Sunday, June 12, 2016


Welcome to another installment of the TRASH BIN, where we watch the worst movies Hollywood has to offer, so you don't have to. This week's pick is the 2000 wrestling comedy, READY TO RUMBLE.

Howdy fellow film freaks, Robert here. Have you ever been a devoted fan of something? I mean to the point where it was all you talked about? I have, and it's disappointing to me that in this age of unchecked geekery, when the nerd reigns supreme, that there aren't more movies paying tribute to that. Thankfully there's Ready to Rumble, a buddy road comedy that satirizes, and at the same time shows big love for that special kind of geek, and for the world of professional wrestling and its most devoted fans. Sean (Scott Caan) and Gordie (David Arquette) are hardcore wrestling fanatics of the first order, and as the film opens they are preparing for that night's WCW event and its headline matchup between Diamond Dallas Page, in one of a great many appearances by real-world wrestlers in this film, and their hero Jimmy King (Oliver Platt). At the event, tragedy strikes as King is betrayed by WCW head Titus Sinclair (Joe Pantoliano), who is tired of King's prima donna behavior. He allows King's match with DDP to turn into an all-out brawl. King is beaten to a pulp, and Sinclair declares King banned for life from professional wrestling. Horrified and angered by this treachery, Sean and Gordie decide to find King and help him regain his lost glory.

Ready to Rumble has a 23 on Metacritic and a 23% Rotten rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and I don't understand why. In the wake of 1998's There's Something About Mary, comedy seems to have gone to a very cynical place, with comedic movies appearing to start from the assumption that the audience is intoxicated, stupid, juvenile or any combination of the three. So I was actually surprised by how funny and strangely genuine Ready to Rumble is. Writer Steven Brill (who also gave us Disney's The Mighty Ducks trilogy) seems to understand what it's like to have that one thing that you think is just the Best Thing Ever, and Scott Caan and David Arquette make great devoted geeks on a mission.

There is, unfortunately, some gross-out humor, but the movie gets the worst of it out of the way early in a gag invovling a scheme to get a free slushie refill. And the acting lacks in places, particularly in a scene with wrestler Goldberg occuring about halfway in. But there's also a lot here I could relate to. Yes, I have to think back to the days when I was six years old and never missing an episode of The Transformers, but I can relate to having a daydream about helping your hero win the day. I can relate to putting off everyone around me by talking incessantly about my obsession. If you remember the days when being a geek made you an outcast, instead of a target demographic at *way* too many retailers, then Ready to Rumble may just have meaning for you too.

Though Ready to Rumble is not technically a "Sports Movie", since it's about pro wrestling, it's a satire, and its story is about the fans as much as it about the thing they love, in some ways it is the last of the Old School of sports movies. It's certainly the most recent such movie in my memory that uses the well-traveled trope of the has-been former hero battling back to regain his glory, but manages to do it without the bleak emotional onslaught that's become so common. Ready to Rumble is the movie to watch if you like The Wrestler, but want something lighter. It's the movie to watch if you wished Southpaw's Billy Hope had been worth cheering for.

If you're not a fan of pro wrestling, see this movie anyway, if only to enjoy a comedy that still remembers how to be funny and features some memorable performances besides, with David Arquette and Oliver Platt both turning in the performances that define them for me to this day. If you are a fan of pro wrestling, you'll get a kick out of spotting all the cameos, though newer fans (such as those who don't remember the WWE as anything else) might not catch many. The wrestling cameos are old school, with all the faces appearing in this movie having ended their runs ten to fifteen years ago. Even legendary announcer Mean Gene Okerlund puts in an appearance, and gets an exchange with Oliver Platt's Jimmy King that makes me laugh every time. Ready to Rumble speaks to my inner geek like few movies do; if you're the kind of geek that isn't afraid to like stuff, even if no one else around you does, this is the movie for you.

Ready to Rumble is rated PG-13 for language, crude humor, sexual content including brief nudity, and wrestling violence.

Robert's Rating: 8/10

Make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment