by Craig Higham - September 26, 2013
The above is a preview of a new movie, ‘Pro-wrestlers vs. Zombies’. If you are like me and are a fan of B (or even C, D etc.) grade horror movies and wrestling based movies, then this movie was made just for us.
I Have been a fan of the B grade horror genre of movies from wayback (I will be showing my age here), enjoying classics like ‘Attack of The Killer Tomatoes’, the original ‘Toxic Avenger’, ‘Chopping mall’, ‘Tremors’, ‘Cube’ right up to this years ‘Sharknado’. One of the stars of Pro-wrestlers vs. Zombies, and wrestling legend Rowdy Roddy Piper, even has a history of producing some great B grade Horror Movies with (I feel) his 2 standouts ‘They Live’ and ‘Hell comes to Frogtown’
But while there is a great list of B grade Horror, Pro-wrestlers vs. Zombies has got me thinking what have been some of the best (and worst) wrestling movies I have seen?
This list is not going to have movies such as Adam Sadler ‘Longest Yard’ or ‘MacGruber’ which has many well-known wrestlers co- staring in them, nor movies like ‘See No Evil’ (Kane), 12 Rounds (John Cena), or ‘Warrior (Kurt Angle)’ which has a well-known wrestler as one of its major actors. This is a list of the most memorable movies (whether good or bad) that has professional wrestling as its theme.
Nor is this list going to include those wrestling autobiographies such as ‘Edge Decade of Decadence’, ‘Mick Foley’s Greatest Hits and Misses’ ‘WWE Monday Night Wars’ or ‘The Shawn Michaels story, Heartbreak and Triumph’. I am focussing on movies where one of the major themes of the movie is the world of professional wrestling.
So here is my top 5 movies that has the professional wrestling industry as its background
We will start with what I feel is the best movie based on the world of professional wrestling. Mickey Rourke’s ‘The Wrestler’ was released into cinemas in 2008 and also starred Marisa Tomei and Evan Rachel Wood. Essentially the movie is about a former well known wrestler, Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson, coming to the end of his career. We meet Randy wrestling small house shows, trying to reconnect with his daughter and coming to terms with what a career in wrestling has done to his body.
The movie shows the unglamorous world of professional wrestling away from the big companies, big money and thousands of fans.
A great performance by Mickey Rourke, who had me thinking of legends such as Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts, and how life after big time professional wrestling doesn’t always work out for those wrestlers. A movie that has a high place in my extensive collection, and a movie every wrestling fan should see.
On its release ‘Beyond The Mat’ the mat was quoted in saying it was the documentary Vince McMahon wanted banned. If The Wrestler showed you the life of a wrestler on the small independent circuits, ‘Beyond The Mat’ showed us that even in the large professional wrestling companies, things are not always perfect.
Directed by Barry W. Blaustein, and released in late 1999, the documentary follows Mick Foley (Mankind) and the extra risks he is taking in the ring, Terry Funk on close to retirement and what it means, and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts and his battles with addictions. We see how their careers as wrestlers has impacted on the other important people in their lives. The scene showing Mick Foley’s kids reaction to The Rock hitting their dad 11 times with a chair shows that to some wrestling is not fake at all.
If you ever have a friend who keeps having a go at you about wrestling being fake then sit them down and make them watch this movie (and then give them my book to read!)
We move from a documentary to a mockumentary and the move ‘Grunt The Wrestling Movie’.
“Mockumentary (also known as mock documentary) is a genre of film and television in which fictitious events are presented in documentary…”
Released in 1985, the movie follows a documentary film maker Lesley Uggams ( actor Jeff Dial), as he follows the debut of a new wrestler The Mask, who many think is the return of Mad Dog Joe DeCurso (Greg ‘Magic’ Schwarz) who left wrestling after accidently decapitating another wrestler. This movie was trying to repeat the success of the mockumentary ‘This is Spinal Tap’ in 1984 which it did not do, but is on par with my other favourite mockumentary Australia’s Kenny.
I finally found this movie on DVD earlier on this year, but don’t let the $5 price tag affect your decision in watching some great 80’s style wrestling action.
A movie about wrestling, and starring Jack Black, I thought ‘Nacho Libre’,(released in 2006), was going to be one of my all-time favourite movies, unfortunately after watching I was left very disappointed.
Jack Black stars as Nacho a monk who follows his dream and dons a mask to moonlight as a Luchador (Mexican wrestler). The problem I felt with the movie is that it didn’t know whether it wanted to be a comedy or drama, and ended up falling flat on both. It was slow, and hard to stay in the movie, and not one I would recommend.
Ready to Rumble starring David Arquette, Oliver Platt, Scott Cann and a host of WCW stars was released in 2000 amongst the highly entertaining Monday night wars. I will refuse to discuss David Arquetts’s wrestling career that occurred after the movie release and talk more about the actual movie.
Two slackers embark on a journey to get their favourite wrestler Jimmy King (Oliver Platt) – why the couldn’t use an actually wrestler is beyond me – , back onto WCW and to win back the title he was screwed out of. A light hearted comedy, which doesn’t take itself too seriously, but I would prefer to use youtube to go and revisit the stars of WCW.
Let me know your favourite or worse wrestling movie or one movie I should have included on my list.
Hooroo and see you next week.
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Or get my book (which I discuss more in-depth about wrestling and the movies) at all good online bookstores (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books a Million or Powell’s Books)
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