Beyond the Mat (1999)

R   |    |  Documentary, Biography, Sport


Beyond the Mat (1999) Poster

A heartfelt documentary focusing on the day-to-day lives of professional wrestlers, some on the rise, some on the wane, and others fighting for their lives.


7.6/10
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28 March 2000 | lou-50
Normal but different
Love them or leave them - misfit politicians, wayward spouses, and yes, professional wrestlers. Perhaps no other spectacle involves personalities as much as professional wrestling and Barry Blaustein's insightful "Beyond the Mat' explores those who thrill us with their lust for mayhem. Men and women with self destructive appetites are drawn into this entertainment venue - those who make a profit like the billionaire promoter Vince McMahon are called smart and shrewd, those who are swallowed up by their maladaptive behavior like the pathetic Jake'the Snake' Roberts are simply called mad. "Beyond the Mat" doesn't uncover anything we don't already know - the loud-mouth, hyped interviews, the staged choreography of flying bodies and colliding men against steel, and the spurting blood sacrificed in the name of violence. What we do see are the showmen who strut their stuff inside the ring, more dedicated to their brotherhood and craft than you can imagine. The battle wearied Terry Funk is a throwback to the self-managed, up-close-and-personal hero that Blaustein and a good number of his generation grew up with. The much younger Mick 'Mankind' Foley is a creation of the media driven World Wrestling Federation, a syndication leap years away from the Amarillo, Texas of Terry Funk. The deeply hurting Jake the Snake has fought so many battles in his long and troubled life that his only solace is crack cocaine and fighting in the ring. But the blood that Funk and Mick and Jake spill is the same blood of wanton brutality. It is the spectacle of harm and harming others. And yet in a cruel and twisted way, "Beyond the Mat" reminds us that wrestlers are as normal as anyone, just different. 'Mankind' and 'The Rock' can talk pleasantries before a match, before each tries to pulverize the other in front of their stunned wives and children. Terry Funk, as a gesture of forgiveness, repeatedly begs an old nemesis to referee his supposedly final match - a match in which he knows he will lose and will get brains bashed in. "Beyond the Mat' is a well made chronicle of wrestlers who care less if they win or lose (the promoters see to that) but more on how they play the game.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Barry Blaustein, after the presentation screening for Vince and Linda McMahon, Vince didn't have any problem with the film. It was Linda who remarked the tone of movie felt too negative of the pro wrestling industry as a whole and could have shown more positive aspects but was not phased by it overall. Once the movie got picked up for a limited theatrical release and the distributor brought add space on the USA network to air during Monday Night Raw, Vince felt the (then) WWF was being cheated because they received no compensation for their cooperation and the movie stood to potentially make big revenue. He demanded USA pull all scheduled adds and that USA not air any at anytime. Perhaps out of retaliation the distributors then created the tag line "The movie Vince McMahon does not want you to see!"


Quotes

Paul Heyman: Tonight, we have a chance to say, 'Yeah, you're right. We're too extreme. We're too wild. We're too out of control. We're too full of our own shit.' Or we have a chance to say, 'Hey, fuck you, you're wrong! Fuck you, we're right!' Because you have ...


Crazy Credits

Closing dedication: This film is dedicated to my wife, Lorrie and our children, Kasey and Corey, who have stood by patiently with love and support as I blabbed about wrestling for the last five years.


Alternate Versions

The DVD edition of Beyond the Mat has several minutes of deleted footage, plus audio commentaries by Mick Foley & Terry Funk


Soundtracks

I'll Be Seeing You
Written by
Sammy Fain, Irving Kahal
Performed by Rosemary Clooney
Courtesy of Concord Records

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Documentary | Biography | Sport

Box Office

Budget:

$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,532 24 October 1999

Gross USA:

$2,053,648

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,053,648

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