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InvisibleOneMoreRobot3021
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The Wrestler: My Brief Review (*spoilers inside*)
    #9681175 - 01/26/09 10:23 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

A few years ago, I took a weekend-long Story Seminar taught by Robert McKee, a class portrayed and immortalized in the Charlie Kaufman/Spike Jonze film "Adaptation."  That class changed the way I forever looked at films, and the way I looked at my own writing.  As the McKee character in "Adaptation" rants, so did the real McKee - the only thing that makes a film worth a damn, that moves an audience, that captures a heart, is the idea of a human being faced with a choice, what choices those human beings make, and how they deal with those choices. Tonight I saw The Wrestler. I wonder what Robert McKee thought of it.

The Wrestler's main theme, as I see it, is choice.  Each character, for better or worse, is a product of the choices that they have made in this life. Whether these are good choices or bad choices is irrelevant - they are their choices, and they don't let other people dictate the course of their lives. They create and destroy their own identities. Each frame of the film represents this, each element of each scene, from the obvious (the violent destruction of the supermarket aisles when The Ram quits his attempt at a new job and a new life) to the more subtle (the bottle of hot sauce on his nightstand where others would likely have had a glass of water) to the matter-of-fact (the time-capsule mid-80's quality of the inside of his trailer).

We never see nor hear anything about the twenty years that have elapsed between The Ram's great battle with the Ayatollah at Madison Square Garden and the current point in his life when the movie begins.  But there is an implicit sense that he has no one but himself to blame for his current situation, his life, his career.  Though he does impart to a young wrestler in the beginning of the film that it is "the ones who drive the Cadillacs"  that make the big decisions as to what happens to a career, we have to assume that whereas once he had money and fame, it is easy to lose fame to circumstances beyond your control but only a person's foolish and bad choices can lose them their money. And money is central to the movement of the plot. Much of the film is a meditation on the ways in which The Ram decides to spend both his money and his time. Tanning booths instead of rent.  While he admits to Stephanie that their relationship is the product of his choices and that he has only himself to blame for the state of it, this admission seems reflective of his life and career on the whole.

The film is shot close and tight, focusing on face and body primarily. Not just a stylistic touch, this aesthetic sense is reflective of the story thematically as well. The bulk of the film bypasses grand establishing shots and wide panoramas for tight portraiture, close human moments. The smallness of one human life, one man or woman's choices.  Very seldom are we treated to shots where The Ram is a dot on a greater landscape than himself.  When it does happen, it can be positive - when he walks with Stephanie along the boardwalk at Asbury Park, his life opening wider as she lets him back into her heart.  It can be negative - when the Ram can afford to have his trailer unlocked, and has a rare moment of deference to a power greater than he, that of the landlord.  And of course there is the proverbial money shot, the reason for the close tightness of the film, The Ram's final choice. He climbs the turnbuckle and we draw back, watching a wrestling match for the first time in the whole film from outside the ring.  We join the crowd, and we bear witness to his final choice. He gives himself up completely and finally steps outside himself.


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Acid doesn't give you truths; it builds machines that push the envelope of perception. Whatever revelations came to me then have dissolved like skywriting. All I really know is that those few years saddled me with a faith in the redemptive potential of the imagination which, however flat, stale and unprofitable the world seems to me now, I cannot for the life of me shake.

-Erik Davis


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OfflineRocker232
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Re: The Wrestler: My Brief Review (*spoilers inside*) [Re: OneMoreRobot3021]
    #9681184 - 01/26/09 10:25 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Out of 100% how would you rate it man?


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With Allure I Look to the Sky With Awakened Eyes


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InvisibleOneMoreRobot3021
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Re: The Wrestler: My Brief Review (*spoilers inside*) [Re: Rocker232]
    #9681189 - 01/26/09 10:26 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Rocker232 said:
Out of 100% how would you rate it man?




That's just silly.


--------------------
Acid doesn't give you truths; it builds machines that push the envelope of perception. Whatever revelations came to me then have dissolved like skywriting. All I really know is that those few years saddled me with a faith in the redemptive potential of the imagination which, however flat, stale and unprofitable the world seems to me now, I cannot for the life of me shake.

