Not to repeat myself, but I think the movie is great.  I think Aronofsky’s contribution is comparatively underrated, as are the contributions of the writer, cinematographer, costumers, and the locations department, among others.  I think Mickey Rourke is on a collision course with a little gold bald figure, and while I think Sean Penn is equally great in the same category, it’ll be worth it for the speech.  Maybe most of all, when it comes to The Wrestler, I fuckin’ love the end credits song.

 

Due to some technicality or other, it’s not itself in the running for a little gold bald figure but it was written and performed by Bruce Springsteen which means that it’ll survive classification and live on into posterity.  I bring up Springsteen specifically at this time because he has a new album out and he’s great.  Springsteen is also currently DJing his own channel on Sirius Satellite Radio (where he plays great stuff like The Hold Steady, Jenny Lewis, Social Distortion, The National, and Calexico), and he and the E Street Band will be playing the half-time show at the Super Bowl, and these are probably not things you needed me to tell you.

 

Bruce Springsteen is one of my creative heroes.  So while I did indeed live in Silver Lake for several years, I am probably not what you would call a hipster.  In fact, it has been hypothesized that I have the aesthetic taste of an older man than I actually am.  Not entirely true – as I do try to stay current, and do a more than decent job of it – but I see the point.  Personally, I’m most interested in artists who are willing to risk failure and try something different, artists who have integrity and who are as honest as they can be in their work.   And honesty and integrity are stereotypically traditional values that go in and out of favor, depending on the times. 

 

So plenty of people have suggested that it’s less than “cool” to be this big a Springsteen fan.  He ain’t some 19-year-old French kid with ironic facial hair doing mash-ups at a basement rave, that’s true.  I only say that some stuff may be temporarily cooler, and I like cool too, cool can be fun, but “cool” can also fade.  Springsteen has been relevant for thirty years and will continue to be.  He makes music that is durable, never disposable.

 

One reason for that is that Springsteen is one of the best writers that rock music has ever had.  He has the ability to distill relatable emotions to accessible and [sometimes] deceptively simple lyrics.  There’s no one better at conveying joy and desperation, often in the same song.  To me, many of his songs are better than most movies.  Atlantic City,” for example, sounds like my heart at nighttime.  My favorite lyric of all time easily may be:  “Everything dies, baby that’s a fact/ but maybe everything that dies some day comes back.”  Every time, that’ll break your heart and put it back together again.

I also like Springsteen because he writes for the appropriate venue.  The publicity on The Wrestler tells us that Springsteen wrote the song after Mickey Rourke sent him the script (not even the finished film.)  Most of Springsteen’s songs sound best in one of two places – in a car, or performed by him, live.  However, “The Wrestler” sounds best right where it lives, unspooled on a wide screen over a smash cut to black.



 

 

And now, the lyrics from “The Wrestler” –

 

 


Have you ever seen a one trick pony in the field so happy and free
If you’ve ever seen a one trick pony then you’ve seen me
Have you ever seen a one legged dog makin’ his way down the street
If you’ve ever seen a one legged dog then you’ve seen me

(Then you’ve seen me) I come and stand at every door
(Then you’ve seen me) I always leave with less than I had before
(Then you’ve seen me) but I can make you smile when the blood it hits the floor
Tell me friend can you ask for anything more
Tell me friend can you ask for anything more

Have you ever seen a scarecrow filled with nothing but dust and weeds
If you’ve ever seen that scarecrow then you’ve seen me
Have you ever seen a one armed man punchin’ at nothing but the breeze
If you’ve ever seen a one armed man then you’ve seen me

(Then you’ve seen me) I come and stand at every door
(Then you’ve seen me) I always leave with less than I had before
(Then you’ve seen me) but I can make you smile when the blood it hits the floor
Tell me friend can you ask for anything more
Tell me friend can you ask for anything more

These things that have comforted me I drive away (anything more)
This place that is my home I cannot stay (anything more)
My only faith is in the broken bones and bruises I display

Have you ever seen a one legged man tryin’ to dance his way free
If you’ve ever seen a one legged man then you’ve seen me


Copyright © 2009 Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP)