Every year it happens; I go to Cinequest and think I’ll have all the time in the world to write since I’m not working. Every year I manage to get a couple of articles out during the period of film, booze and frolic. This year, it’s a little stranger. Somehow, and I’m not sure why, wrestling has invaded Cinequest.
Last Friday was SmackDown!. I had just finished watching a 6:45 film and headed over to Paragon, the semi-official gathering place for the last two Cinequests. I saddled up to the bar to start chatting with filmmakers and somehow, in this upscale, $9.25 for a drink world, they were showing SD!. I sat down and watched some good stuff.
During the schmoozing and entertaining banter with a certain young miss, I found myself being dragged into the show. The build to WrestleMania has been so good, especially with the way they’re treating Lashley, Kennedy and the Money in the Bank match. The Joey Mercury vs. Matt Hardy match caught my eye first, especially with the way that Hardy worked like a subtle heel by tearing off Mercury’s face mask and got away with it. The show was taped in San Jose, a mere 2 miles from my seat at the Paragon. The way that Vince came at Lashley and slapped him, which let Lashley make his ‘I am going to eat your family’ face was fantastic. I really have a strong desire to see Mania, which is the exact right thing for the time being.
Saturday came and I watched movies and hung around with friends. There was some wrestling talk about movies. One guy, a Canadian, had worked on one of The Rock’s pictures. He said he was a real nice guy who would laugh and joke on set and then get totally into the character the moment they yelled ‘Action’ and drop it a nanosecond after they yelled ‘cut’.
Cinequest is always a great place for stories about various stars and their little strangenesses. My favorite this year was a guy who had worked for Christina Applegate during her rough years. Lots of great stories there.
At that point, I discovered that there was a wrestling movie in the festival’s Docu-Nation program. The Fighting Cholitas is all about a group of women in a poor South American village who put on pro wrestling shows. I grabbed the screener, but if I haven’t got time for watching wrestling, I’ve got no time for watching screeners.
It was during the after-hours event that someone told me that Randy Couture, all of 43 years old and coming out of retirement, had just beaten Tim Silvia to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship. What’s cooler than that? The performance of Mr. Couture was ranked right up there with the most inspirational moments in the history of sports.
I slept through a lot of Sunday. It’s a rough day and you can’t always count on film folk to be hung over. I know I was. I simply watched movie and did as little moving as possible. That evening, I met up with a number of filmmakers including two from the film The Town That Was. It was a good time chatting the night away and we all decided to try and relive the 1980s through a massive run of references to everything from Mobile Armored Strike Kommand to Diff’rent Strokes.
We did, in fact, talk about wrestling, in particular about The Cyndi Lauper videos and Capt. Lou Albano, which led somehow beautifully into Rowdy Roddy Piper and They Live!. That led to a discussion of The Rock (the wrestler, not the movie, though we also later talked about the sins of Michael Bay) and The Million Dollar Man Ted DiBiase.
Monday I slept in and went into to Cinequest around 3. I only stayed a couple of hours before heading home to watch Evelyn while her mom was at work. I settled in and took in much of RAW.
RAW was very good. Things opened with Shawn Michaels beating Randy Orton in a good match that served to heighten the tension between Michaels and Cena in order to hype their Mania match. They’ve done such a great job that I almost forgot that Shawn was supposed to be done a year ago. The next few segments were all designed to put heat on Umaga vs. Lashley and to tease Eric Bischoff as the Special Guest Ref at Mania. There was also a thing where they asked a bunch of celebs about Trump getting his head shaved. That was kinda weird.
Mick Foley showed up! That was awesome and totally expected since he’s got a book ready to drop. Foley and Vince talked a little and Foley said that he wasn’t going to be the special ref but would be judging a Sir Charles Barkley vs. The Phoenix Gorilla Rib Eating Contest. That was a nice twist.
Shane came to the ring and told Vince who the special guest ref was. Then Austin’s music hit. That was a good pop. Vince tried to shake Austin’s hand, but Austin just drank and drank instead. Hot crowd and a decent way to introduce Stone Cold back into the fold. They need to use him until Mania then keep him away from six months so they can keep him fresh. Bring him back for Survivor Series. I also just realised that Austin’s career-making match against Bret Hart will be ten years old at WrestleMania this year. Weird.
In a fun, if uneven, match, Melina beat Mickie James Falls Count Anywhere style! This was nowhere near as good as Ivory vs. Tori from 2001 or so, but it was a fun segment. There was woman brawling which meant hair-pulling and rolling around, and a few weapons. They brawled into the Divas’ Locker room and various women interfered, including Victoria and Torrie Wilson.
They came back to the ring and there was a scary finish. Mickie set Melina up on the top turnbuckle and was going for a Hurrancanrana when she must have slipped and landed on her neck. It looked scary. Melina got down and covered her and that was that. Not a bad match at all and Melina’s a good champ. She had a bit of a face off with Ashley. Melina is so much more suited to being the top gal than Ashley and the Audience knows it.
Carlito and Flair were attacked by The Great Khali. Shame.
Cena beat Johnny Nitro by DQ. Now, they’d been talking about Edge vs. Cena all night, but it ended up that Randy Orton said he didn’t have Edge’s back, so Edge came out with MNM. Nitro was then announced as Cena’s opponent. That’s weird. It was a shortish match which ended when the heels inevitably attacked. Michaels thought about turning away, but eventually made the save.
It was a decent show and I finally got a good night’s sleep.
Tuesday featured my teaching 4th graders how to watch movies like a critic. I’ve done the program for five years now and this was a good one. I asked them what movies they’d seen and all the kids answered The Marine, starring John Cena. Most had also seen See No Evil. I found that weird. A few of the kids kept asking if any of the shorts we were going to watch had John Cena in them. I had to tell them no. I never did like breaking a child’s heart.
After that, I headed over to the Lounge to check my email. Sad news: Badnews Allen Coage died of a heart attack. You might not know the name, but he also wrestled as Bad News Brown in the WWF in the 1980s. His feuds with Savage, Hogan and Piper all drew fairly well. He was a huge star in Calgary and in Japan. I’d say he was one of the biggest stars in the world and a tremendous talker. His wrestling was excellent too and he was a medalist in Judo as I remember it. He was 61.
So, that’s how Cinequest and wrestling collapse in on each other for this one week. I’ll be back next Thursday with more news and notes, since I’m finishing off the fest and then sleeping it off for another couple of nights.
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