There’s a depressing story on the AP Wire – Murderball, the excellent documentary about parapeligic rugby players, isn’t doing well.
Obviously no one expected it to be opening at number one (even in these doc-heavy, post Fahrenheit 9/11 times), especially since it opened in just LA and NY, went to the top 10 national markets and is now playing in about 100 theaters. But even still, it’s underperforming, especially in relation to the buzz.
Mark Urman, head of the theatrical division of THINKFilm, who released the movie, says, "The only explanation is that people don’t want to see something about handicapped people. There is some resistance."
He may well be right, and that’s just tragic. See, Murderball‘s not interesting because it’s about cripples, and it’s not great because it’s uplifting. It’s interesting because it’s about this weird, exciting sport you never heard, played by strange and awesome and fascinating people. And it’s uplifting, if it is, because the people it’s about are real people, not because they’re in wheelchairs.
I’ve had a complaint for a long time now when it comes to modern movie fans. We have it easy. Once upon a time, if you wanted to be a movie fan you didn’t have googleplexes in your malls and you didn’t have 8 HBOs and you sure as shit didn’t have DVDs and Netflix delivering them to your home. You had to go out and travel to small theaters that showed interesting movies. You had to wait up all night to catch Hitchcock on TV at 2am. And that was part of the hobby, that was one of the ways you showed your love of movies – not by going to see Revenge of the Sith or Batman Begins 11 times.
Are you a movie lover? If you are, and if Murderball is playing anywhere near you – get in a goddamn car and drive for an hour, make a day of it – go see this movie. Don’t wait for DVD. Don’t expect to catch it on cable. If you love movies you know that the main way to see a film is in a theater with a bunch of other people, in the dark, immersed in the world on screen. And Murderball is a really good film, one worth the support of people who love movies, who understand that movies can be really fun ways to spend two hours but can also be something else – the kind of person that I hope the average CHUD reader is. That’s certainly who I’m writing for.
So click here to see the theaters where Murderball is playing, according to THINKFilm. I recommend calling ahead to make sure it’s still playing in the one nearest you, just in case. But again, I strongly urge you to get out there and see this movie that’s smart and funny and revealing and fascinating. And I swear to God, if this movie is playing near you this weekend and you see Dukes of Hazzard instead, I’m going to punch you in the face.