Mont’s Videos of the Week: Movie Reviews

I thought I would give everyone a couple of movies to watch over the holidays. The first is a wrestling movie and surprisingly it does not have a lot of cheesy wrestling in it. It is actually very realistic and a good story to boot. Some of “us” old timers will relate very well with the assistant coaches. It is a good movie that just happens to involve a wrestler as one of the main characters. The wrestler in the movie is Alex Shaffer who was a champion wrestler in high school before an injury ended his career. The article below gives you a little background.

There’s nothing fake about this wrestler in ‘Win Win’

Seeking authenticity, director Tom McCarthy cast Alex Shaffer, a novice in acting but a real-life champion in high school wrestling.

March 24, 2011|By Steven Zeitchik, Los Angeles Times

reporting from new york — When New Jersey teenager Alex Shaffer told his parents he wanted to audition for a part as a high school wrestler in Tom McCarthy’s “Win Win,” they said he couldn’t go — but not because they were against him becoming an actor.

At first, Mike Shaffer recalled, “both my wife and I said the same thing. ‘Sure, let’s go.’ And then, unfortunately, we realized Alex couldn’t take the day off” because the teen had an actual high school wrestling meet the same day.

Instead, the sophomore sent in a packet of wrestling press clips to the casting agent whose name appeared on an ad in a local paper. A few weeks later, Shaffer was called to a meeting in New York City. McCarthy, known to have an exacting manner with actors, wound up summoning Shaffer back about eight times to read for the part and even paid a visit to one of Shaffer’s wrestling matches.

Last March, Shaffer won a state championship. The next day, he began shooting a movie opposite some of the independent film world’s biggest stars.

“Win Win,” which was a hot ticket when it opened in three L.A. theaters over the weekend, widens to seven screens in the area this weekend. Shaffer’s turn as Kyle, a disaffected teenager and competitive wrestler taken in by a part-time high school wrestling coach (Paul Giamatti) and his wife (Amy Ryan), has garnered strong reviews for its authenticity. In an era when many on-screen teenagers are portrayed as preternaturally smart and polished, Kyle comes off as polite but laconic and a bit removed. He has little desire to spend time around most adults and seemingly even less of a desire to speak to them.

“I was tired of seeing 16-year-olds who are so emotionally attuned and articulate,” recalled McCarthy (“The Visitor”). “Most 16-year-olds are like Alex: They’re hearing it all and taking it all in. They’re just not letting you know that.” McCarthy added: “He had qualities that were oddly very much like how Kyle was written on the page.”

As he sat in a corner of an empty gym last year in a public school on New York’s Long Island where the movie was being shot, as well as in a follow-up interview, Shaffer evinced the traits that drew McCarthy to him.

The teenager had never acted professionally and barely even performed in school plays (the one credit he calls to mind was “The Pirates of Penzance” in the sixth grade). Then he heard that a movie production was seeking a teenage wrestler. “My friend texted me: ‘You should audition for this. It’s in the newspaper.’ And I was like, ‘No, man.’ At the time, I was focusing on wrestling. And my friend was like, ‘No, dude, you should audition. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’ And I thought about it, and he was right.”

The second movie is “Warrior”. It has some great MMA action but is also a very good story. If you don’t like this movie you’re not really a wrestler!

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