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  You Cannot Kill David Arquette Wrestling With His Conscience
Year: 2020
Director: David Darg, Price James
Stars: David Arquette, Patricia Arquette, Courteney Cox, Christina McLarty Arquette, Ric Flair, Dallas Page, Jack Perry, Rj Skinner, Rosanna Arquette, Richmond Arquette, Luke Perry, Jerry Lawler, Nick Wilson, Vince Russo, Coco Arquette, Tyler Bateman
Genre: DocumentaryBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Back in the nineteen-nineties, David Arquette was the most promising member of the acting Arquette clan, with seemingly grand vistas of opportunity opening up before him: the thespian world was his oyster, and he looked set for a great career. The reason you now think of him, if you think of him at all, as the dumb cop from Scream speaks volumes for the way that career turned out, and all that early potential has been squandered. Arquette places the blame for this lack of success squarely on a publicity stunt that occurred in the year 2000, when he was promoting his then-latest movie Ready to Rumble, a wrestling comedy. He was crowned champion...

This Hollywood interloper being handed the championship rankled mightily with the notoriously dedicated wrestling fans, who look back on the incident as the point when their sportutainment ceased to be in any way taken seriously by the wider world. But this documentary begs the question, when was it ever? If you were not invested in wrestling as an aficionado, then what did it have to offer you? The fact that they employed writers to pen the narratives for the combatants to act out was surely a bigger reason for the lack of being taken seriously than anything Arquette could have done, and the fakery to keep things interesting may have backfired, but was always there.

Certainly the physicality of pro wrestling was not in doubt, these guys (and girls) really flung themselves around and suffered for their exertions too, but it was a theatrical experience and an outsider might have advised the fans to take more of the show in their stride rather than get furious because the script didn't go the way they wanted (see also: Star Wars fans, Star Trek fans, Doctor Who fans... okay, most fandom, really). Arquette, however, was a fan who got to participate and indeed, um, "win", and it patently sticks in his craw that he never received any respect for his publicity stunt. Once again, a question is begged: why the hell should you be respected for that?

We catch up with him in this documentary as he has recently recovered from a heart attack, and as the job offers for acting have dried up significantly and he certainly will never be close to A List again, he has a brainwave: go back to wrestling and prove that he was no fluke, and genuinely felt passionately about the activity. When he decides this, he is in his mid-forties and out of shape, so the story follows him as he claws his way back into the upper echelons of the rankings, or so Arquette hopes. As it is, we see him scrabble around in the lowest reaches of the "sport", embarrassingly beaten up in someone's backyard event, or doing street wrestling for cars stopped at the traffic lights in Mexico. All the while family and doctors alike express concern for his overall health.

That's mental as well as physical, because backstory strongly hints the hippy lifestyle he was born into did not really offer him the best grounding in his formative years, and the lack of stability fed into a general lack of good decision-making in his later years. Oh, and his brain has serious malfunctions, apparently. Is this the best set of circumstances to take up wrestling? Hell no, and all the way through you are expecting a caption to come up informing us he never survived indulging in one bout too far. He's obviously trying to get his head straight by proving himself to others, others who largely don't give a shit about him, which is a hiding to nothing, and when he gets into the ring with a real thug who relishes making him bruise and bleed, which nearly does kill him, the pointlessness of the macho culture which has no real end is exposed. Yet if that was the motive for making this film, it doesn't come across in something more mondo movie than Ken Burns. Arquette is a nice guy, but that doesn't make him sensible: he seems desperate, and doesn't need to care about a brief movie promotion from twenty years before.

["Blue Finch Film Releasing presents outrageous and wildly entertaining documentary You Cannot Kill David Arquette on Digital Download 23 November."]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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