Wrestling with The Wrestler
I watched The Wrestler this weekend, and my immediate reaction to it was two-fold: (1) it didn’t seem like too big of a stretch for Mickey Rourke; and (2) Mickey Rourke is almost grotesquely ugly now.
One of the reasons why I didn’t like the film more is that it addresses a very sizable and real chunk of American society that I have no curiosity to explore. As a washed-up former “Hulk Hogan” like pro-wrestler, Rourke’s character Randy the Ram, struggles to pay his rent, blows his money on strippers and booze, and has to make “investments” (steroids, tanning salon fees, hair bleaching) to keep his flagging wrestling career going. His presence as a character in an old school Nintendo video game signals that he once made bank, but after years of excess, he’s now expendable, and has nothing to show for it except for a corroded van and a trailer, whose rent payments he can barely cover. This template of the American existence is something that I can’t appreciate (and sometimes draws out this social Darwinistic reaction in me), but with these bleak economic and social times, I have a feeling that this may be a revisited theme in film for the next few years, and I look forward to watching all of its iterations.