Saturday, January 31, 2009
Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler, plastic surgery and clearing other people's rubbish from a Glasgow tenement
Went to Clydebank last night, to the dubious Empire multiplex (next to the really scruffy but surprisingly excellent Shanghai Express restaurant) with Mag and Laura to see the new Mickey Rourke flick The Wrestler, which is, as Springsteen's song says over the closing credit, a one-trick pony of a movie.
Two tricks, actually. Turned by Rourke, much praised for his turn as, ahem, Randy The Ram, and the even better Marisei Tomei, who is in fact absolutely phenomenal. Compare and contrast her approach to single-mum-pole-dancer-with-heart-of-flint to the horrendous attempt at an almost identical role by Demi Moore in Striptease.
The film itself is a slight wee thing: Over the hill grappler with horrendous personal life can't give up the game, despite heart bypass surgery (!). and....that's it, really. There's an estranged daughter and the aforementioned dancer, Pam/Cassy. The details are great, though. I will flinch from now on every time I see a staple gun. The deli counter scenes are only ever heading in one, unnervingly bloody direction. The Jersey boardwalk is straight from The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle. And Rourke, once the prettiest boy on the block (Rumblefish, which is magnificent, Angel Heart, and the risible 9 and a Half Weeks) acts out his own fall from grace (descent into substance-fuelled madness, a daft attempt to become a boxer, dreadful plastic surgery) mercilessly. There's no beauty left. Just acting ability.
The gang of lads in front of us, who were, let us say, suspiciously chatty throughout, were not impressed, shouting abuse at the ending and at cinema staff on the way out. Although they liked the wrestling match with the staple gun (and barbed wire, broken glass, ladder, tables, chairs etc). Mick McManus it wasn't. Raging Bull (comparisons have, crazily, been made) it most certainly wasn't. A bleaker Rocky, without the thrills, maybe.
All of this was spinning around my mind this morning as I donned a boiler suit and rubber gloves and began clearing the bottom of Magnus's close of an entire houseful of someone else's rubbish. There since Christmas, none of the other residents had attempted to shift it. Complaints to the factor had borne no fruit. Notices on the front door had provoked no reaction.
I'm off home tomorrow, hurricanes permitting, and felt I couldn't leave the offspring in danger of verminous infestation or fire. It took half an hour to clear the rotting takeaways, hundreds of bottles, boxes, and general detritus. Whatever happened to pride in tenemental living? the legendary community spirit of the close?
When you live in a place like Shetland, it's easy to romanticise the appeal of the city. This week's stay in Glasgow brought back all the memories of what life here could really be like: the grinding bureaucracy involved in getting anything (like shifting dangerous rubbish) done; the difficulty and expense of finding tradesmen to do stuff to your house; waiting in for hours (I'm here from 12 until four in the fervent hope of a washing machine's arrival); the horrendous state of the roads (potholes deep as Australia), the sheer unhealthiness you see on so many faces. The traffic. The dirt. The crime, and lurking sense of threat, even walking to Tesco.
Still, friends and family are here, and it's always great to see them. And you can get to the movies. The Wrestler is worth a trip to Clydebank. Hey, there's a 24-hour Asda nearby!