The Wrestler

I dunno about Mickey Rorke. I've always had some sort of vague interest in his whole dealio. Supposedly he was on track to be the next Brando and then he became a dumb boxer and ended up derailing his whole career in an drunk orgy of plastic surgery, chain smokery, and throwing lamps at women for sport or something. But to be honest, I never really saw true greatness in this guy. (Is it possible his legend is all girl-driven hype based on the lasting chickboners from 9 1/2 Weeks? I mean Pope of Greenwich Village is an all-around C+ as far as I'm concerned.) Maybe I'm not tuned in to fine acting-- but I think Brando was sort of overrated too. Yup! I mean sure sure, through the roof great in Godfather and Apocalypse Now (one of my favorites). But backtrack into some other stuff and I can't see what other people see. I watched On the Waterfront recently and was sort of whatevery about the experience. That's the guy that's the greatest genius ever? Admittedly, I do have a really hard time with pre-65 movies tho. The vocal emphasis seems all out of wack or something.

When it comes to great actors I think it's all about timing. Not timing of their craft. But timing like on a wristwatch. Like, if I'm watching a movie-- how long does it take for me to not see the actor anymore and just see the character. Meryl Streep sells me in usually a minute or two. Actually I get sold pretty fast by George Clooney. Sean Penn probably has the fastest turnaround time. Jack Nicholson used to be lightning fast but even at minute 20 in Departed I was still seeing him 'acting'. He's gotta get his shit together. I thing Jeff Bridges is underratedly fast...

Anyway, so I check out this Wrestler movie and am immediately floored by the appearance of Mickey Rorke. The criminal act he committed on his own face and his puffy muscle bod  screamed a disturbing level of personal lunacy. And for the first 40 minutes or so I just couldn't stop being distracted by his whole look. I kept trying to place the face and didn't find any takers. Contributing to my distraction was the fact that not alot was going on movie-wise for the first chunk of this flick. This is a quiet movie. All somber weight. Alot of shots of him just walking around crunching frost or sitting somewhere talking or looking sad and lonely. And by the end of the first 45 minutes I was still unable to get in the pool with it. I just sat there with my feet dangling in the water-- wondering when I was gonna get the shove full in. I was appreciating watching second-rate aging wrestlers wallow around-- but the water was too murky. I felt like I was getting plenty depressed from where I was sitting. It didn't earn my trust to hold my nose, shove off and sink to the bottom.

However there's something strangely watchable about the whole experience. It is a different world. It is a different tone. And Marisa Tomei does help as a stripper who seems to be on her last draining year of stripper hotness. (She shows her boobs alot and dances around brave with the butt grind and stuff!) But as things went along, I disappointedly realized I was watching a very straight flick glommed from the pages of 'Aging Athlete Cinema 101'. Blah blah. Can't let go of the sport. Estranged daughter. Blown life. Broke. Yadda. Glory days strings. Ignored health issues. Same ol. Nothing new here except for the sport vibe itself. As for Mickey Rorke he did eventually break away from himself and sell me on the character. But it wasn't until the last few scenes that I was able to move past his physical appearance and come clean. But at that point the flick had already categorized itself as minor. And although I thought Rorke did a good job with it all-- in the end, I didn't feel like I needed any of it.

Three Good Things About this Movie

- It was a pretty honest flick.
- Marisa Tomei and her body and boobs! (Oh... and acting. She was actually good.)
- It resonated into the next day with squinty eyed hints that I might have missed something.

Three Bad Things About this Movie

- Never been a big wrestling guy but some of the ring violence seemed unrealistically overdone. The staplegun?
- I felt it used long lingering nothing happening shots to make up for a lack of emotional depth.
- It could have used a couple fun screaming rants like Macho Man or Sheik can belt!

All in all, if you're looking for a good rainy night movie. This flick does come across aok. And the spectacle that is Mickey Rorke almost worth the ticket price. There is a fascination here. But much of it is simply wondering what he would be if he didn't fly off the hollywood rollercoaster and land in the parking lot setting off a car alarm. And it's unfortunate that he's trapped forever now in strange man roles or going unrecognizable (like in Sin City which he was fantastic in). But then again... that future does hold my interest more than others. Because if there's one thing there's enough of in Hollywood-- it's pretty boy handsome men who can do it all and do no wrong.