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The Wrestler

Darren Aronofsky's 2008 dramatic film about a down and out professional wrestler.

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Rooting for "The Ram" Or the Return of Rourke

  • Apr 22, 2009
When I was a little kid, I used to stay up late on Saturday nights with my Dad to watch WWF matches. Those were the days of Hulk Hogan, Roddy "Rowdy" Piper, Iron Shiek, Andre the Giant, Capt. Lou Albano, Jake "the Snake" Roberts, Randy "The Macho Man" Savage, Hillbilly Jim, Junkyard Dog, and Sgt. Slaughter. My grandfather told me that the wrestling we watched was all fake, but it didn't look fake to me. I was enthralled by the matches, the battles, and the spectacle of it all. It was thoroughly entertaining. However, my Grandpa was right. Most of it was fake. The majority of those matches were staged and the winners and losers were decided long ahead of time. I've long since outgrown watching "professional" wrestling, but those old stars of the WWF hold a special place for me and will hold my interest.

Enter THE WRESTLER, the latest film from the director wiz-kid who is a master of cinematography, Darren Aronofsky. Aronofsky became a star with the movie PI and cemented his place on the echelon of top directors with his follow up feature, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. For a casual film watcher, those movies are difficult to follow and at times even difficult to watch. However, the cinematography of those pictures is amazing and both those movies ask huge questions about life and its meaning. Aronofsky's last movie, THE FOUNTAIN, was a bit more flashy, but was also full of philosophy. Illustrating that he really is a director with a lot of talent, THE WRESTLER is a movie that is completely different from anything Aronofsky has directed so far.

Shot mostly on hand-held cameras, THE WRESTLER follows Randy "The Ram" Robinson (Mickey Rourke). Molded after the wrestlers I passionately followed in my childhood, Randy used to be the top of his field. In the 1980s Randy was a hugely popular "professional" wrestler. He was so popular that there was an action figure of him and he was a popular character on a hot-selling video game. Randy had to have made a lot of money during his career, but the movie never explains what happened to his fortune. Instead, when we meet Randy he's still wrestling when he can, but he lives in a rented trailer that he often pays for late and is works part-time in the loading docks of a grocery store to make ends meet. He spends most of his evenings at strip clubs and at one in particular he has a favorite girl, Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) that he finds himself developing feelings for. One night after a particularly physical grueling match, Randy looses conscience in the dressing room and when he awakes he finds himself in a hospital. It turns out that Randy has had a heart attack. The doctors say he will recover, but tell him he can't wrestle again. His heart attack leads Randy to do some soul searching. He attempts to let Cassidy know how he feels and reaches out to his college-aged daughter, Stephanie (Evan Rachel Wood). Randy really is a likeable guy who, like many people, makes mistakes and ends up hurting those he loves. He knows the wrestling and the life of the ring, but outside of that he is lost. He really does make an effort of changing, but the odds are still against him.

I really enjoyed THE WRESTLER. Mickey Rourke gives the acting performance of 2008 (even though he didn't win the Oscar) and is unbelievable. Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood also give some excellent supporting performances. THE WRESTLER is not a movie everyone will enjoy. It's a very good movie, but it's also very dark, brutal, and at times violent. There were times that a few tears came to my eyes while watching THE WRESTLER and there were other times that I was cringing in my seat and trying not to look at what was happening on the screen. Still, everything that happens in the film is so compelling that I couldn't look away and at the end found myself on the edge of my seat hoping that somehow through it all, "The Ram" would survive.

