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I saw this film at the AFI Festival back in November. It was actually a pretty cool experience- I’ve been to AFI galas before, but this one was at the Chinese theater in Hollywood and I had to walk the red carpet on my way in. It was a lot of fun that night, plus I saw the movie over a month before it was released in theaters.

The Wrestler with Micky Rourke

Mickey Rourke plays Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a professional wrestler whose glory days are far behind him. He spends his weekends as a local legend- the last act of the night at small time gigs and doing signing appearances that attract few. On the weekdays he works in the warehouse of Acme and frequents the local strip joint. After a health scare, the doctors tell him he needs to quit wrestling, causing him to take a good look at his life outside of the ring. He pursues a relationship with Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), an older stripper at the club, and upon her advice seeks out his estranged daughter (Evan Rachel Wood). I wonder if I had seen this film amongst all of the other nominees this year if things would have been different, but the fact is that I loved this film so much that it set my standards for the year, a standard that no other film I’ve seen since has met. Mickey Rourke fully embodies The Ram and Aronofsky captures every moment be it glorious, gritty, embarrassing, or desperate. A lot of the film literally follows The Ram from behind, tracking his every movement from behind Rourke’s head- it’s so real and introspective that I felt as though I was watching a documentary of this man’s fall from fame.

Nominations:

Best Actor – Mickey Rourke
I have no doubt in my mind that Rourke deserves this Oscar more than anyone else this year. Yes, Langella is astounding as Nixon and Penn does a fantastic job as Milk, but I’ve never felt so engrossed in a character than Rourke’s Randy the Ram.

Best Supporting Actress – Marisa Tomei
She’s great in this role- I’d say it’s one of her best performances, but her competition here is very steep. And let’s face it, this is really Mickey’s film.

Snubbed?
I could talk a lot here about how it got snubbed for a ton of awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Song), but instead I’ll just implore everyone to see it and form your own opinions, since mine appears to be in the minority. This was my favorite film of the year and that’s enough for me.

*****

I saw Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler at the AFI Film Festival a couple weeks ago. It is gripping, powerful, and at times hard to watch. Check out this all new trailer for the film, and if you get a chance, I’d highly recommend seeing it!