Back to the subject at hand, though. I recently watched The Wrestler starring Mickey Rourke. First off, the movie itself is good. It wasn't the great piece of American Cinema that I was expecting to see, but as a whole the entire thing was a well-made and well-told story that had me invested for its one hour and forty-five minute run. Part of that reason was the always gripping Rourke, who delivers a knockout punch from start to finish. (That sounded a little like Pete Hammond, formerly of Maxim but oh well.) Rourke, in a case of life imitating art, portrays the character of an over the hill wrestler named "The Ram."
Thus, on with the review, right? Not today, my friends. I decided that this wouldn't be so much a review per se, but more of a look at the meaning of the movie and Rourke's character. Basically, "The Ram" was once the greatest show stopper in wrestling entertainment history, ala The Rock or Hulk Hogan. Now, well past his prime, "The Ram" is wrestling at local gymnasiums put on event organizers that are just looking to make a measly buck. He does not necessarily wrestle for the money, which pays very little, but instead wrestling because its the one thing in life he's good at and takes pride in.
This is exactly what draws me to his character. It is also a running theme for another main character in the movie, played by Marisa Tomei. Rourke's character is holding onto the one main thing that is true in his life, which in this case is pro wrestling. So often in life people lose sight of that one thing that makes them happy. They lose track of the one thing in life they completely fell in love with. The movie is simply an examination of doing that one thing you love and living in that world. Sure, maybe he could let go and try to better himself, but is it really worth it if he, or anyone for that matter, doesn't know how to do anything else?
Of course, "The Ram" is tested and has to find this out for himself. He makes very little money, but the end result is that he is doing what he loves. He continues to pursue this one thing in life because the end result may end in his misery, but at the same time it's the only thing he has ever known. He has tried to live the mainstream life, as society puts it, but nothing seems to work. Through all the ups and downs of a man's life, he still has this constant. In "The Ram's" case, this is wrestling and putting on a show for his adoring fans.
Which brings me to the question/statement: At some point in a person's life, they let go completely and fall onto the beaten path, but is it worth it staying in society's norm if you're just as miserable as you would be pursuing your dream? People have all sorts of maps planned out for their life. Some people choose to go the route of college, marriage, job, kids, retirement. That's good for them. Others feel forced into, giving up on dreams, goals, and pursuing that one thing they've always wanted to do. Sometimes, others don't give up on that dream, whether it be actor, writer, doctor, athlete, president, drifter, or pro wrestler. Society can often be unkind towards these people, especially if has taken longer than expected to arrive at said destination.
In the end, though, these people are pursuing what they love. Okay, maybe not drifter, but there are people out there that had a dream to travel and that's exactly what some are doing. Maybe in this case "The Ram" was at the top once upon a time and has fallen from grace, but the point is his he is still enjoying it. He remembers what it was like at the top. Maybe he won't get there ever again, but in the end, wrestling and performing makes him feel like the king of the world. Which, after this movie, Mickey Rourke will once again be.
P.S. For you wrestling fans reading, there is a hell of a hard core match between Rourke and another wrestler. It's a good ten minute scene in which the wrestlers beat the crap out of each other. Enjoy.