IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Golden Girl Passes, The Dark Knight, Ring of Hell, WEC on Versus, more
Okay kids, the last time I wrote in this thing we still had all four “Golden Girls” alive and kicking.
There’s a lot I could write about in terms of book, film, television, MMA, and more. So much, in fact, that for this pop culture junkie to catch up on it would result in a document to rival War and Peace in both length and literary impact, complete with earth-shattering metaphors (my reactions to Mr. Boston being voted off last week’s “I Love Money” would be a direct correlation to the diminished self-esteem so prevalent in today’s youth of America). Seriously, it’d be fucking brilliant, but instead I’m just going to give a bullet-point list of things I really, really wanted to write about in the past two weeks but was just too damn busy to touch upon.
* Estelle Getty, who played Sophia on the hit 80s NBC sitcom “Golden Girls,” died. The fact that people didn’t realize that she was already dead was truly a testament to how goddamn good Getty was. For you see, though she played the oldest woman character on the show by a mile, she was actually the second youngest and aged herself a good twenty-five years through good old-fashioned great character acting. Goodbye, Estelle. You weren’t given nearly the amount of notoriety and esteem that you deserved.
* I saw “The Dark Knight” and it was awesome. Well, except for Christian Bale’s Batman voice, which drove me up a goddamn wall. He sounded like a total dweeb trying to be a tough guy and failing miserably. If Bale’s character motivation was to make me think that I could kick Batman’s ass, then he did a spectacular job; otherwise, that voice needs to go. Other than that the film was perfect and wonderful and beautifully acted in every way, and if you disagree with me I will physically fight you. It was so good I saw it – IN THEATERS – twice.
The last time that happened, I had passed out in a porno theater! I can’t remember the last time I did that! Sooooo good. See it now if you’re one of the six people who hasn’t already.
* Speaking of Christian Bale, reports came out just as the film was opening that Christian Bale had been accused of physically assaulting (in some manner) his mother and sister in a hotel. Pick your pun:I bet he used the Batman voice to scare them!
Clearly, they were under the control of Scarecrow’s fear gas.
* I read Matthew Randazzo’s Ring of Hell. The book follows the career of Chris Benoit, the former WWE Champion who murdered his wife and seven-year-old son before committing suicide in June of 2007. In the course of researching the story, Randazzo instead ended up writing an expose on the highly sadistic and fantastically illogical carny atmosphere of professional wrestling. As a disclaimer, I should point out that the book itself is poorly written. Since I haven’t read any of Randazzo’s other work, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he just had so much insanity (all of it frighteningly true and thoroughly researched) he wanted to share that he barely knew where to begin and end.
To give you an idea of the craziness, here’s a quick excerpt: a brief profile of Japanese pro wrestling legend Antonio Inoki, who ran New Japan Pro Wrestling through much of the 1980s and 1990s.
“The pelican-jawed wrestler’s political success inflated his ego to James Bond-villain proportions. Convinced that one of his many investments in speculative pseudoscience would pan out and, in the words of one wrestler, “fulfill his desinty as the greatest inventor since Thomas Edison,” Inoki blew NJPW’s profits on a series of increasingly insane projects. For years, Inoki has promised to release a perpetual motion machine that would disprove the Second Law of Thermodynamics, and he assured Fidel Castro that he had devised a method for recycling crushed sugarcane stalks that would revolutionize Cuban socialism. According to one source, Inoki lobbied for investors to fund a massive treasure hunt on Inoki Friendship Island, a speck of sand off the coast of Cuba that he purchased from Castro – along with a treasure map leading to buried pirate gold.”
As ridiculous as that all reads, it’s true. Every word of it. The insanity doesn’t stop in the land of the rising Sun, either. There’s a detailed glimpse into the life of the Hart family out of Calgary that in addition to creating wrestling legends such as Bret Hart also engaged in some crazy escapades such as having a grizzly bear live with them as a pet. The book also reveals the role of sex in office and lockerroom politics in WWE, the masochistic abuse heaped onto trainees at the New Japan Dojo, the multi-million dollar monkeyhouse that was World Championship Wrestling, and much more.
Unfortunately, all of the insanity underlies the important message that the professional wrestling industry is a business that encourages its stars to embrace dangerous (and often times fatal) habits, and Randazzo just isn’t a good enough writer in this case to keep that point coherent. That being said, it’s an eye-opening and wildly entertaining read in the manner that Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon was, with the key difference being that Anger’s book was gossip and half-truths while Randazzo’s book is unabashed and brutal non-fiction.
* Carlos Condit retained his WEC Welterweight Title against Hiromitsu Miura…barely. The show also contained a thrilling upset by way of Steve Cantwell defeating Brian Stann for the promotion’s Light-Heavyweight crown, and another example of why shouldn’t just turtle up after getting flushed and floored with a hard strike to the side of the head and then complain afterwards when the fight’s stopped. The WEC consistently puts on some of the best MMA cards in terms of fight quality that you’re going to come across, so make sure you try to catch the replay on the cable channel “Versus.”
Annnnnnnd there’s more, but that’ll be saved for sometime this coming week.