to be able to survive and take pride in themselves. Of course, life demands that you're able to keep up that work rate far longer than your body will allow, and many manual laborers, like the wrestler, see their body breakdown long before their will and time clock does. What meaning does life hold when your life depends on your physicality and not your mind if your body has expired but the time clock hasn't? Coming from a huge working class family in the Detroit/Windsor area where manual labor is a common way of life, I've seen this played out far too many times to similar results. So perhaps my social background influences my perspective here.


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exte
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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#170 Post by exte » Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:14 pm

Saw it last night, and I was floored. Too bad votes are already in...

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#171 Post by King Prendergast » Fri Feb 13, 2009 3:53 pm

exte wrote:
Saw it last night, and I was floored. Too bad votes are already in...
Mickey was excellent on Rose last night. One of the most emotionally forthright interviews with an actor I've ever seen. A truly entertaining and moving hour of television.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#172 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:37 pm

I definitely agree, every bit as good as Charlie's interview with Neil Young from last year.

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exte
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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#173 Post by exte » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:35 pm

Looking back he should have done this interview instead of the Larry King/Chris Jericho nonsense. I guess at the time McMahon waved a lot of money in his face and Mickey had to give it some thought. Sad if it affects his chances for an Oscar...

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#174 Post by dx23 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:26 am

By the way, Rourke still scheduled for Wrestlemania in some capacity.

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Re: The Wrestler (Darren Aronofsky, 2008)

#175 Post by AWA » Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:42 am

What a great interview with Rourke. He reminds me of some people I know (sad as it is). I'm glad to hear he see things a little more clearly now. Charlie Rose is a good interviewer, he never disappoints me (well... Kaufman and Hoffman's stop there for Synecdoche was pretty uneventful). Great stuff, thanks a bunch for posting that link.

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