Thursday, October 18, 2012

The one with the muscles

Pumping Iron (1977)

I'm sure I must have seen bits and pieces of this back on HBO in the early 80s, but I've certainly never sat down and watched all of it before.  I was pleasantly surprised and genuinely enjoyed this.  It's hardly an objective documentary, but the glimpse into the bodybuilding world and the personalities involved is highly entertaining.  Found the majority of it very compelling and I now completely understand what all the fuss was about.  These guys seem larger than life and just so vibrant and above all else, interesting.  35 years later and this movie still really works and I can see why it started a craze and launched the fitness industry that we take for granted these days.

Found it interesting that Arnold is again completely easy to understand when he's just talking and not having to recite lines.  Sure the accent is there, but I find it adds flavor rather than becoming a distraction.  Very cool to see Arnold in his prime with all his ambitions straining to get out.  He really is at his best when he's just being himself, or at least acting out a stylized version of himself.  Arnold has this unique combination of arrogance, self-assurance, and sweetness that I really enjoy when it comes out on screen.  Loved the sequence at the end when he's riding back to the airport with Lou since it's many years until he's this open and relaxed on screen again.

This is one of those rare movies that I strongly recommend everyone give a try. Whether you like the subject matter or the people themselves or not, it's one of the best sports docudramas I've ever seen and this one will find a slot in my movie rotation in the future.

Ahnold Quotient - 8
It's awesome to see him in his prime before his huge public success starts going to his head. 

Rewatchability - Every now and again
It's not something that I want to watch once a week or anything, but I could definitely see coming back to this every couple of years at least.  Particularly fun to watch it in the context of recently watching another of his movies.

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