WARNING: This review contains spoilers!
There are certain fundamental aspects of American culture in the 1980s that I found to be, for lack of a better word, repugnant. The crassness of commercialism was everywhere, politics went straight to hell as Reaganites celebrated American Right-wing supremacy, music fans suffered through the pangs of the glam rock movement and the superficiality and the hedonistic excesses that it embraced, and the yuppies on Wall Street were idealized as models of success. Yet from this era of extremities (how much coke can we snort and how many babes can we lay?) and contradictions (who knew that stock brokers listened to anti-capitalist punk rock?) came a newfound understanding of our society on a whole. Sure, sex, drugs, rock and roll, money, fame, and all that goes with it, were parts of that collective understanding. The fact is that America had become shallow and we sought sanctuary in escapist fantasies, whether that fantasy was the glamour of the celebrity lifestyle, the exaggerated masculinity of the action movie star, the materialistic euphoria of the shopping mall, the taboo sexual allure of the strip clubs, or the violent spectacle of professional wrestling. Were the ‘80s a simpler, more innocent time? Hell, no. We, as a country, were just a simpler, more naïve, more immature culture. As it seemed that the nuclear clock was counting down to an imminent war between the U.S. and Russia, many citizens retreated into an unabashed self-indulgence. If you’re going to die, then you might as well live life to the fullest, right? The ‘80s were all about decadence, self-destruction, and the self-enforced delusion that life was just on never-ending party. All in all, the ‘80s weren’t exactly a time of meditation or introspection… or were they?
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Also appearing in the film are actual professional wrestlers: Blue Meanie, Johnny Valiant, Ref Hanson, Tommy Rotten, Andrew Anderson, Brolly, Danny Inferno, Necro Butcher, Mike "RAGE" Miller, Paul E. Normus (who died in early 2009), Nick Berk, DJ Hyde, Havoc, Johnny Mangus, Billy Dream, Eric Cobian, Sabian, Nate Hatred, Sugga, L.A. Smooth, Whacks, Devon Moore, The Funky Samoans, Jay Lethal, Jim Powers, Kid USA (as Randy's stunt double), Ron Killings, Claudio Castagnoli, Romeo Roselli, John Zandig, Chuck Taylor and Nigel McGuinness.The Wrestler is a 2008 drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Robert D. Siegel, and starring ...