The Wrestler
May 28, 2009


ANNE VS. NICK: This month Twist & Shout thought it might be fun to give you two different views of the same movie, one from Anne, and one from Nick.

We both watched The Wrestler‚ last weekend, which has just come out on DVD.

From Anne:

The story tells of an aging wrestler, Randy “The Ram” Robinson, (played flawlessly by Mickey Rouke) who is rundown, tired and evaluating his life, and at the same time considering a comeback. Given 5 stars by almost every newspaper we could find; ie. The Boston Globe, Chicago Sun Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety- the movie starts out with a bang and doesn’t stop.

He has been wrestling all his life and doesn’t know anything else. He has a brush with death, in the form of a serious heart attack, and faced with meaningless jobs, has to decide what to do. This writer has to admit something- I did not know how fake‚ pro wrestling was. It’s like a ballet. It’s scripted. These men know what they’re going to do before they even go in the ring. They discussed it before hand! It’s a performance‚. I didn’t know that. As Roger Ebert says in his review, “we learn how they make themselves bleed, prepare for violent surprises, talk through each match. And then they go out and do it. As nearly as I can tell, their planning only means they get hurt in the ways they expect.”

It was a little bloody and gory for me as well- but I’m sure that most of our male readers will find it just fine- (we’ll see what Nick has to say on that!) Nominated for best actor, a nomination Rouke earns; he is in great physical shape and plays like a pro wrestler from start to finish.

But, for me one person in the movie that almost stole the show in her minor role, was Marisa Tomei, who plays Cassidy‚ aka Pam, an aging stripper. She is a performer- of a different sort, just as he is. She puts on a show, just like he does- and she is fading- just as he is. (But could we all look like she did- In her “fading role”? I would only hope!

This rental will truly be worth your time; Will Randy “The Ram” want to hear the roar of the crowd one more time? Rent it, and find out.


4 out of 5 stars

From Nick:

Ram Jam!...What, wrestling is fake? I have to say that I really liked this movie. The Wrestler had tons of hype coming from all types of media outlets, which can sometimes alter the way you feel when the movie is all said and done, and this movie lived up to the hype.

Randy “The Ram” Robinson is a pro wrestler in the twilight of his career. The Ram, who had once sold out Madison Square Garden in the 80’s, with his most notable opponent the Ayatollah (Ernest Miller), and is now years past his prime and wrestling on the weekends for various independent wrestling promotions in the Elizabeth, New Jersey area. Randy Seems to be stuck in the 80s era that he loved so much and had the most success, listening to Quiet Riot or Guns & Roses and wearing the fanny pack for his money. The only thing that is missing was the zubaz pants. The Ram thinks one more rematch with the Ayatollah might put him back on top.

When The Ram is not wrestling on weekends, or working his job at the local grocery store, he visits a strip club where he has taken a liking to a stripper named Pam, stage-named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) whose appeal to the other customers has fallen off due to her age. Their lives seem to be following a parallel path.

Randy, who has accepted a rematch with the Ayatollah, has been wrestling and training. He suffers a heart attack after a “hardcore match” with Necro Butcher using various weapons like a staple gun, which is a must see. The heart attack could be linked to the years of steriod abuse, and drug abuse that is the underbelly of wrestling which I think the movie does a good job of portraying. It isn’t always the bright lights that you see in TNA and WWE.

After his bypass operation, at Cassidy's suggestion, Randy visits his estranged daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood) who he hasn’t seen for ages, and tries to recreate a relationship with her. To see how he screws this up, you’ll have to watch the movie.

This movie is more of a drama, then a “wrestling movie” as it deals with some real hard issues. To Randy, the real world is the only place he gets hurt, and the only place he belongs is in the ring, with the fans being his true family. I won’t spoil the ending for you. ~NM

4 out of 5 stars


Regular Size Twist and Shout