What you should have been watching on Easter Sunday

Coty Levandoski

Five years ago today, the rematch between Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson and The Ayatollah took place, the climax of the last year’s critically lauded film “The Wrestler.”

I caught a matinee showing of “Slumdog Millionaire” one Sunday morning last year to prep myself for the Oscars, with plans to see “The Wrestler” shortly thereafter. Never so soon has a work made me almost completely dismiss a Danny Boyle film.

I guess I should have expected as much, as Aronofsky has been completely flawless since he first found success in 1998 with “Pi.”

Rourke, on the other hand, had begun to throw away his career by jumping into the ring in the early ’90s, so I never knew much of him until he stole the show that was Robert Rodriguez’s “Sin City” in 2005.

Critics had hailed this as Rourke’s comeback, saying Aronofsky had granted him one last shot to get back on top. This would be the first of a number of striking parallels found between Rourke and the proverbial phoenix that would resurrect his career from the ashes: the role of Randy “The Ram” Robinson. Rourke experienced an early and perhaps premature rise to prominence, the loss of clout and subsequent fall from grace and an eventual renewal or rebirth.

Aronofsky was arguably transformed after the success of the film as well, coming off of the financial and critical disappointment that was the tumultuous production of his labor of love, “The Fountain.” “The Wrestler” would bring him widespread critical praise, and the $6 million film would go on to gross almost $45 million in sales.

A majority of the problems I have with the Academy’s choices last year started with its snubbing of Rourke for Best Actor, which instead went to Sean Penn (“Milk).” It should also be noted they somehow failed to nominate Bruce Springsteen’s titular song for the film, which managed to win the Golden Globe for that category a short time before.

Clint Mansell, known for the theme from “Requiem for a Dream,” also produced a haunting score for the film accompanied by original Guns N’ Roses axeman Slash, but I guess if you’re not getting an award for The Boss’ work, you’re not getting an award period.

It appears that if there’s one thing I can be thankful for, it’s that the title role didn’t go to the studio’s first choice, Nic Cage. What a waste of celluloid that would have ended up being, regardless of if Aronofsky was still on board or not.

The movie itself isn’t pretentious or dismissive, as a number of films hailed by the Academy sometimes are, but instead it is accessible to all. What makes this film work is its ability to speak to people from all different walks of life, and members of any generation.

While “The Passion of The Christ” may have become customary Easter viewing for most, “The Wrestler” is perhaps a more fitting real-life application for the themes of death and resurrection. Those of us who have lost the trust of a lover due to infidelity, flunked a class mandatory for graduation or even given up on an old hobby because you simply didn’t see the point of it anymore … this one is for you.

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