DDP Yoga

Monday, January 7, 2013

Movies Biopics about Wrestlers

Hello Mr. Keith.  I was a huge Benoit fan, and I always thought his career, culminating in his WM20 win, would have been a Great Story that an honest-to-god Movie can be made about.  Since he did what he did and that will never happen, and instead we are getting an entirely different movie, I was wondering who do you think has the career that can be made into a audience accessible film.  My Picks:

Vince McMahon: I wish i can have Aaron Sorkin write a script covering his purchasing of the territories, 80's boom, steroid trails, probably ending with his victory in the Monday Night Wars.  A lot to cover, but the man is quite the story

Paul Heyman/ECW: The documentary did very well, but in a company where the Boss had his table in the middle of a  lockeroom full of new guys, legends and crazies, i wouldn't even know where to begin

Mick Foley:  To me, this is my #1 pick, adapting from "Have a Nice Day".  The story of an out-of-shape Joe Shmo, starting in the smallest arenas, the strangest venues around the world, going through a lot, JAPAN MATCHES!, the stories from the road, a wide variety of friends, foes, bosses, gimmicks, marrying the model, ending achieving his dream winning the world title....the book is the screenplay.

Your thoughts?  And Dexter this year......WOW!!!!!

Dexter kind of fizzled out for me once they killed off the character who I will not spoil here.  It was going awesome and then turned into Serial Killer True Romance and the last few episodes weren't really ABOUT anything.  That said, the ending was a total gut-punch and a gamechanger, for sure.  

Anyway, I have long thought that a Vince movie was the money idea.  Rock was reportedly developing a Boogie Nights-style TV show about the 80s wrestling scene for NBC but that seems to have vanished.  But Vince himself is a such a character that you could easily do a movie about him. 

And I think, but don't quote me on this because I haven't had any caffeine this morning and could be totally out to lunch, that Ready to Rumble was supposed to originally be a loosely-adapted version of Mick Foley's life before it went completely off the rails during development.  It's been a long time but I thought that's what I had heard before it came out.  

101 comments:

  1. I'm currently in the beginning stages of developing a TV show / and or / comic book about the WWE's Attitude era and how it related to the times - Mortal Kombat, EXTREME comics, HBO late Night, Howard Stern, etc, all came of age more or less right before the WWE entered the attitude era. Stay tuned.

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  2. In the intro to Foley is Good, Mick mentioned that he wrote a script adaptation of Have a Nice Day, read it, and came to the conclusion that it sucked. Maybe a real script writer could do a better job with it, though.

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  3. Not really related to the topic here but speaking of wrestlers and movies, but did anyone else catch the CM Punk interview on the Nerdist podcast where he mentioned he was in (very, very) preliminary talks with Marvel to write a Punisher movie?

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  4. I would totally watch a series/movie about the 80s wrestling scene. I just think it would never be made "honestly" because too many guys would be protected. The drugs, sex, etc.

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  5. When I win Powerball, I am hiring Aaron Sorkin to write "Wrestlemanic! The Vince Macmahon Story."

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  6. Speaking of dream projects - writing that book into a movie would be excellent. So far the only real way I've figured out how to "Crack" a nearly 500 page tome into a servicable 2 hour movie is to do an "American Splendor" thing, where you mix up interviews, actors, stock footage, and a few other things to create a quality texture that may leave out details, but still feel true to the personality behind the book.

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  7. I miss the 90's.

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  8. The issue at hand is it would be to hard to recreate WWE, WCW, ECW, Japan, etc on a movie screen. The atmosphere would be almost impossible to duplicate. Not to mention the liscensing issues.

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  9. The Von Eric family tragedy would make a great, albeit depressing, film.

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  10. If WWE didn't already own everything related to ECW, I bet you could get away with doing a Bernie-styled "based on a true story" movie of ECW, maybe get some real-interviews about Tod Gordon and Paul Heyman with Hat Guy, Faith No More Guy, Fritz Capp, Dave Scherer, and the Magee brothers, and build the movie around that

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  11. Who plays Vince, that's the question? Michael Pitt. Kid's just weird enough to pull it off.

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  12. Michael Shannon.

