Saturday, March 12, 2011

'Win Win' takes high school wrestling to the big screen!!!

Finally, a new high school wrestling movie. As much as I love the classic 80's wrestling film Vision Quest, I must admit I've gotten tired of watching the same old-same old. You know, it's sad when you can recite a movie word for word: "Shute?! Shute's a monster! A genuine geratoid! His own father has to use a livewire to keep him from fuckin' the fireplace!"

I'll run out of fingers trying to count the number of football and basketball movies that have come out in recent years. High school wrestling can't seem to get a break in mainstrem cinema. The last major wrestling film to hit the big screen, wrestling cult classic Vision Quest, hit theaters back in 1985. But Tom McCarthy's Win Win should break the looks to break the dry season.

In recent years amateur wrestling (folkstyle, freestyle, and Greco-Roman) has enjoyed a slight increase in popularity, following the burgeoning success of mixed martial arts. The success of amateur wrestlers-turned-mixed martial artists like Randy Couture, Dan Henderson, and Jon Fitch has placed wrestling under the spotlight. Naturally, mainstream cinema would eventually catch on, and some unemployed guy with nothing else to do would have enough balls to write and direct a movie about wrestling. Enter Tom McCarthy, writer and director of Win Win, about a "disheartened attorney Mike Flaherty (Giamatti), who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach, stumbles across a star athlete through some questionable business dealings while trying to support his family. Just as it looks like he will get a double payday, the boy's mother shows up fresh from rehab and flat broke, threatening to derail everything" (written by Fox Searchlight Pictures).

Thomas McCarthy knows wrestling. He was once a high school wrestler himself, and although he insists that he still looks good in a wrestling singlette, we probably won't see Thomas hitting the mats these days. Instead, his love for the sport has manifested itself in the form of a wresling comedy. The comedic angle is somewhat of a stretch from Vision Quest, but as McCarthy pointed out in a recent NPR interview, "this is a Main Street story as opposed to a Wall Street story."

Anyway, instead of me boring you with some Roger Ebert-type analysis, watch this Win Win trailer:

Also, check out this interesting interview with Thomas McCarthy on NPR's All Things Considered.

The star athlete of the film, a real high school wrestler named Alex Shaffer, went on to win a New Jersey High School Wrestling championship at 119 lbs. in 2010. True story!

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