Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Wrestler? Fuggedaboudit

On the last-minute advice of my younger sister to abort my mission to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button--a movie, she said, that is a glorified, depressing version of Forrest Gump--I instead went to see The Wrestler, a movie very much unlike Forrest Gump but most likely equally as depressing as that Button movie.

Well, depressing and really hard to look at. Not only was the movie shot in Keansburg, NJ, a town that puts the "ew" in New Jersey, but the wrestling scenes included everything from a staple gun to various oiled sterioid-filled bodies to a fork taking a chunk out of the wrestler's forehead. But nothing compared to the horror show that is Mickey Rourke's face. There's more leather on his mug than an entire fleet of Hell's Angels and dominatrixes combined. It was hard to reconcile with the memory of a sexy Mickey in 9 1/2 Weeks, but you could still see the remnants of that old sex symbol in his eyes, not unlike the performance of the Beast in Disney's Beauty and the Beast.

Marisa Tomei as an ageing pole dancer was pretty good, except she obviously didn't do her research on the pole. There wasn't a fairy spin, carousel, or butterfly spin in sight. Bitch has an Oscar nomination for that performance and hasn't paid her dues--I'm sitting here after a particularly grueling 2-hour pole dancing class with bruises up and down my legs and even, yes, even my toes, and I'm not even playing a stripper in a major motion picture. Shit ain't right.

To make matters worse, the writers pulled a Sopranos on us at the end of the movie. In the last scene, Mickey as Randy the Ram struggles to finish the match. At this point, he's already had a bypass and stumbles around the ring looking like he's about to keel over of a heart attack at any second. He climbs on top of the ropes and stretches his arms out like a diver to signal the start of his signature move, a giant leap onto his victim, who's inevitably lying in wait below to meet his end by human lycan, which I just discovered is a sort of werebeast, if you will.

Mickey/Randy the Ram/Werebeast takes a breath, jumps high into the air, and then, and then ... blackness falls over the screen. Like the Sopranos finale, I thought for a split second that the projector had malfunctioned right at the most pivotal scene. I turned back to shoot the stink eye at the teen working the projector, a rather ineffective move from the front-row of a pitch black theatre. But when I whipped my head back around, the credits were rolling down the screen, leaving me to wonder for the rest of my days what the hell happened to the Ram. As if I don't have enough on my mind wondering what became of Tony Soprano--maybe he got jumped by Randy? It's becoming something of a Jersey cliche to end shows in complete blackness, leaving the audience to make up their own ending. That's not creative--that's just a lot of fricking work. What the f#@ people? Must be something in the water.