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  13. Who the fuck would watch a Chris Benoit movie if he never kills his family? Why? Because he idolized a degenerate and had a 5 star match in Japan? That movie makes zero money. The only wrestling bio movies that would work would be Vince, Foley, and Bret Hart. And Bret's movie would only work if Montreal accounts for like 90% of the movie.

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  14. Harrison Ford.


    Trust me, it works. He'd do the "YOU'RE FIRED!" perfectly.

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  15. You also need some scenes of Bret picking up women in bars.

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  16. Have you seen a Harrison Ford movie lately? He would say that line with all the ferocity of a field mouse. He is more suited to play RVD these days.

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  17. I don't know. That subject seems kind of simple. It's not hard to figure in how it all related. We just came out of a shitty economic decade in the '80s where things had improved only slightly from a worse '70s. The Soviet Union had dissolved, so there wasn't a tangible enemy anymore. Suddenly, the economy goes boom with the tech bubble. When the economy is better, and there aren't any wars to fight, people aren't looking for targets to direct their aggression towards, and they focus it outwards into other outlets. The hyper-violence is overlooked because of a general loosening of societal standards.

    Couple that with the audiences for those media (video games, comics, cable TV, etc.) all maturing from their various births in the '70s and '80s and you can see where most of that came from. Comics obviously debuted way sooner, but the idea of the "adult comic" didn't really become a major thing until the '80s with Swamp Thing, TDKR, and Watchmen.

    Compare that to the '00s where there was a concerted effort to pull back and reestablish a moral certitude in entertainment with so many plots involving "evil terrorists kidnap a bunch of people, or do something crazy". There was still an undercurrent of social anxiety cropping up, mostly in the torture-porn horror films, but the sadism was mostly directed at one target instead of the lackadaisical focus of the '90s.

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  18. Be serious. No one would go to see Bret's movie. It would only be popular in Canada.

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  19. The Rock, Hulk Hogan, and Vince McMahon. Those are the only three successful bio pics I ever see being made. Even Austin's probably wouldn't do as well as most expect.

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  20. I was suggesting a movie more about Montreal than Bret.

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  21. I don't what would be interesting about a Rock movie. It would be one big wankfest.

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  22. I love Rock but really there wouldn't be any drama in it. He was destined for success since he stepped foot in a ring. He succeeded at football, wrestling, and now movies. The biggest adversity he faced was the "die rocky die" chants.

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  23. I think "The Wrestler" is about as close to that as you are ever going to get...

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  24. Movie about Montreal. Written by Alan Sorkin. Directed by David O. Russell. Michael Shannon as Vince. Jeremy Renner as Bret. Channing Tatum as Shawn(Doesn't fit physically, but fuck it, it's the movies).

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  25. I could see him as Vince.

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  26. Or Christoph Waltz if you want to go a little older.

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  27. Get him some caffeine, problem solved. Ford plays the miserable asshole better than anyone.

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  28. You can lead the disinterested actor to caffeine, but you can't make him drink it.

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  29. Doesn't fit the personality either. Channing Tatum has the personality of a block of wood.

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  30. I never paid attention to him until I saw 21 Jump Street. He was great. And I heard he was amazing in Magic Mike but I haven't seen it yet.

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  31. I want to see it just for Kevin Nash playing an aging stripper.

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  32. Yeah, I think Confucius said that at one point. Very true.

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  33. The economy in the 80s was not shitty. Things got shitty around late 89 after a market crash and into the early 90s. Go look at unemployment and GDP comparing late 70s and mid 80s. Things improved dramatically.

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  34. or Christopher Walken if we want to focus on the crazy Vince of the last four years or so.


    Waltz could probably play anybody he wanted to, though. I never liked and hated a guy so much as I did him in Inglourious Basterds

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  35. Speaking of movies, I saw Django Unchained last night and it was great. Will someone please lock Tarantino in a room with Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes and enough cocaine to kill Jake Roberts? He is not allowed to leave until he has written a wrestling movie.

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  36. Have you seen Django yet? He is amazing in it. Hoping we get a King Shultz spin off movie.

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  37. A movie about Russo written by M. Night Shamalamadingdong. It would have...


    ...a twist!

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  38. And after it won Best Picture, it would lose the title the next night to a David Arquette movie.

