The Wrestler

User avatar
rolotomasi99
Associate
Posts: 1924
Joined: Wed Jan 29, 2003 4:13 pm
Location: n/a
Contact:

Postby rolotomasi99 » Tue Dec 30, 2008 12:44 am

Penelope wrote:Mickey Rourke Slams Sean Penn's Acting, Calls Him Homophobic

why is he sabotaging himself? it is like he cannot handle the pressure all this attention is bringing so he is going down a destructive path to deal with the chance of not winning. very strange behavior.
"When it comes to the subject of torture, I trust a woman who was married to James Cameron for three years."
-- Amy Poehler in praise of Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow

User avatar
Penelope
Site Admin
Posts: 5663
Joined: Sat Jan 31, 2004 11:47 am
Location: Tampa, FL, USA

Postby Penelope » Mon Dec 29, 2008 11:32 pm

Mickey Rourke Slams Sean Penn's Acting, Calls Him Homophobic

Gerald Posner reports in The Daily Beast:

"After his December 23 appearance on David Letterman, [Mickey] Rourke told someone backstage that he was surprised that so many people seemed to think that Penn was his Oscar competition since 'I’m not even sure he’ll get a nomination.' On December 28, a Los Angeles entertainment honcho shared a text message that Rourke had sent him: 'Look seans an old friend of mine and i didnt buy his performance at all—thought he did an average pretend acting like he was gay besides hes one of the most homophobic people i kno' [sic] ... 'It’s a shame,' says one veteran Hollywood lawyer. 'Mickey should be looking at this as a once in a career chance for a fresh start. But dumping on Penn is not going to win him any friends. It’s not the way to get Oscar votes.'"

Rourke also has no business making homophobe accusations.

In 2006, Rourke tried to explain his way out of an incident at a restaurant in which he referred to a fellow patron as "some big obnoxious fag." Said Rourke: "Look, I’m not afraid to say the word fag. I’m not gonna walk on glass because maybe some dude is gonna be offended if I say the word fag. I’ve got plenty of gay friends. We toss the word around. If I wanna say fag, I’m gonna fuckin’ say it. And if somebody has a problem with that, they can kiss my fuckin’ ass!"

Last month, Rourke found himself in the same situation after telling a paparazzo outside a Hollywood nightclub, "tell that faggot who wrote all that shit in the paper I'd like to break his fucking legs."

Rourke later issued an apology for the fag slur.
"...it is the weak who are cruel, and...gentleness is only to be expected from the strong." - Leo Reston

"Cruelty might be very human, and it might be cultural, but it's not acceptable." - Jodie Foster

The Original BJ
Emeritus
Posts: 4184
Joined: Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:49 pm

Postby The Original BJ » Thu Dec 18, 2008 2:42 pm

It seems as if we've had a number of films lately where fine performances and strong direction have trumped thinly scripted conceits (Rachel Getting Married, Gran Torino), and I think The Wrestler fits into that category. There's a lot of tropes we've seen here before -- the down-on-his-luck has-been looking for a comeback, the stripper with a heart of gold, the estranged daughter, etc.

But Darren Aronofsky provides a lot of wonderful details, which make the movie. I love how we don't even see Rourke's face until several scenes into the movie, keeping our anti-hero shrouded in mystery. I love the moment when a small detail of the wrestling world that seems like a cliche is spun on its head to become something so different, so meaningful. I love how Aronofsky shoots Rourke going to work at the deli counter as yet another journey into the ring -- for this guy, the real world isn't any less brutal than the fights he so relishes. This is a very human, lived-in film, and I think the director's touch goes a long way to overcoming some of the less-than-original elements of the script.

The performances are aces, too. Rourke is terrific -- grizzled, funny, beast-like, and very powerful. Obviously much has been made of the fact that Randy "The Ram"'s comeback story parallel's Rourke's own, which gives the film added heft, though I think even without that element we'd be talking obvious awards-contender. Marisa Tomei provides fine support in the type of blowsy, worn-out role she's often excelled at; I hope she doesn't miss the Oscar shortlist as she did the SAG list this morning, because even though her role isn't as flashy as Rourke's, she adds a lot of heart to this gritty story.

So, for me, not really original enough to qualify as a major work, but it's a memorable film, full of details that stick with you after the credits have rolled.

Oh, and Bruce Springsteen's "The Wrestler" has got to be considered a frontrunner for Best Song -- a perfect example of an end-credits number that provides the perfect coda to the film just seen.

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7364
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:55 pm

Owen Gleiberman gives it an "A".

