When you think of David Arquette, you probably think of the lovable goofball from the Scream movies. I can say this with confidence because that’s what most people think of him as after he was typecast as that after the Scream movies.
“I’m just tired of being the joke” he says, while atop his horse scooter wearing a purple cape while vaping. Arquette feels, all at once, the loveable goofball you’re already thinking of and a slightly lost soul who just wants a little respect. Introduced to the world of wrestling by way of the 2000 film Ready to Rumble, he found a community that seemed perfectly suited for him. A sport, a theatrical sport, that appealed to his goofball nature.
But after a disastrous entry to the sport, in which he won the WCW World Championship to promote his movie, he lost the respect that he so desperately needed. 18 years later, his career never having reached the heights it could have, and maybe should have, he decides to try to reclaim that respect.
This is a good movie, people.
Directors David Darg and Price James have crafted a sweet, silly, and incredibly entertaining documentary about Arquette’s quest to re-enter the world of wrestling. He starts at the bottom and all but literally claws his way to the top. His body is a wreck (recently sober and recently recovering from a heart attack) he endures beatings and humiliation all for the love of the sport.
What makes the film work so well is that is invested in the same truthiness that the sport itself is. “I haven’t had a job in ten years” Arquette says near the start of the film, despite working steadily (albeit not in leading roles). He also transforms from an overweight, out of shape middle-aged sad sack into a hyper fit pro seemingly overnight.
Each step in his journey is eye-opening and engaging, from the back yard wrestling show he takes part in (and gets decimated) to the Mexican street wrestling he takes part in to prove he has what it takes to earn his own Lucha libre mask, to his final redemption has he joins the independent wrestling circuit via a spectacularly choreographed match against his in-character nemesis, RJ City.
Seriously, watching Arquette fun into traffic –actual, literal, Tijuana traffic– to get his kicked is one of the most ridiculous and balletic sequences of the film.
For all his presentation as a goofball, it’s incredibly easy to end up in Arquette’s corner. His family is sceptical, but ultimately even if they think he’s insane they stick by him. He’s clearly a loving husband and father with a lot of drive, and by the end of the film, you’ll want him to succeed as much as he does.