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  39. "...enough cocaine to kill Jake Roberts?"


    Is that amount even a real number?

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  40. I'd hardly call getting cut by the Stampeders as succeeding at football.

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  41. Semi-related question


    How has the Rock not ended up in a Tarrantino movie?


    He seems born to deliver that dialogue

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  42. He was not good enough for the pros but he played on the hurricanes and won a ncaa title. That's a successful football life

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  43. I rented Magic Mike over the weekend..it was kind of a disappointing movie in that it ends just as it really gets going. Magic Mike the character is also just kind of there.

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  44. Rock really has come into his own as a movie star in the past few years. Who knows? Quentin says he's got three more movies he plans to do before he packs it in...

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  45. I really like the Aaron Sorkin idea. I think he'd get a good handle on wrestling from the promoter's perspective.

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  46. He was on the Hurricanes on a National title winning team. He didn't turn out to be Warren Sapp but he was pretty good.

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  47. ah, not yet. I divorced the one person I went to Tarrantino movies with. I'm hearing it's one of his finest, though.

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  48. He started ONE game. He was an okay player on a great team. His presence on the team did not have any real bearing on their success.

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  49. To be fair, he didn't start because Warren Sapp played the same position.

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  50. And I doubt he stops there. Hollywood retirements are just as bad as wrestling ones. Outside of Sean Connery, Gene Hackman and Shawn Michaels, who else has stuck to their retirement on their own?

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  51. I think TV is the way to go for any fictionalised portrayal of the wrestling world. I think a Sopranos/Boardwalk style drama about the gradual fall of a powerful promoter could work.
    Set it around 1980, the kingpin (a cross between Vince Sr and Fritz Von Erich) of a fading major promotion (modelled on AWA) struggles to deal with increased competition, the dysfunction of his sons/top stars (modelled broadly on the clique) and the legacy of the dirty tricks he used to rise to his position in the first place.
    The audience surrogate would be a Cornette/Heyman style manager just breaking into the business who forms a friendship with the most level-headed son (modelled on Triple H).
    I think Ray Liotta would be good as the promoter. Not sure about who I would want for the other roles. But I think it could work.

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  52. Well you can look at it anyway but a scholarship player for the university of Miami Is a 1%er for football success.

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  53. If the show was on network tv it would be awful. It would need to be on a pay channel to be any good but I don't see it happening because there is no audience for it. There are basically 4 million wrestling fans in America (unless raw ratings count canada then it's less) and half of them wouldn't watch any kind of quality show. Also despite the fact that the actual history of pro wrestling is oneof the most fascinating things ever its hard to imagine any non fans giving a fuck

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  54. I really liked it too, but the lynching mask scene was weird to me. It was like a blazing saddles scene dropped in the movie. Really awesome flick though and leo and sam fucking jackson steal the show

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  55. Benoit would make for a horrible movie. I guess taking nancy from kevin Sullivan and then killing his family are the only interesting things about him. I'm a fan and still like watching his matches but a biopic on cb would be a major bore.

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  56. Everything in hindsight makes Benoit that much more interesting. Jericho summed everything up nicely in his second book when talking about Benoit.

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  57. I disagree - "slow descent into madness" is always a popular story. Simply start off with your stereotypical All-American who simply tries to work harder and put more effort in than anyone else, and show how some of his choices (such as insisting on taking chair-shots unprotected, in order to make them "look better") ended up taking a tragic toll on him.

    It doesn't have to be a documentary or biopic on Benoit himself, just something obviously "inspired by actual events". They could choose to make the early form of the character the nicest guy that ever lived, or a guy that had violent tendencies all along. It'd be interesting to see a post-script kind of ending, a few years after the main-character kills himself and his family, where family, friends, and fans are STILL discussing whether or not the self-destructive lifestyle and short-sighted decisions were to blame for his final actions, or if they merely exacerbated a pre-existing mindset.

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  58. Bret would go see it enough to make it's budget back.

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  59. Call me crazy, but I could definitely see Hugh Laurie playing a Vince-esque character - maybe not in terms of physically looking like him, but in terms of bouncing back and forth between being a miserable asshole and a corny goofball.

    He could help Jimmy Snuka get away with killing his girlfriend, coerce his wrestlers into taking steroids, and then laugh his ass off at simulated necrophilia.

