Long before America accepted the Luchadore as a part of modern wrestling, Lucha Libre has been an immense force of the wrestling world. It’s broken so many barriers and allowed the culture to seep through, even integrating what’s known as the “Exótico.” Cassandro is a kind of luchadore who mixes the art form of drag along with the art form of professional wrestling. Often times Cassandro is no different than Gorgeous George or Ric Flair, but he’s different in the way he embraces his homosexuality so openly and absolutely without apology.
“Hot Dog… The Movie” is that film right at the end of the “Animal House” spectrum and the beginning of the “Police Academy” phenom, where every single work place or setting had its own wacky, madcap plot and array of cartoon characters. Most of the eighties were all about taking what worked and truing to copy its success. In the decade the followed, “Animal House” gave way to a large library of comedies (often teen based) that borrowed from its formula. Some of the titles were pure dreck and some of them were humongous gems. “Hot Dog… The Movie” is the absolute former.
While wrestling waned in popularity in the past decade, it’s experienced a slow comeback with the introduction of new wrestlers, new angles, and new federations like the AEW. The new Wrestlemania show premiered last weekend to mixed reaction from fans, meanwhile WWE has been making its mark on Netflix. They premiered the family sitcom “The Big Show” about the life of the former wrestler, and today released “The Main Event,” a kids’ sports comedy about a kid who enters a wrestling competition in the WWE to become the next superstar.
As an on again, off again fan of the sport since I was old enough to walk, I thought I’d list five great wrestling movies. These are of course fictional Wrestling films, as we have enough exploitative documentaries about the rise and fall of various superstars.
What are your favorites?
Earl Bellamy’s “Munster Go Home!” has become one of the most incidentally influential horror comedies of all time. One of the banner pop cult movies of the decade, “Munster, Go Home!” is the extension of the cult TV show that takes them out of their giant mansion, and brings them in to the wide open world. As we’ve seen with the series, the world isn’t too keen on their way of life, either. But they make it work with charm, and a classic sixties drag race. Continue reading
Oliver Alfonso’s horror comedy is a movie that will likely be a very polarizing title down the line. For the people that actually bother to check it out on Netflix, “Girls with Balls” is a Z grade movie that walks the line between absolutely obnoxious, and admirably entertaining. I was mixed on “Girls with Balls” as it packed some great meaty horror comedy material, along with some woefully stupid moments and unlikable characters.
The original documentary “Fighting With My Family” was the stuff that underdog tales were made of, so when it was turned in to a feature film, it wasn’t too surprising. Stephen Merchant has a knack for creating very funny, human tales, and this adaptation does a good job of taking from the documentary and creating a very good adaptation of the story of Saraya, a young wrestling fanatic who would become Paige, one of the most influential female wrestlers and Superstars for the WWE.
Ryan Coogler came storming out of the gate with “Creed,” a spiritual sequel to “Rocky” that was so good, it stood side by side comfortably with the original “Rocky.” As all things in Hollywood, despite Stallone’s attempted justification for re-visiting old story lines, “Creed” made money, so we have “Creed II.” I mean, there is room here for the writers to explore the whole dynamic between Adonis confronting the man who murdered his father, but much of that is sidestepped in favor of usual “Rocky” movie tropes, boiling down to a sequel that’s pretty damn—erm, okay. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not “Creed.”
It’s not even “Rocky II.”
As someone who grew up with a family that adored wrestling, I had a very good time learning about Paige and the down to Earth working classic family she grew up in. “Fighting With My Family” is the adaptation of the documentary that tells the tale of Paige and how she grew up working with her parents, both of whom built their own home grown wrestling federation. Paige, the most popular of her brood, eventually rose to become a WWE star, allowing for a great tale of the working class rising to fame. With some liberties taken Stephen Merchant’s “Fighting With My Family” is almost as good that also works as a tribute to the power of family.