Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Fighting with My Family

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I would fight with my family more if suplexes were involved.

Fighting with My Family – 5 out of 5

I love pro-wrestling.  I grew up with it and find it so fun and entertaining.  I also have a great deal of respect for the athletes and get very defensive when people try to diminish them and the industry by calling it “fake.”  Matches may be predetermined but the abuse they put their bodies through is very real and is beyond any sort of pain and fortitude to face that anyone calling it fake could withstand.  With that being said, there needs to be more sports dramas that focus on these professional athletes because what they do in order to make it in their industry is just as inspiring and dramatic as a boxer overcoming adversity or an underdog team rising up and getting the win.  Fighting with My Family proves this!

It was hard to not want to watch some wrestling after this movie so I didn't
bother fighting that urge and watched some old WWE and ECW matches.

Zak (Jack Lowden) and Saraya Knight (Florence Pugh) are siblings in a British wrestling company started by their parents; Ricky (Nick Frost) and Julia Knight (Lena Headey).  Wrestling has been their whole lives and both have dreamed of one day making it big in the WWE.  After Smackdown comes to England and holds tryouts, Zak and Saraya are invited to try out but only Saraya makes it.  Zak begins to take a slow decline into depression as his dream is shattered and Saraya takes on the persona Paige and works with WWE trainer Hutch (Vince Vaughn) and learns that to achieve this dream will not be easy and will be paved with pain and requires a lot of perseverance.  Perseverance she doesn’t think she has.

A visual representation of me at the gym but instead of me being a goth
girl surround by models I'm a fat tub surrounded by a lot of people in way better
shape than me.

Remember when Vaughn took on dinosaurs?
I should do a "It's Not All Bad..." for The Lost World:
Jurassic Park
If you’re a condescending individual with ignorant views on the work that goes into being a pro-wrestler this movie isn’t for you and, also, you need to open up your world view and actually take a look at all the blood, sweat and tears that goes into this industry you so gleefully call “fake.”  Fighting with My Family is all the great things about an inspirational sports drama mixed with the fact it is about sport entertainment and that makes it all the much better.  The story has all the notes from the sports drama’s greatest hits collection as it shows a childhood dream achieved through determination and this movie hits these points exceptionally well.  Written and directed by Stephen Merchant, the film shows a deep respect for the game and all the players involved and it is able to craft a tone that knows exactly when to be moving and dramatic and when to have fun and be a touch lighter.

Stephen Merchant...you made a damn great movie!
Nick Frost legit looks like a wrestler and that makes
me love him even more.
From a cast perspective, the film is top notch.  I loved Nick Frost and Lena Headey as the abrasive but fun Knight couple.  Jack Lowden did a great job at showcasing a man who is battling the reality the dream he’s had for so long will never be achieved.  Dwayne Johnson’s cameo as himself is fun and fantastic because The Rock is a fun and fantastic guy.  Vince Vaughn has that right balance of being both a dick and a person of support as he pushes Paige to be the person the WWE knows she can be and, finally, Florence Pugh is so great as Paige.  Her performance made it easy to cheer on her rise and see her succeed.

The main event, baby!  Wrestlemania!

He's waiting to see if she can smell what he's cooking.
I say this with all the biopics and “based on a true story” films I watch and that is I am forgiving of the liberties that are taken with the character’s journey or the little details of the main event.  Sometimes the liberties can be frustrating (like in Bohemian Rhapsody) but, for the most part, I understand the changes are done for dramatic and storytelling purposes.  That is the case with Fighting with My Family.  Some changes were made in Paige’s journey and even concerning her debut in the WWE.  These changes were done in order to up the drama and to play into the story’s underlying theme of family so I didn’t find the alterations too egregious but rather a stylistic enhancement to the story.

Before ECW died, I got to hold their championship belt and I was as giddy
as a child!

Fighting with My Family is a new spin on the real-life inspired sports drama genre.  Stephen Merchant was able to showcase a film that is just overloaded with heart and humor and it has an exceptional cast.  Like all sports dramas, you know exactly where the story is going but that didn’t stop it from being an enjoyable and inspirational ride.

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