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More The Wrestler (2008 film) reviews
review by . August 27, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I gotta find some of Randy's old matches on Collisum Video
One of thing things I learned after following pro wrestling a few years back is what happened to those names I used to hear about all the time like Jake Roberts and Lex Luger.  I never heard about them dying considering what big names they are, and then I learned a bitter truth.  Those big names and they're big lifestyles came crashing down.  Jake Roberts and Lex Luger were the inspirations for the character of Randy "The Ram" Robinson who is the focus of The Wrestler.   …
review by . February 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****      Well, this is rather surprising; Darren Aronofsky directing a sports flick. How about that? So how well does this little stunt pull off? Well, I'll tell you, and believe me; you're going to be surprising. As it turns out, Aronofsky's "The Wrestler" is no stunt at all, but that's not to say that it's the kind of film that you'd expect out of the guy either. Mr. Aronofsky's follow-up to his ambitious, flawed, but indefinitely artsy "The Fountain" proves to …
review by . July 04, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      THE WRESTLER      There have been films made before about wrestling and by wrestling I mean pro wrestling, but none like this. This film is the portrait of a man who is coming to terms with his own mortality, literally and also for his craft. There have been many things said about this movie but there seems to be one constant, and that is Mickey Rourke's masterful performance. For those who have not seen this I can tell you right now that he was …
Quick Tip by . August 27, 2011
Washed up 80's wrestling superstar copes with his rockstar days long gone and living day to day in a very non glamorous life. Runs the rollercoaster of touching, hard, fun and sad.
review by . July 15, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Yin and Yang
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 …
Quick Tip by . July 14, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Mickey gives the kind of performance that we all knew he still had in him. Marisa Tomei was equally amazing.
Quick Tip by . July 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Powerful movie that depicts the side of wrestling and sports that we may not think about, getting older and dealing with trying to continue doing something you love.
review by . February 01, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
movie poster
Stories that delved into the inner human spirit and tales about redemption have been beloved by critics since anyone can remember. Small wonder, since films that exhibit pure humanity can undoubtedly touch the hearts of audiences--it is a premise that is both fascinating and quite easy to relate to. Inspired by the documentary "Beyond the Mat", director Darren Aronofsky's "The WRESTLER" is a film with a lot of things to say, and may well be Mickey Rourke's best performance; this role may indeed …
review by . December 28, 2009
This movie was a huge and pleasant surprise for me.  I thought it would be more about the wrestling sport/soapstory.  Instead we get a compelling tale of a man that was so into the wrestling game that he ignored the rest of his life.  Mickey Rourke plays a wrestler nicknamed The Ram, who can no longer persue wrestling so he soon realizes that his "real" life is total misery and he really has nothing outside of wrestling.        Ram tries to rekindle …
review by . December 08, 2009
A Gripping Look into the Lifestyle of Professional Wrestling, but a Little Over Hyped...
Growing up a wrestling fan and knowing the business inside and out, The Wrestler hit home in a lot of ways.  I wasn't just a wrestling fan, I used to idolize these guys and perhaps one day, be one of them.  As I got older and was able to differentiate what was real and what was fake, I felt I was able to connect even more with them and what they go through because of all the inner politics that go on in the industry.  The minute the film started, I was blown away at just how well …
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About this movie


Robin Ramzinski, ring name Randy "The Ram" Robinson, (Mickey Rourke) is a professional wrestler who was a major star in the 1980s but is now years past his prime and wrestling on the weekends for various independent wrestling promotions in the Elizabeth, New Jersey area. After a show, a promoter proposes a 20th anniversary rematch with his most notable opponent, the Ayatollah (Ernest Miller), who now owns a used car dealership in Arizona. Their first match together sold out Madison Square Garden, and Randy agrees to the rematch, wishfully thinking this high-profile match could help him get back to the top.
  • Mickey Rourke as Randy "The Ram" Robinson/Robin Ramzinski
  • Marisa Tomei as Cassidy / Pam
  • Evan Rachel Wood as Stephanie Ramzinski
  • Todd Barry as Wayne
  • Ernest Miller as Bob / "The Ayatollah"

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 ...
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Director: Darren Aronofsky
Genre: Drama, Romance, Sport
Release Date: December 18, 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Robert D. Siegel
DVD Release Date: April 21, 2009
Runtime: 109 minutes
Studio: Wild Bunch, Fox Searchlight Pictures, Protozoa Pictures
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