If you’re like me and have attended a public university in Iowa, or if you’re unlike me and know stuff about sports, then you have heard of Dan Gable, the wrestler/coach/beefydude extraordinaire. Yes, well, apparently he was awesome and amazing and beat everyone at everything ever except this one time that haunts him to this very day. Duh. Ok. So there was a documentarian/Gablehead who followed Gable around and documented him and made his documentations into a documentary which I watched at the Landlocked Film Festival. It was called “Freestyle: The Victories of Dan Gable” (dir. Kevin Kelley).
It’s true that as a “somewhat” bookish, flimsily built lady who knows less than your average household domesticated canine about wrestling, or indeed about sports in general, I *may* not have been the target demographic for this film (see use of the word “indeed”), but you know, my Hawkeyes inspire the drunken blood-lust in me that froths the whole city into a soupy piranha tank in heat on certain Fall Saturdays. I mean, I’m a nerd, not a corpse. My point is that I love men savagely injuring one another in front of large cheering crowds. The more vicious the better. Like, give them maces or bear-traps, please.
So I have this to say about the documentary: wrestling needs to allow people to hit and/or kick and/or bite and/or stab because apparently it is more boringer than my old U of Iowa gen ed class, “The History and Calculus of Etiquette”, which was taught by Dr. Penny Cilin, PhD, who was literally mold.
Speaking of mold, The. Pace. Was. So. So. So. Slow. I actually grew a beard. The film outlined your standard Wikipedia facts about Coach Gable and I guess ran out of time to cram in any interesting information. Even though the filmmaker had followed his idol around like the unshakable awareness of our own mortality that dogs every adult into a terrified paralysis on a daily basis (or is that just me?), he captured exactly zippo of his supposed passion for this sports legend, nada of Gable’s intimate personal feelings, and found zero common thread to shape his narrative except the very lame “victories” thing.
By the way, I KNOW that Gable HAS intimate personal feelings because he was there at the screening and read a tear-jerking letter from his late mother to the audience, fighting off his swells of heaving emotion with every breath. Even super-jocks have feelings…possibly even super-feelings. These gentle giants have athletic hearts that allow a greater capacity for weeping. The guy is waaaaaay compelling, dude! So, NO EXCUSE! THIS MOVIE SHOULD HAVE BEEN INTERESTING! Shame on you, heartless director! What happened? I’ll tell you: you got too caught up in the riches and glamour of the independent documentary game and lost sight of your roots, lost touch with your soul! Shaaaaaaaaaaame!
Also, Go Hawks!