-Erik Davis


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OfflineRocker232
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Registered: 10/17/08
Posts: 6,631
Last seen: 10 years, 8 months
Re: The Wrestler: My Brief Review (*spoilers inside*) [Re: OneMoreRobot3021]
    #9681202 - 01/26/09 10:30 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

OneMoreRobot3021 said:
Quote:

Rocker232 said:
Out of 100% how would you rate it man?




That's just silly.




How is it silly? Your summary is nice to read, but it still doesn't give me an idea of how good the movie is. I think what you wrote is the more important side of critiquing a movie, but an actual rating is nice as well. I have seen many movies that were done well that I did not enjoy. American Beauty is done well, but its pretentious as fuck and far too empty. Give it a letter grade!


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With Allure I Look to the Sky With Awakened Eyes


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InvisibleOneMoreRobot3021
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Re: The Wrestler: My Brief Review (*spoilers inside*) [Re: Rocker232]
    #9681208 - 01/26/09 10:32 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Nope. I strongly recommend seeing it.


--------------------
Acid doesn't give you truths; it builds machines that push the envelope of perception. Whatever revelations came to me then have dissolved like skywriting. All I really know is that those few years saddled me with a faith in the redemptive potential of the imagination which, however flat, stale and unprofitable the world seems to me now, I cannot for the life of me shake.

-Erik Davis


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Invisiblevinsue
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Registered: 02/17/04
Posts: 17,953
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Re: The Wrestler: My Brief Review (*spoilers inside*) [Re: Rocker232]
    #9681210 - 01/26/09 10:32 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Probably "W" . . . :peace:


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"All mushrooms are edible; but some only once." Croatian proverb. BTW ...
  Have You Rated Ythans Mom Yet ?? ... :taser:  ... HERE'S HOW ... (be nice) .  :mod: ... :peace:


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Invisiblememes
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Re: The Wrestler: My Brief Review (*spoilers inside*) [Re: vinsue]
    #9681324 - 01/26/09 11:09 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

I saw it at an independent movie theatre in Norfolk.  I was VERY into it, and left the theatre feeling like a broken-down wrestler.

I'd give it an A- on my scale. 


Also, while we're on the topic of movies some people haven't seen/heard of.  Everyone check out Synedoche, New York (Philip Seymore Hoffman)


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InvisibleOneMoreRobot3021
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Registered: 06/06/03
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Loc: the sky
Re: The Wrestler: My Brief Review (*spoilers inside*) [Re: memes]
    #9681327 - 01/26/09 11:11 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Synecdoche was one of the most exhausting movie-watching experiences of my life.  I'd really like to go see it again, it was so unbelievably dense. Loved it.


--------------------
Acid doesn't give you truths; it builds machines that push the envelope of perception. Whatever revelations came to me then have dissolved like skywriting. All I really know is that those few years saddled me with a faith in the redemptive potential of the imagination which, however flat, stale and unprofitable the world seems to me now, I cannot for the life of me shake.

-Erik Davis


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InvisibleTHE KRAT BARON
one-eyed willie
Registered: 07/08/03
Posts: 42,409
Re: The Wrestler: My Brief Review (*spoilers inside*) [Re: OneMoreRobot3021]
    #9681590 - 01/26/09 12:18 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Wow that was a great review of the film. You should start writing reviews for http://www.rottentomatoes.com/

The movie is great but it is Mickey Rourke's performance in it that really smashes it out of the park. He plays the role of the Ram superbly. I can't see anybody else being able to fill that role as well as he did.

Supposedly there was a scene where the Ram had a mental breakdown in a bathroom but Aronofsky had to take it out of the film. He said that it was one of the best acting performances he's ever seen and that it was so disturbing the rest of the movie would be weighed down by it.

I'm hoping Aronofsky changes his mind and releases the scene on DVD however his original response was: “No. No one except me and Mickey will ever have this scene on DVD. When Mickey learned that the scene was cut, he didn’t talk to me for two weeks.”




I'd give the movie an 8/10.

Mickey Rourke's performance: 10/10

Marissa Thomei's performance: 9/10


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m00nshine is currently vacationing in Maui. Rumor has it he got rolled by drunken natives and is currently prostituting himself in order to pay for airfare back to the mainland but he's having trouble juggling a hairon addiction. He won't be back for a long while.


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