Tag Archives: Marisa Tomei

Challenge Week 16: The Wrestler

I decided I was a huge Darren Aronofsky fan on the strength of one film – The Fountain – and then proceeded to not really watch more of his filmography for a while, especially when his very next film dealt with a subject I could barely care less about – a washed up wrestler. (I’m now at 4/6 features, with Requiem for a Dream coming up later in the challenge.) I’m not generally a huge sports person, and boxing/wrestling/fighting sports are my least favorite. I was told “oh, but this is a character study!” but, I mean, so was Raging Bull and I didn’t care for that at all. So this was a risky choice, though I’m sure Ryan didn’t realize what a risky choice it was!

The saving grace of The Wrestler is how much I liked Randy the Ram himself – Mickey Rourke invests the character with a lot of weariness but also a lot of heart. He was a major WWE-style wrestler in the ’80s, but now it’s twenty years later and he’s on some kind of small pro circuit with a lot of other wrestlers who seem to be either aging like him or up-and-coming. Every fight is planned out in advance, but that doesn’t stop them from being brutal.


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Challenge Week 2: My Cousin Vinny

How have I never seen this movie before?! I’ve heard of it for a long time, of course, because I used to be a huge Oscar history aficionado and I knew Marisa Tomei had won a Best Supporting Award for it, but I really knew absolutely nothing else about it. I think I assumed it was something to do with the mob, because Joe Pesci is always something to do with the mob, right?

Turns out it’s about a couple of college kids from New York road-tripping through Alabama; they stop in a convenience store, accidentally shoplift, then get arrested…for the murder of the convenience store clerk. In a panic, one of them (played by The Karate Kid), calls home and gets his Cousin Vinny (Pesci), a lawyer, to come down and help them out. Except Cousin Vinny is BARELY a lawyer, spent six years trying to pass the bar, and has never had a real case in court. What he does have, however, is a whole lot of attitude, which doesn’t always go down well with the very by-the-book judge (a wonderful turn from The Munsters‘ Fred Gwynne).


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