Certain movies about losers have a special, desperately moving appeal. By showing us men whose lives have fallen dramatically short of their dreams, they speak to — and for — all of us. Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler, with Mickey Rourke as a broken-down professional wrestling star still clinging to his glory days from the 1980s, could touch a chord in audiences the way On the Waterfront and Rocky did. It has that kind of lyrical humanity. Aronofsky doesn't speak a sentimental cinematic language. Shooting in a grainy, bare-bones naturalistic style, full of jump cuts and raw light and a handheld camera whooshing about, the director of Requiem for a Dream and The Fountain now strips away all frills, tapping a classic Hollywood myth — a has-been looking for redemption — and, at the same time, transcending that myth. The Wrestler is like Rocky made by the Scorsese of Mean Streets. It's the rare movie fairy tale that's also a bravura work of art.

Back in the pumped-up, heavy metal '80s, Randy ''The Ram'' Robinson (Mickey Rourke) was a big deal, a golden-god gladiator with his own action figure and videogame. His Madison Square Garden bout with a wrestler known as the Ayatollah was seen by a million and a half people on pay per view. But that was then. Now, 20 years later, Randy is a wreck on painkillers, with pulverized bones, a hearing aid, and a face that's been mashed so many times it resembles a wad of dirty Silly Putty. But he still wrestles before small crowds in VFW halls, eating up the bluster of the adoration, which is mostly nostalgia for the bluster of two decades before.

That's something Mickey Rourke must know a lot about. As a young star, he was a bow-lipped bad boy who wooed women on screen with his soft voice and twinkly, knowing smile. Now, it's not just his look that has changed; he seems stunted — all muscle and scar tissue, a figure of damaged loss. Miraculously, though, the softness remains. In The Wrestler, Rourke is at once an authentic former wrestling superstar, a Here's How They Look Now! tabloid curiosity, and — more than ever — a great actor. With platinum hair down to his back, he's like some bloated, freakazoid Sammy Hagar, and he makes you feel every crunched bone and pained breath, the way that Randy subjects his body to punishment to remind himself he's alive. Aronofsky plays off Rourke's fallen-icon status by feasting on that spectacular, pulped wreck of a face. Yet from within that mountain of wounded flesh, Rourke gives Randy a deep, slow voice of disarming gentleness. Randy is the soul of decency encased in a monster's physique, with a buried sadness that, pushed far enough, explodes into rage.

The movie burns through the fakery of wrestling in a touching way, by letting us see how the trumped-up ''enemies'' in the ring actually love and support each other. And they're not just sham warriors. Randy slices his forehead open with a fragment of razor to make sure he's putting on a bloody good show. In one gruesome bout, he gets lacerated by barbed wire and a staple gun. Is such a scene needed? Let's just say it expresses the cutting edge of Randy's pain-freak authenticity.

When he's not in the ring, Randy is basically a polite, saddened middle-aged man who lives in a New Jersey trailer park and works part-time in a supermarket. Aronofsky, working from a script by Robert Siegel, brings us piercingly close to the life of a relic: the visits to the tanning salon, the courteous way that Randy treats even the people who make fun of him, the two-decade-old fan paraphernalia he brings to a pathetically underattended ''legend signing.'' We see how scared he is — an insecure dude who never got over his given name, Robin. He's a loner, almost completely isolated, yet he tries to reconnect to life through two women: Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), a stripper who has taken a liking to him (but still makes him pay for his lap dances), and Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood), his furious estranged daughter, who now wants nothing to do with him. The movie lets us see how Randy was a bad father whose selfishness has broken his own heart. He's a man who has lost nearly everything. Yet he can still reach for grace: Standing up on the ropes, preparing to do his theatrical pounce, he looks triumphant, tearful, and ready to enter heaven.
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12539
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Tue Dec 09, 2008 11:31 am

Wesley Lovell
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

Sabin
Laureate
Posts: 7364
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2003 12:52 am
Contact:

Postby Sabin » Fri Sep 05, 2008 3:00 pm

COMEBACK FOR ROURKE

"After many years in the wilderness and being considered MIA professionally, Mickey Rourke, just like the washed-up character he plays, attempts a return to the big show in The Wrestler," writes Variety's Todd McCarthy in a review posted early this evening.

"Not only does he pull it off, but Rourke creates a galvanizing, humorous, deeply moving portrait that instantly takes its place among the great, iconic screen performances. An elemental story simply and brilliantly told, Darren Aronofsky's fourth feature is a winner from every possible angle, although it will require deft handling by a smart distributor to overcome public preconceptions about Rourke, the subject matter and the nature of the film.

"Co-produced by Wild Bunch in France, where Rourke has retained his most loyal following through thick and thin, this is nonetheless an American picture through and through, beginning with the way it strongly evokes the gritty working-class atmosphere of numerous '70s dramas.

