Word on the street is that Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, The Wrestler, is screening at the Toronto Film Festival in the impending future. Let me explain why this worries me.
First, it’s a film about a wrestler. Starring Mickey Rourke.
Before the fanboy rage spews forth faster than you can say “George Lucas raped my childhood!“ allow me to explain. While yes, Mr. Rourke did a fantastic job being a goon in Robert Rodgriuez’s pointless and insipid adaptation of Sin City, not to mention a brilliant turn feeding Kim Basinger fuck-fruits in 9 1/2 Weeks, the presence of the man in something Aronofsky’s attached to doesn’t exactly inspire joyful noise in this writer.
He’s fine as a nod and wink choice, like something Tarantino would pull out of the hat and make you think, “Man, that guy’s badass!” But badass is far from the thought of, “Man, that guy’s got nuance like a motherfucker!” Nuance isn’t Tarantino’s strong-suit, nor is it Aronofsky’s persay, but Darren’s never struck me as one with aspirations to make B-level films.
And yet here he is, presenting his fourth film to the world. Fourth. Right, you read that correctly. As in Pi, Requiem for a Dream, and The Fountain. A track record that is exquisite. Untouchable by most artists in the field, really.
Now this. Rourke. Wrestlers. A stripper with a heart of gold. And estranged daughter. A fucking wrestler! And it’s called The Wrestler. Which wouldn’t be as much of an insult if his next film wasn’t holding strong to The Fighter as its title. This shit stresses me out, man.
Yet there is no amount of stress that can prepare me for nail biting freak-out that occurred after reading that this impeccable filmmaker has signed on to direct a sequel to Robo-Cop. Fuck.
Now, to be fair, I’ve only read this news twice. Both times on Defamer, once as a rumor, and once as an approved story courtesy of Variety. And I hope to whatever higher being that I don’t believe in that the story isn’t true. I mean, how could it be? That would be the most fucked up news ever.
It isn’t like he’s taking the path he was steering in when he signed on for Batman: Year One, before getting booted in favor of Nolan and his newly minted bags of money.
Or Jon Favreau taking Iron Man.
Or fuck, even Bryan Singer accepting X-Men.
This isn’t a glorified opportunity, it’s schlock. The first R-rated film I ever saw, but still mindless drivel. Doesn’t Brett Ratner need some franchise to shit on? I mean, a guy turning into slush after a dip in a sewage bath and a face-to-face with an errant auto can’t be the cinematic level Darren’s reaching for. Surely not. So please, someone tell me this has been redacted. Please.
So, needless to say, I’m upset. Which isn’t fair, since I haven’t seen the film. Or any of the other, as yet unfinished or even officially agreed-upon films.
I should be going in with an open mind, like I did with The Fountain after so many critics used it as celluloid toilet paper and still found it breathtaking. A film I’ve now shared, discussed and gushed over with many, many people. People who are probably sick of hearing me talk about it. That good.
So I won’t be upset. I’ll try to shift my gears, downgrade a bit, slam the brakes and transition into worried. And worried I will stay until the lights dim and I hear that familiar whir of the projector on opening day. Very, very worried.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey