Baldwin: Cinema of the squared circle

Finally, The Rick has returned to Winchester.

Central Kentucky is renowned for bluegrass, bourbon, beer cheese, basketball, Boonesboro and our beautiful landscapes filled with thoroughbreds to the horizon.

For those in the know, our area and our great state have deep roots in the history and evolution of sports entertainment, aka professional wrestling.

Louisville has been a breeding ground for training up-and-comers before they are called to World Wrestling Entertainment.

Miss Elizabeth from Frankfort and Macho Man Randy Savage wrestling then out of Lexington with the popular International Championship Wrestling (1978-1984) spent many a night in the ring at Rupp Arena before venturing north to join the WWE (then WWF) at the beginning of the heyday of Vince McMahon’s 1980s rock n’ roll wrestling phenomenon.

In keeping with the gimmick of Hillbilly Jim, the rural town of Mud Lick was named as his character’s hometown.

Even excitement was found in Winchester in 2017 when wrestler Al Snow was pulled over and spent a little time with Winchester PD for an old charge which was taken care of.

For all of you rough and tough cinemaniacs who enjoy a good brouhaha of boyish banter and body slams, today’s feature, “Fighting with My Family” with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson should ring your bell as it suplexes into cinemas this week.

“Fighting with My Family” is the biographical sports comedy based on the 2012 documentary “The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family,” which tells the story of WWE Diva wrestler Paige and her journey growing up in a wrestling family in the U.K., while she and her brother dream to wrestle for the WWE.

Writer/director Stephen “The Office” Merchant led a solid cast with talents, Nick “Shaun of the Dead” Frost, Vince “Wedding Crashers” Vaughn, Lena “Game of Thrones” Headey and Florence Pugh portraying Paige in this offbeat comedy which is full of heart and headlocks.

Not enough testosterone and adrenaline rasslin’ film for ya? Here are some others that should tighten your turnbuckles.

Sylvester Stallone’s “Paradise Alley” (1978) is the comedy yarn of three brothers in 1940s New York City working to make it big in the tough world of wrestling and its collection of sleazy characters.

“Body Slam” (1986) stars Dirk “A-Team” Benedict stars as a broke and music manager who by a comedy of errors becomes a successful wrestling promoter and manager for wrestler Rick Roberts, portrayed by “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. It’s an easy 1-2-3 win of a flick that is silly but a fun romp in the ring.

“Beyond the Mat” (1999) is a documentary focusing on the routines in front of the cameras and behind the scenes of famous wrestlers such as Terry Funk, Mick Foley and Jake “the Snake” Roberts just for starts.

“Beyond” was controversial at the time because it revealed secrets of the wrestling industry by dropping the veil on its operations and performers that were living by a code of kayfabe (staying in character to sell the gimmick that it was real) up until that time.

“Ready to Rumble” (2000) stars David “Scream” Arquette and Scott “Hawaii 5.0” Caan as two pencil-neck wrestling geeks who take actions into their own hands to fight when their favorite wrestler is dethroned of his status.

Finally, “The Wrestler” (2008), stars Mickey “Rumble Fish” Rourke as Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a wrestler past his prime fighting to survive in and out of the ring with pain, age and regret.

Grab your favorite tag team partner to check out some of the mentioned flicks and relish in the bedlam of the world’s most popular simulated violent soap opera as good battles evil which is professional wrestling.

Do you smelllll what The Rick is cookin’?

Have a film-tastic day.

Rick Baldwin is a writer, filmmaker and film/music historian. He is president of the Winchester-Clark County Film Society (facebook.com/WCCfilmsociety). Find more from Rick on Facebook at facebook.com/ricksrhetoric/ and online at theintestinalfortitude.com/category/reviews-editorials/ricks-rhetoric. He is on Twitter @rickbaldwin79  and can be reached by email at rickbaldwiniii@hotmail.com.