Beyond the Mat1999
At first, this behind-the-scenes documentary about professional wrestling seems as if it will be an unabashed fan's whitewash of the increasingly bizarre and popular world of "sports entertainment," as it is known. But director Barry Blaustein (a Saturday Night Live veteran who has cowritten many of Eddie Murphy's films) goes much deeper than you'd expect in a film that is at once entertaining and disturbing. By focusing on a trio of wrestlers who give him surprising access, Blaustein uncovers human stories that can be wrenching in their stark honesty. That's particularly true of one-time superstar Jake "the Snake" Roberts, whose career has fallen on hard times because of a crack habit; Roberts brings Blaustein along for his first encounter in several years with his grown, estranged daughter. Blaustein also goes into the lives of Terry Funk and Mick "Mankind" Foley in ways that are both revealing and, at times, upsetting. More than just a fan's appreciation, this is that rare documentary that shows you sides of a familiar subject you never knew existed. --Marshall Fine
Tonight, we have a chance to say, 'Yeah, you're right. We're too extreme. We're too wild. We're too out of control. We're too full of our own shit.' Or we have a chance to say, 'Hey, f*** you, you're wrong! F*** you, we're right!' Because you have all made it to the dance. 'Cause believe me, this is the dance!