The Wrestler

This is a wonderful film. It's the first movie in over a year that inspired me to actually visit a movie theatre. See, I just don't like going to the movies like I used to. For one, people are generally talkative during movies. And then you have have the seat kickers, and the slobs chowing down on a bucket of popcorn. I remember a time when people were respectful and tuned into the screen. Then again, I also remember a time when people wouldn't talk on cell phones on buses. Those days are long gone.

I was actually getting mildly tired of hearing about Mickey Rourke's fantastic performance. That is, until the film started. Rourke's character, Randy "The Ram" Robinson, is a throwback to the 80s; a guy who still blasts Skid Row and Quiet Riot while pumping his fist. A guy whose love of 80s rock n' roll is mirrored by a career and life that is also stuck in that decade. The Ram was a superstar wrestler in the 80s, and despite a body that's broken down, he simply can't break from that life. To watch Rourke play this character is precisely why films can still touch us. He is a far deeper character than our general perception of a meathead wrestler. He has regrets, pain, passion, humility and a genuine tenderness not often seen on screen.

I hadn't been this excited about a film in a few years. And Aronofsky, Rourke, Tomei and the rest of the cast and crew delivered one of the best films in years. For some reason, Rourke's performance kept bringing me back to Nick Cage's brilliant role in Leaving Las Vegas. They are different men with their fare share of demons and mistakes, but there's something genuine and real about them; something that is not seen and explored in enough films today. Or maybe I was thinking of Timothy Hutton in Ordinary People. I guess I was just recalling those characters on film who are so developed that we think we know them. Today I was lucky enough to see a character in full form, wide open for the viewer to see. It was $9 I couldn't have spent better.

Oh, and the guy behind me only kicked my chair a few times. They were fairly light taps.