On the Ropes

By Sailer, Steve | The American Conservative, February 23, 2009 | Go to article overview

On the Ropes


Sailer, Steve, The American Conservative


"THE WRESTLER" is a slow-paced, predictable, but highly effective drama about a lonely former pro-wrestling star trying to hang on a little longer in the dim spotlight of minor league matches in New Jersey VFW halls and elementary-school gymnasiums. The warmhearted screenplay by Robert D. Siegel exhibits the mastery of cliches that you'd expect from a former editor of The Onion, but plays them for pathos rather than irony.

"The Wrestler" depends utterly upon the painful authenticity of fifty-something Mickey Rourke's performance as nice guy whose every good intention is undermined by excess-testosterone syndrome. Rourke is so mesmerizing that you'll make up your own little list of current stars who could use two decades in career limbo.

Yet what about the almost equally improbable resume of Rourke's 44-year-old co-star Marisa Tomei? Her courtroom scene in 1992's "My Cousin Vinny" as unemployed beautician Mona Lisa Vito, who testifies as an expert witness on the rear suspension of a 1964 Buick Skylark, was one of the unexpected triumphs in movie history. Tomei rightly beat out Vanessa Redgrave for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar, only to be dogged by a ridiculous rumor campaign claiming that a senile Jack Palance had announced the wrong name onstage.

A rather dreary career ensued. Due to the decline in the number of female screenwriters after 1960 (husband-wife writing teams have been replaced by brother acts), there are now far more fine actresses than fine roles for them. Entering her mid-40s, Tomei started taking her clothes off on-camera, beginning with the otherwise forgettable "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead." Career momentum restored, Tomei has now been nominated for an Oscar for her role in "The Wrestler" as a stripper with a heart of gold. While Tomei's character is trying to get out of stripping, Rourke's is striving to stay in wrestling.

Hollywood's Golden Age leading men tended to be disproportionately Irish-American, such as Jimmy Cagney, Spencer Tracy, and John Wayne. They were amiable tough guys from a concussion-centric culture who could throw--and take--a punch.

For a half decade after his stunning cameo as a professional arsonist in 1981's "Body Heat," Rourke looked to be their worthiest successor. The languid and cocky Rourke was the most magnetic star to emerge in the 1980s. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

On the Ropes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.