I went to see The Wrestler recently despite knowing nothing about that noble art, thinking that Mickey Rourke has never been in a good film and that Requiem for a Dream (by the same director, Darren Aronofsky) is one of the top three worst movies ever—the type of shit I would have found profound as a fourteen-year-old and then felt vaguely embarrassed about later. The Wrestler is excellent though; the plot is prefab and may as well be from Karate Kid VII but Rourke and Marisa Tomei are terrific, the wrestling scenes are exciting, punishing and funny, and there’s a surplus of weird, niggling detail.
I’ve fucked up and been totally unable to find what I really wanted to post here tonight though, video footage of something a friend informed me of as we left and which is a perfect confluence of Christmas number one single and Oscar-bait film. I’ll let Wikipedia tell it, with added emphasis by me on the bit that sounds so amazing: “Extreme Championship Wrestling was infamous for regularly holding "Bring Your Own Weapon Nights" at the ECW Arena in the early days of the promotion. Fans were encouraged to bring their own weapons to give to wrestlers, as fighting in the crowd was a staple of ECW matches. A dollar store located next to the ECW Arena often supplied the bulk of the weapons, with fans purchasing them while they waited in line for each show. Memorable weapons included crutches, a large piece of cardboard with the words "Use Me!" handwritten on it but actually concealing a full-sized Stop sign, a two-man kayak, a Leonard Cohen vinyl record, a VCR (with remote), a cactus, a cast iron ladder, and a Nintendo Entertainment System.”
I refuse to believe that I can’t watch a man getting beaten with a Leonard Cohen LP somewhere on the internet coz, really, what the fuck was the internet even developed for if not that?
The Wrestler also marks the flipping point where even in mainstream mags and papers “that pussy Cobain” (as Rourke’s character Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson dubs him) and grunge are going to start to be called out as whiney and not-fun, and hair metal seen as old-is-new-again party food like the rest of the 80s. Look for articles on the subject in the next six months.
Hair metal still sucks though. Except “Cherry Pie” by Warrant.