In honor of Superbowl Sunday, I thought I’d enlist my friends for some of their picks of sports-related flicks, whether current or old favorites. In addition, I also receive some DVD picks of football movies that I decided to post separately due to its length. Special thanks to Corinne and Becky for their kind generosity!
The Wrestler (2008)
by Corinne Olson
I was never a big sports fan and up until this year I could have cared less about watching football. However, Brett Favre was so fun to watch I found myself watching every Viking game this year. But when I was a wee 16 or 17 years old, my dad used to take my brother and I to the All Star Wrestling matches every once and a while. I got to see people like Jessie The Body Ventura (He was actually more obnoxious then) and Adorable Adrian Adonis, Andre the Giant, Ken Patera, Wahoo McDaniel, Verne Gagne (boring), and of course Hulk Hogan when he was young. Those were the days, hey. Boy, have things changed. So I was pretty geeked when I heard about The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke. Mickey Rourke plays this character named Randy “The Ram”.
It’s a very good inside look at the highs and very lows of Randy’s life as he is now past his prime. He was once a very popular celebrity in the wrestling world where he could sell out huge arenas such as Madison Square Garden. Now, with his health declining, and living in a trailer park, he tries to survive on his past celebrity by signing autographs and working part-time at a grocery store. There are some real brutal scenes of how some real hardcore matches are done and a really interesting scene on how easy it is to get steroid’s. There’s also the behind-the-scenes rituals that include hair-bleaching, tanning, wound mending. I always thought it was fake and they really never got hurt. That’s not true. The hyped fights between the two wrestlers is faked. But the blood is real and people get hurt. Mickey Rourke does such a brilliant job playing Randy that I truly felt like a fly on the wall watching this poor guys life struggle. It seemed very personal, Like, I shouldn’t be watching this. But of course I couldn’t stop.
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
by Becky ‘Prairiegirl’ Kurk
Overview from Netflix: Quarterback Joe Pendleton (Warren Beatty) is nearly killed in an accident when an overanxious angel takes his soul before its time. Reincarnated as a millionaire whose wife (Dyan Cannon) and secretary (Charles Grodin) have plotted his murder, Joe falls in love with environmentalist Betty Logan (Julie Christie) while leading his old football team back to the Super Bowl. This Oscar-nominated romantic fantasy marks Beatty’s directorial debut.
That being said, this is not a very deep movie–it is a pure fantasy comedy–but the film has great comedic energy, and also manages to touch the heart with its message. It is s a beautiful story wonderfully told. It keeps you smiling throughout, and laughing out loud in a good number of places. Warren Beatty’s subtle portrayal of the uncomplicated and naive Joe Pendleton is spot on. Dyan Cannon and Charles Grodin as the plotting wife and personal secretary are hysterically funny.
The plot sounds strange–and it is–but the script is well-written, the characters are believable and Warren Beatty, as the star of the movie, is in his prime. Football is the big underlying theme, but is not the main focus of the movie. From beginning to end, this was a fun film. The guys will like the football metaphor and the gals will like the romance. Amazingly, it had nine Oscar nominations (including Best Picture) and one win (Best Art Direction). A football fairy tale, and a classic, it stands up well to the test of time. The perfect movie to celebrate the Super Bowl with–see it!