I received The Wrestler from NetFlix about three or four days ago. My general habit with these films is to watch them right away. The sooner you watch them, the sooner you get the next film. I just did not feel ready to watch it. Last night Hubby put it on and I have to say I thought it was an excellent film. Hubby always teases me because zombies, vampires etc. don't bother me at all, I have to tell you that the scenes that took place during the matches were really over the top for me. I literally covered my eyes. I did see the guy staple money on his head and asked Hubby who likes this type of entertainment if this type of thing actually happens. He says it was pretty realistic. Oy! Overall I thought it was a very sad film. I do see that the sadness was primarily of his own making. At least he left as he lived. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, but... There is intense (IMHO) violence in part of the film and some sexuality, so if these bother you then youÂ might want to pass.. Other than that it is primarily a drama about the relationship between Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood and of course wrestling.
So to the next thing. After watching that I saw that Diner was on TCM (Turner Classic Movies). Diner was Barry Levinson's directorial debut , it is a semi-autobiographical story of Levinson's younger days. It could be termed a coming of age film, though all the main characters are in their early twenties. It takes place in Baltimore between Christmas and New Year's Eve in 1959/1960Â and chronicles the lives of six young men and their interaction with each others. On TCM they said that Levinson auditioned 5000 (if memory serves me) men to find the right six guys. Levinson wanted to find guys that felt like the ones he hung around with at the diner, he wanted to get the tone of the film right.
I think he did it amazingly well. An interesting thing about this film was that the cast was made up of actors that at the time were virtually unknown. That is another thing I believe Levinson was striving for, not having the actors get in the way of the film. Later in their careers all of the actors had name recognition (at least in some part of their career). Another thing, a fairly small point that I finally caught last night (it always caught me before but I did not make the connection) Take a look at the year the film ends in and where the two people are going. If you are a history buff you will get this. For me this is a laugh out loud, good time film. It is not 100%Â PC, look at the time it takes place in, but not nasty either. If you have not seen it, do it now, quick! If you belong to NetFlix, you can get it there. The main part of the cast is:
Steve Guttenberg ... Edward 'Eddie' Simmons
Daniel Stern ... Laurence 'Shrevie' Schreiber
Mickey Rourke ... Robert 'Boogie' Sheftell
Kevin Bacon ... Timothy Fenwick Jr.
Tim Daly ... William 'Billy' Howard (as Timothy Daly)
Paul Reiser ... Modell
Ellen Barkin ... Beth Schreiber
Kathryn Dowling ... Barbara
Michael Tucker ... Bagel
So why is Mickey Roarke's name in the title you might ask? It was an interesting contrast seeing The Wrestler and then seeing Rouke so young with his future ahead of him in Diner. The tone of the two films is also very different. It seems to me they are about lost and found, about endings and beginnings.
Diner Movie Trivia thanks toÂ IMdb:
Michael Tucker, who plays "Bagel", was born and raised in Baltimore and talks in his native accent in the film.
Director Trademark: [Barry Levinson] After his appearance here, Ralph Tabakin (TV Customer) appeared in every Levinson picture through Liberty Heights (1999).
The diner used in the movie was moved further downtown in Baltimore, and by 2002 was an on-the-job training school for at-risk youth.
It is claimed that James Spader is a dancing extra for a few seconds in the opening dance.
All of the scenes in the diner were filmed last after the cast got to know each other. The dialog in those scenes is a combination of scripted and improvisational.
Barry Levinson claims that the infamous football quiz that Eddie forces his fiancÃ©e to pass is based on something that one of his male cousins did in real life.
Elyse's face is hidden through the entire movie.
MGM was reluctant to release the film, which they believed would be a commercial flop. But when they found out that critic Pauline Kael had written a glowing review in the New Yorker, they immediately released it.
Paul Reiser had not planned on auditioning for the film. He accompanied a friend who was auditioning, and while in the waiting room, he was persuaded to come back to audition himself.
Kevin Bacon was sick on the day of his screen test to play Fenwick. But he had previously decided that his character would probably be half-drunk during the entire movie, so he went ahead and auditioned and got the part.
Barry Levinson had the main actors arrive in Baltimore a week before filming began to get to know each other and build rapport. Predictably, the young male actors went out on the town to clubs and tried to pick up women. Sometimes they would use bogus stories about what they were doing in Baltimore. Tim Daly says he came up with the most popular one, that they were engineers working on a rotating rooftop restaurant.
While many have speculated about which character actually represented Barry Levinson himself, the answer is none -- Barry says that each of the main characters represent a small part of his youth.
Ellen Barkin said in 2000 that her character Beth remains the closest to how she felt in real life of any role she had ever played.
At times during filming when friction between actors got out of hand, Levinson ushered them into a small trailer that the cast nicknamed the "camaraderie camper".
The diner used was real, operational and open for business during filming. Because there were so many night scenes, the filmmakers kept the kitchen running 24/7, and often the cast would see the sunrise as they finished the day's work quaffing beer.
Just like his character Shrevie, Daniel Stern (a Maryland native) was the only main actor who was married when Diner was filming, and thus missed out on much of the nightclub action with the other guys.
If you have seen Diner before please tell us your favourite scene. I can't tell you why, but the one when Eddie and Billy go to the movies and death walks on the beach always cracksÂ me up!