When you think of David Arquette, you probably think of the lovable goofball from the Scream movies. I can say this confidently because that’s what most people think of him 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 wants a little respect. Introduced to professional wrestling through the 2000 film Ready to Rumble, he found a community that seemed ideally 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 he so desperately needed. Eighteen 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.
The film works so well because it is invested in the same truthiness that the sport itself is. “I haven’t had a job in ten years“, Arquette says near the film’s start, despite working steadily (albeit not in leading roles). He also transforms from an overweight, out-of-shape middle-aged sad sack into a hyperfine pro seemingly overnight.
Each step in his journey is eye-opening and engaging, from the backyard 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 ass kicked is one of the film’s most ridiculous and balletic sequences.
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.
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