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Overall Rating
4.09

Awesome39.53%
Worth A Look: 30.23%
Average: 30.23%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 0%

5 reviews, 13 user ratings


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Beyond the Mat
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by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Best pro wrestling movie ever"
4 stars

Long before becoming the terror of dance floors everywhere, The Ultimate Dancing Machine, yours truly, was a fanatic about professional wrestling. Yeah, I always knew it was fake, and had a pretty good idea how they pulled off all these stunts without getting injured/maimed/killed--I didn't care. (I knew The Blair Witch Project was fake, too; it still freaked me out.) This behind-the-scenes documentary about the pro wrestling scene was for me basically a visit to old friends--and it was still a revelation.

The man behind the camera is Barry Blaustein, a screenwriter who was responsible for a handful of Eddie Murphy movies I didn't bother to see. There's a bit too much Blaustein here for my taste. He burdens the movie with an ill-advised framing sequence, and his too-earnest narration is a source of constant, if admittedly mild, irritation from one end of the movie to the other. Fortunately, the movie is pretty damn interesting whenever he just allows the wrestlers to speak for themselves.

Here we have 50+ year old Terry Funk, whose psycho cowboy act proves to be quite far removed from the pious family man he is in "real life." Funk, whose knees are so bad his own doctor can't figure out how he's able to walk, risks permanent injury while he decides whether he wants to retire. Then there's Jake Roberts, a substance abuser and deeply troubled man who freely confesses that he hates himself. Watching Roberts' life practically fall apart on camera, as a reunion with his estranged daughter goes bad, is pretty painful. There are some other notable vignettes as well: the wrestler who talks about his interest in Shakespeare (while bleeding profusely from his forehead); the rookie who hopes to cash in on his ability to vomit at will; another interviewee who talks about his four "justifiable homicides"; and others.

Truth is stranger than fiction. Pro wrestling is stranger than either. This isn't a masterpiece of filmmaking, but it's an interesting look at an interesting subject.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=3482&reviewer=223
originally posted: 10/29/00 11:01:12
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User Comments

5/30/11 RLan Extremely well done. I can't believe that Jake Roberts is still alive! 5 stars
10/30/05 K. Sear Some stron moments but overall nothing special. 3 stars
5/20/05 dwarzel Entertaining and thought-provoking insider stuff. 5 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams as a WWE fan, this shows the REALITY of wrestling 5 stars
4/06/04 Ken Stryker feel sorry for jake roberts daugther 5 stars
1/21/02 Dan This film does a great job of giving this sport, and yes it is a sport, some respect. 5 stars
10/02/01 Phoenix An excellent documentary. 5 stars
10/06/00 Wannabe Deep shit. Entertaining and disturbing. Roger and me eat your hear out. (somewhat) 5 stars
9/18/00 The Bomb 69 hate wrestling but this movie was great, Jake the Snake is a crack whore!!! 5 stars
9/07/00 The REAL Game 3:16 * * * * (out of * * * *) Brilliant; Incredible Wrestling Documentary is 2000's best movie. 5 stars
9/04/00 The Extreaminizer Piercing, steel-shattering wrestling documentary is the best movie of 2000. 5 stars
7/20/00 Klute. Not the quintessential be all end all wrestling story, but a damn good one regardless. 4 stars
7/14/00 AF RANGER Fucking Excellent, These Guys Are More Real Than 99% Of Athletes Out There... 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  22-Oct-1999 (R)
  DVD: 23-Mar-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  10-Aug-2000




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