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  60. Sounds like a bad rip off breaking bad and not as interesting a story. I would rather see chris back in the nirtos on 24/7

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  61. You know the scene from Beyond the Mat where Vince is encouraging Droz to puke? I imagine that's how he acts during sex. I need to see that acted out on film.

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  62. Rearrange the casting. Michael Shannon as Bret (his Boardwalk Empire character has Bret's smug self-righteousness to him), Jeremy Renner as Shawn Michaels, and maybe Ray Liotta as Vince.

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  63. Except Breaking Bad was about a totally different thing. An asshole who was broken by his constant fucking shit up in his life who returns to his previous asshole form (and becomes an even WORSE asshole) when he fears he is going to die and decides to shed what little morality he has holding him back to become a giant monster of epic proportions...

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  64. Jerry Lawler I always thought would be fascinating. Not a fan of his, but theres certainly some cool material throughout his career. Of course, the Lawler/Kaufman/Letterman stuff was covered in Man On The Moon, but a more extended take on it would be good. Plus coming back from the heart attack would be a great bookend.

    By the way, just finished watching this season of Dexter just a few minutes ago. Whoa. Has the show and the characters gone too far?

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  65. I think Dynamite Kid is the logical one to make a film if you were going for a 'Raging Bull' 'The Wrestler'-like prequel about a man who came from nothing, had it all and then left with nothing. I always thought that post-Gladiators-era Russell Crowe would have been perfect for the role. Although 'Robin Hood' suggests he may have struggled with the role. Maybe Tom Hardy?

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  66. Or maybe the Von Erichs. If you could prevent the audience from slashing their wrists en masse by the time Kerry blows his brains out.

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  67. There would be so many twists it would actually be a linear movie with a sensible plot.

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  68. Any wrestler who made it big after coming up the old-school territories/travel-the-world way COULD make for a good movie. It's a classic, if cliched, pick yourself up by the bootstraps, anything is possible, American Dream type of story.

    But you're right, Benoit was not a figure that would be seen as charismatic or compelling the way Jericho or Foley would be in a film adaptation of their books.

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  69. He was also hurt a lot during his college career. He had NFL talent but injuries lost him in the shuffle of one of the most talented college defenses ever.

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  70. Kid ends up making it bigger than anyone ever in the same business that almost tore his family apart in his childhood?

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  71. SPOILER ALERT....

    That King Shultz spinoff....it'd kinda have to be a prequel, wouldn't it?

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  72. They already made a movie about Hogan. It's called "The Wrestler." And Darren Aranofsky wanted Hulk to play in it, too. He was inspired by the 107,000 people at the Silverdome who watched him slam 800-pound Andre.

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  73. Yep. Last film was Welcome to Mooseport. He's a writer now.

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  74. Those two would probably have a twist with the trailer too. All the adverts make it seem like a creepy sci-fi thriller and when you see it, BAM -- lesbian romcom.

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  75. It'd definitely hafta be on HBO, Showtime, of FX-type channels. But I think more non-fans would flock to it than you think, so long as it's quality. People always seem to love shows that take you behind the curtain. Throw in a pseudo-mafia Don and crazy characters and you could have a winner.

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  76. I'm pretty certain he said movie because that whole line of discussion was about how Punk didn't feel that Punisher ever got the movie he deserved. I don't know, that character is so completely "meh" to me, oh look...a guy with lots of guns and a grudge, Hollywood has never seen this before!

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  77. Did someone say Boogie Nights? A movie like that based on the very beginning of Vince's empire could be great. "I will never put a wrestling show on video tape Lord Alfred!" I'm just not sure who could have an ass in their cock in the driveway...Alundra?



    Honestly a Benoit movie made with what we know now is infinitely more interesting to me than a sappy "make good" story about climbing the ranks and achieving the dream. Start at WM20 and document the fall, that's some interesting character development as the guy descends into madness.

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  78. "You're not the boss of me, Vince. You're not the king of Hulk. I'm the boss of me. I'm the king of me. I'm Hulk Hogan. I'm the star. They are my big pythons and I say who goes over!"

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  79. Fuck! Of course that's the line to steal!!!

