At a time
when it’s become perfectly acceptable for an adult to get a tattoo of a
Stormtrooper, the last true outcast culture left in America just might
be professional wrestling. The Geek Renaissance never extended to the
grapplers filling arenas and pulling in six figures with WWE, let alone
those profiled in the documentary Fake It So Real, literal
weekend warriors destroying their bodies in muggy gymnasiums for, in the
words of one veteran, “20 bucks, a hot dog and a pat on the ass.” In
popular consciousness, wrestling remains the realm of backwoods rubes
cheering on steroidal soap-opera actors feigning pain as they bash each
other with folding chairs. If his film doesn’t change that perception,
at least director Robert Greene allows the performers to speak for
themselves. Following a scruffy group of dedicated semi-pros—most of
whom have the physique of a gas-station attendant—in the week leading up
to their “big” show at a rented VFW hall in rural Lincolnton, N.C.,
Greene comes away with an oddly inspiring, nonjudgmental portrait of
social misfits whose passion for their chosen creative outlet is every
bit as valid as that of the do-it-yourself musician or local theater
troupe. “I think wrestling is the great American art form,” says a
bearlike, weapons-obsessed brute by the name of Pitt. Maybe that’s a
stretch, but are you really going to argue with a guy who keeps a
machete next to his bed? MATTHEW SINGER.
Critic’s Score: 80
Hollywood Theatre. 7:30 pm Friday, April 27.
It Came from Detroit
A hardscrabble, blue-collar town like Detroit probably hates being compared to the place “where young people go to retire,” but the circumstances that allowed its contemporary-music scene to boom will sound awfully familiar to Portlanders: no jobs, cheap rent, plenty of basements. Flashing past the glory days of Hitsville USA, James Petix’s high-energy doc on Motor City garage rock begins in the late ’80s with the Gories, a hyper-primitive three-piece that reanimated Motown as a barely-in-tune punk zombie, and runs through the meteoric success of the White Stripes (whose voices, crucially, are missing here) in the early 2000s. In between, Petix clicks into shuffle mode, cycling through thumbnail profiles of practically every band in the city that ever drew a crowd. The film then becomes a blur of loud guitars, shouty singers and squealing Farfisa organs, and standout groups like the Dirtbombs end up sadly buried in the mix. MATTHEW SINGER.
Critic’s Score: 62
Hollywood Theatre. 9:30 pm Friday, April 27.