"Spare but vital, and with the increasingly arty mannerisms of Aronofsky's previous work completely stripped away, the film has the clarity and simplicity of a great Hemingway short story -- there's nothing extraneous, the characters must face up to their limited options in life, and the dialogue in Robert Siegel's superior script is inflected with the poetry of the everyday."
"If you are marching with white nationalists, you are by definition not a very nice person. If Malala Yousafzai had taken part in that rally, you'd have to say 'Okay, I guess Malala sucks now.'" ~ John Oliver

User avatar
OscarGuy
Site Admin
Posts: 12539
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 12:22 am
Location: Springfield, MO
Contact:

Postby OscarGuy » Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:47 pm

Rourke was really outstanding in Sin City (one of the few aspects of the film that I liked). So, this really isn't his comeback per se, but it's good to see him getting some consideration.
Wesley Lovell

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." - Benjamin Franklin

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6428
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:27 pm

Screen Daily.

The Wrestler
Fionnuala Halligan in Venice
05 Sep 2008 12:38


Dir: Darren Aronofsky. US. 2008. 105mins.

A deceptively conventional storyline from Darren Aronofsky boasts just the right amount of edge – and, surprisingly, humour – and a performance Mickey Rourke was born for, making The Wrestler a natural awards contender and audience-pleaser without feeling overtly manipulative on the way.

This Rocky-style drama is always travelling down familiar genre tramlines but never leadenly so. Its pulverised lead character naturally inhabits Aronofsky's New Jersey and the main challenge this film will face is in persuading viewers that they haven't seen it before from The Champ on through to Eastwood's recent Million Dollar Baby. In this, Rourke's engaging, compelling, washed-up 80s wrestling-star hulk will be key; the fact The Wrestler's humour leavens the inevitable slamming sequences also helps.

Banishing memories of The Fountain while softening considerably the grit of Requiem For A Dream, The Wrestler should take Aronofsky into a more commercial marketplace on an international level. While its circus-like wrestling bouts will be a lure in the US, Rourke's international standing as an 80s icon still carries weight in major markets. Exposure and notices should be great: rarely, after all, has a star been so perfectly matched to a role, and the production isn't shy of playing with that (even tantalisingly holding back on the first close-up of his face).

Looking like Axl Rose (The Wrestler makes a special thanks to the Guns 'n' Roses frontman) meets, well, Mickey Rourke, Randy 'The Ram' Robinson (Rourke) was a champion professional wrestler in the 80s. Now, two decades later, he stacks shelves in a local supermarket's warehouse and makes some cash performing pantomime-like fights in local schools and gyms for wrestling fans. It soon becomes clear, however, that these aren't just money-making arrangements for the shattered ex-champ – the ring is the only place of comfort to him in a world he finds bewildering. Certainly, they don't make him enough money to pay the rent on his grim trailer, although he manages to find the cash to pay for private dances from stripper Cassidy/Pam (Tomei).

Randy, born Robin Ramzinski, a name he hates, is alone in the world and the film is intelligent enough not to foist sequences on the viewer explaining why. Every setback in life sees him look to the ring and his green spangly tights for succour; it is his addiction and his only friend. Hard of hearing and with a mangled face and frame, he subjects his body to epic batterings, not to mention performance-enhancing drugs, until he has to face the fact he needs to stop. His attempts to reconnect with the outside world are hard, though, especially with estranged daughter Stephanie (Wood).

Unlike many similar characters in the same ex-champ genre, The Ram never actively looks for the viewer's pity, and the pathos element is played down. Tomei delivers a solid performance as ageing stripper Cassidy who wants out of the game and although her earlier sequences, in particular one where she talks about The Passion of the Christ, feel abridged, the character does eventually come into its own. The humour in the sequence where she and The Ram talk about the eighties is deliciously played, and the film's score is amusingly and knowingly referential (Bruce Springsteen, of course, plays it out).

What viewers haven't seen before in this genre is the professional wrestling element and Aronofsky and his team (eight credited stunt co-ordinators) deliver just the right amount of action here. Never mocking and allowing the humour of the sport to show while also illustrating some of its brutality, these feature former real-life champions opposite Rourke, who, of course, had his own well-publicised flirtation with boxing back in the day.

Mister Tee
Laureate
Posts: 6428
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2003 2:57 pm
Location: NYC
Contact:

Postby Mister Tee » Fri Sep 05, 2008 2:22 pm

Mickey Rourke a potential best actor candidate? Boy -- did Fitzgerald have it wrong about second acts.


The Wrestler
(France-U.S.)
By TODD MCCARTHY

A Wild Bunch (France) presentation of a Protozoa Pictures (U.S.) production. (International sales: Wild Bunch, Paris.) Produced by Scott Franklin, Darren Aronofsky. Executive producers, Vincent Maraval, Agnes Mentre, Jennifer Roth. Co-producer, Mark Heyman. Directed by Darren Aronofsky. Screenplay, Robert Siegel.

