Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday's Overlooked Film: GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling

Tuesday's Overlooked Film this week is GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.

No, wait. Hear me out.

Yes, I know GLOW: The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was trash TV. I know it was used to shill stupid products. I know it was filled with lousy comedy and ridiculous acting and situations. It's all those things.

But it was also big dumb fun. I was probably the perfect age at the time to enjoy it, 6th through 8th grade in elementary school. All my friends watched it and talked about it. It took the things already outrageous about "real" pro wrestling and made it even goofier, funnier, and fun.

But behind it all were real people with real aspirations and goals, people who weren't quite sure what they would do or where they would go with this. That's where the documentary comes in. The film covers the show from the idea phase through production to its TV premiere in 1986 and demise in 1990. You also learn the story of the ladies that played the major characters. The film strips away the glitter, make-up, and costumes to reveal young women who wanted to make their mark in show business, most of whom had no athletic experience whatsoever.

You not only hear their stories during the years the show was on TV, but you also see where they are today. The most surprising moments involve wrestler Mount Fiji, one of the show's good girls and GLOW's equivalent of the WWE's Andre the Giant: a lovable and large wrestler who is the heart of the cast.  When you see her today, wheelchair bound due to severely damaged knees from her time in the ring, in tears over how she misses her old friends, and later on shedding tears of joy when the girls reunite after over 20 years, you can't help but be moved yourself to see the camaraderie these women formed. As wacky as the show was, those experiences bonded them and united them in a way similar to that "sorority sisters," as one wrestler puts it. I finished the film feeling happy for the girls and what they've made of themselves, and realizing that maybe the show wasn't so terrible after all.

The film, coincidentally, is available on DVD and instant viewing starting today. It won the best documentary award at the San Diego Comic Con Film Festival last summer, and has been very successful at various festivals throughout the country (I saw it last week on the cable channel Logo). I know many will be apprehensive to spend time on a film about something so silly, but the people involved in the show and this film will surprise you.

Here is the film's trailer. Check out the film's official Web site here. Thanks!


FilmFather said...

I watched this last week. Full review coming soon, but in short I enjoyed it. I was a WWF fan in the '80s and had disdain for GLOW and their overt cheesiness (they made the WWF look like Masterpiece Theatre). But it was interesting to hear the ladies look back on their time in GLOW. While I'm glad none of them seem bitter or are down on their luck (I was waiting for a someone to show up a la Mickey Rourke in the The Wrestler), it did make the doc a wee bit less compelling. Still, a good doc that I will probably watch one more time before I finish my review.

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Phillyradiogeek said...

FF: there certainly is no TMZ-worthy sob story revealed in this doc, which I think is kind of why I liked it so much. I found it compelling that there weren't any women down on their luck. It's a surprisingly feel-good doc, which was a nice change of pace for me.


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