    *sad*

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  80. Now I'm at work just imagining that whole movie with wrestlers. "You feel that? You don't get that without the RX32 modification. We do that right here in the store, very small price! Ya feel it? Go ahead, let it move you. It moves The Rock!"

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  81. "Five or Ten?" "If you want me to rip my shirt off, it's five bucks. But if you want me to Hulk Up, it's ten."

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  82. Have you ripped your shirt off already tonight?

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  83. Terry Bolea from Tampa!

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  84. "Stop saying wrestling! Why are you doing this to me? I am a sports entertainer! I am a sports entertainer!"

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  85. There is no way that Jerry Lawler knows what Pulp Fiction is.

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  86. People who read the book knew that ending was coming the moment (character) found the (object) in the church during the first episode. This season was a lot like the WWF Invasion angle in the sense of you were left asking yourself "how did they fuck such a simple concept up?" The bait-and-switch opening from the first episode pissed me off, (main character) so willingly accepting what they find out about (main character) in a "ah shucks, it's cool" kind of way pissed me off and I would say that the ending sets up for a great final season, but that's what I said about Louis and his Ice Truck Killer hand. I was expecting Louis to be a psycho copy-cat serial killer (with his girlfriend being the first victim) and be Dexter's "Trinity" for this season, but no... it's random James Bond villain #275-B... and they even fucked that up. Also, I *love* the one minute scene they gave (detective character) and (detective character), who are all of a sudden buddy-buddy despite being at each others throats last season.

    Between them acting like season 5 never happened, the entirely pointless-except-for-the-final-five-seconds season 6 and Harrison being more annoying and derivative from the main plot than Rita was, this show has fallen several notches down my list of all-time greats. After season 4 it was Dexter and The Shield battling it out for #1, but thankfully that mental fight will never have to be waged inside of my head ever again.

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  87. Yeah, I wasn't even alive in the 80s and I know the economy was not shitty. Patriotism was blaring, we just killed Communism, it's no wonder Hulk was so successful.

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  88. YankeesHoganTripleHFanJanuary 7, 2013 at 8:39 PM

    How about a biopic about Randy Savage and Elizabeth, it could be called "Madness" or the rise and fall and rise of Shawn Michaels, which would be called, naturally, "The Showstopper"

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  89. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_1980s_recession

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Monday_%281987%29

    That market crash was in '87.

    So what you're saying is, we had a good three year stretch in the middle of the decade, from '83 to '87, sandwiched in between a recession at the beginning and a sluggish recovery from a market crash at the end. Being better than the '70s isn't an accomplishment. The '70s were a very bad decade in terms of economic growth.

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  90. One of the things that makes a wrestling adaptation is that the rules of kayfabe are very hard to translate dramatically unless you already know them. I've been working on a wrestling horror story that works amazingly well until you get to the in ring stuff and all of its layers of illusion, anti illusion, etc.

    The Vince idea could probably work because it's easy to cast the territory owners as out of touch hucksters who clung to rasslin' while Vince is the towering visionary that understands storytelling, drama, spectacle etc etc. Also you have plenty of antagonistic characters in wrestling from Ted Turner to Hulk Hogan himself. Hell, you could basically make it a sprawling epic about two of the biggest egos who achieved so much, and destroyed even more.

    Foley's seems interesting, but only in a late 90s movie of the week kind of way. It would end up a lot like the terrible Jesse Ventura movie that basically said "what a crazy ride that was" after every anecdote. To make it interesting, you would have to include the idea that Foley is nuts, give it the self referential treatment, and make it about persona, self destruction, yadda yadda.

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  91. I'm sure you're right

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  92. I've recently taken up referring to any movie that Gene Hackman is in as a Gene Hackman movie.

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  93. "As the credits rolled, the audience spontaneously rose to their feet with a round of applause. I saw men, women and children with tears in their eyes. Afterwards, as I was leaving the theater, an usher confided in me he thought it was the greatest movie in the history of the movie business. The next day, after fielding numerous calls from agents and directors wanting to meet with me, I answered the door to find Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels standing on my door step, asking if I had a copy of 'the movie'. After viewing it, Flair, with tears in his eyes, shook my hand, while Shawn said he hoped to make a movie as good as mine one day."

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