Randy "the Ram" Robinson - Mickey Rourke
Cassidy/Pam - Marisa Tomei
Stephanie - Evan Rachel Wood

Talk about comebacks. After many years in the wilderness and being considered MIA professionally, Mickey Rourke, just like the washed-up character he plays, attempts a return to the big show in "The Wrestler." Not only does he pull it off, but Rourke creates a galvanizing, humorous, deeply moving portrait that instantly takes its place among the great, iconic screen performances. An elemental story simply and brilliantly told, Darren Aronofsky's fourth feature is a winner from every possible angle, although it will require deft handling by a smart distributor to overcome public preconceptions about Rourke, the subject matter and the nature of the film.

Co-produced by Wild Bunch in France, where Rourke has retained his most loyal following through thick and thin, this is nonetheless an American picture through and through, beginning with the way it strongly evokes the gritty working-class atmosphere of numerous '70s dramas. Spare but vital, and with the increasingly arty mannerisms of Aronofsky's previous work completely stripped away, the film has the clarity and simplicity of a great Hemingway short story -- there's nothing extraneous, the characters must face up to their limited options in life, and the dialogue in Robert Siegel's superior script is inflected with the poetry of the everyday.

All the same, for the first few minutes one could be excused for imagining the film was directed by Belgium's Dardenne brothers, as ace lenser Maryse Alberti's camera relentlessly follows around aging wrestler Randy "the Ram" Robinson (Rourke) from the back, concentrating on his long, dyed-blond hair and hulking body before fully revealing his mottled, puffy face. This guy is 20 years past his prime, but he's still in pretty good shape and aims to get back on top on the pro wrestling circuit.

Ram seems to have always been a big fan favorite -- he is one of their own, a fearless bruiser the white working stiffs can root for against the assorted freaks, ethnic interlopers and outright villains in this macho cartoon universe. A beguiling early scene that firmly sets the movie on its tracks shows an event's muscled participants, all warmly easygoing and chummy with one another, pairing up and discussing what moves they'll make in their matches. A similar later scene has one of the wrestlers offering Ram his choices from a laundry list of dubious-sounding pharmaceuticals.

Apart from the momentary camaraderie of his ringmates, however, Ram is alone in life. At the outset, he's also penniless, locked out of his dismal trailer home until he can pay up. He works occasionally, lugging cartons at a big-box store, and his tough-guy posture is adored by small kids, but he's got no friends and nothing to show for his strenuous efforts.

From time to time, he has a drink at a gentlemen's club, where he visits aging stripper Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), whose days of using her body for her livelihood are similarly numbered. After getting a load of some of Ram's battle scars, Cassidy, whose real name is Pam, tells him he ought to see "The Passion of the Christ." "They threw everything at him," she says, to which Ram guesses Jesus must have been a "tough dude." Ram must confront his mortality after the film's second wrestling match, a bout so gruesome and barbarous it will force some people to look away.

Assessing his options while recovering, Ram decides to gently step up his relationship with Pam, as well as to try to reconnect with his daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood), whom he hasn't seen in years. Both women have good reasons not to allow such a damaged man into their intimate lives, but even their most tentative signals of openness give Ram reason to hope for a new chapter in his life. His encounters with them are sensitively written and acted with impressive insight and delicacy, and Ram has one monologue in which he lays his feelings bare to Stephanie at a deserted old Jersey boardwalk -- "I deserve to be alone," he admits -- that is so great, one wishes it were longer.

After a stint at a deli counter that is the source of more good character humor, Ram decides to unretire and fight in a 20th-anniversary rematch of one of his most legendary bouts, "Ram vs. Ayatollah." Despite the hoopla, the way it all plays out is as far from "Rocky Balboa" as one could get, resulting in a climax that is exhilarating, funny and moving.

Shot in rough-and-ready handheld style, pic atmospherically reeks of low-rent lodgings, clubs, American Legion halls, shops and makeshift dressing rooms on the Eastern seaboard in winter (it locationed in New Jersey and Philadelphia). Stylistically, it's agile, alert and most interested in what's going on in the characters' faces.

And that is a lot. Physically imposing at 57, with a face that bespeaks untold battering and alteration, Rourke is simply staggering as Ram. The camera is rarely off him, and one doesn't want it to be, so entirely does he express the full life of this man with his every word and gesture. Ram's life has been dominated by pain in all its forms, but he's also devoted it to the one thing he loves and excels at, so he asks for no sympathy; he may have regrets, but no complaints.

As vibrant -- and as naked -- as she was in last year's "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead," Tomei is in top, emotionally forthright form as she charts a life passage similar to Ram's, if much less extreme. Once her character stops stonewalling her father and hears him out, Wood provides a fine foil for Rourke in their turbulent scenes together. The many supporting thesps, especially the wrestling world habitues, are richly amusing and salt-of-the-earth.


Return to “2008”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest