Eric Nelson offers worthless opinion of “The Wrestler”

Hey brother, thanks for helping me get more over than Manu.

"Hey brother, thanks for helping me get more over than Manu."

(This is a formal movie review; sometime in the next week I plan to pen a more wrestling-centric write-up with a lot more “Whoa, they showed that?” and “Why the hell was Capt. Lou Albino in the shot?” type of stuff.)

MICK-EY-ROURKE! MICK-EY-ROURKE!

Only a year and a half removed from thickly muscled professional wrestler Chris Benoit murdering his wife and young son before hanging himself in his home gym, and with the U.S. Congress currently breathing down the neck of the entertaining sport with accusations of steroid use in hand, tumult surrounds the strategic release date (think Oscar consideration, and rightfully so) for “The Wrestler”. But the turmoil surrounding and brewing within Mickey Rourke’s aging, addictive but gentle character makes far better drama than any angle or storyline professional wrestling’s script writers have conjured up since Hulkamania ran wild or Steve Austin nailed Vince McMahon with a “Stone Cold Stunner.”

Rourke’s character, Randy “The Ram” Robinson, once stood atop the professional wrestling world, headlining sold-out shows at “The Garden,” winning various “Wrestler of the Year” accolades and even being immortalized in action figure form. But that was the mid-1980s; fast-forward to the present day, and Robinson finds himself scrounging for rent for his mobile home, slinging potato salad at a grocery store deli counter and stepping through the ropes at the occasional weekend wrestling show in front of a few dozen nostalgic fans. And “The Ram’s” time on the road comes back to haunt in him: Years of chugging beer and cavorting with strippers prove to be hard habits to break, the money he does earn goes into his bloodstream in steroid form before it goes toward his bills, and the connection with his daughter that once was lost is now severed, possibly beyond repair.

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