Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Calamari Wrestler


Just when you think you've seen everything worth watching, a movie shows up to prove you wrong. Very wrong. The second I read the synopsis for The Calamari Wrestler I knew I had been mistaken.

A giant squid attacks a Super Japan Pro Wrestling Champion following his title match. That's right, an actual giant squid. As it turns out, this giant squid used to be a human being/pro wrestler named Iwata. Long thought to be dead, Iwata is back! Now he's The Calamari Wrestler and he's headed back into the squared circle.

Finally, a movie about a wrestling squid. My High School dreams have come true.


Minoru Kawasaki is my new favorite director. Apparently, besides cephalopods wrestling flicks, Kawasaki also makes movies about office worker koala bears and soccer goalie giant crabs. The latter film has been likened to Forrest Gump...only with a giant crab. Who knew this was a genre?

The Calamari Wrestler is surprisingly entertaining. The wrestling scenes are really fun and it's even more fun to watch him not wrestle. Being a human stuck in a giant squid's body isn't easy. However, according to this movie, it isn't that hard either. The sea monster walks around town without anyone batting an eyelash. People wave to him and sell him produce like he's just a regular Joe. He has tentacles. A lot of them.

Calamari spends most of his time trying to hook up with his human ex-girlfriend. Let me tell you, if you haven't seen a sex dream sequence involving a pretty Japanese woman and a giant, ten-tentacled sea-dweller, then you haven't seen The Calamari Wrestler. You also probably don't have the internet. Weird.



In between his matches, Calamari goes shopping, takes business meetings, and re-enacts his favorite scene from Sixteen Candles.


This movie is great because it's so absurd and everyone in the movie completely goes along with it. A squid is wrestling. No questions asked. He speaks in a muffled, distorted voice and runs around in big, black wrestling boots. Just another day in Japan. The costume itself is crazy. It's really great. Every time the expressions change on the giant costume, I was in tears. The eyes open and close, widen when he's supposed to be surprised, etc. A couple of the tentacles are controlled by the actor's arms but the majority of them swing around as free as Ewan McGregor in an indie film.

The action scenes are well-shot and exciting. The wresting is awkward, obviously. The two actors are hidden under gigantic foam squid costumes but still do their best to put on a good match. As a pro wrestling fan (ex-rabid fan), there were certain things I looking for in wrestling movies. Some movies with wrestling, Ready to Rumble and that one episode of "Family Matters" with The Bushwackers, for example, don't always capture the excitement of squared-circle action.

Calling the moves correctly, creating the right atmosphere, and making it look more real than it is, are all huge pluses. This movie does an okay job with all three. What The Calamari Wrestler lacks in an accurate representation of the "sport," it makes up for in comedy. [Author's note: This whole discussion is ridiculous. Haha. Seriously, what the hell are we talking about here? How real the fake portrayal of fake sport was? Wow. Has it come to that?] Where was I, oh yeah, COMEDY!


Just look at who Calamari faces in his first match!
If that doesn't make you laugh, rent something else. This isn't the movie for you.

Still with us? Good. Now it's time to talk about the TRAINING MONTAGE! That's right! You heard it here first. Capturing the essence of Rocky Balboa in all of his training montage glory, Calamari trains for his big match by hitting the weights, riding his stationary bike, doing sit-ups, and running out in the cold a lot.


This movie was funny as hell and really enjoyable so I'm going to tell it like it is. Nothing I write is going to be as funny as this movie. Are you even reading these words? Look at that picture! It's a giant squid lifting a barbell. What more do you need? Either this movie isn't for you or this movie was MADE for you. Just like it was make for me.

MinceyFresh, if you read this blog, buy this movie! It's only 3.25 used on Amazon, pick yourself up a copy! Taylor, you need to get this too. Show it to your friends, throw a movie night, bring a date. I once watched Gymkata with a group of friends and we laughed until two in the morning. This will make you laugh until three (if you start it at one-thirty).

Here's a test for the readers out there who aren't quite sure if they should watchThe Calamari Wrestler or not. Would seeing this in a movie make you laugh?


You know better than I if this is the movie for you. Here are some of the film's strong points for you. I wouldn't want you to make an uninformed decision.

Strong points

1. The story is asinine.
2. Squid/human sexy dream sequences.
3. It's a movie about a pro wrestling squid!
4. The wrestling's entertaining (if you're into that sorta thing).
5. You finally find out who would win between a squid and an octopus!
6. There are no rapes to be revenged, no castrations, no hangings, and no victimized females.
6 1/2. Side note: there are, however, some victimized oceanic creatures
(if you're into the sort of thing).

When you think you've seen everything worth seeing, go see this movie.

That's about all I've got to say about this one.

I'm just going to leave you with this image.



Have a good week. Thanks to Whitney, Don, Ross, and Zeynup for their freakin' awesome feedback for last week's discussion on I Spit on Your Grave. Now I have other disgusting, stomach-twisting movies to sit through. Also, thanks to Kim, Taylor, J.J., Keith, Jonny, and Rob, for their opinions on The Strangers. I'm trying to wrap up a post on the French movie Them which a lot of people have recommended to me since that post. It should be up soon. To everyone else, go click on the links I just posted, share the blogging love.

Also, keep voting on poll question. As it turns out, I was the ONLY one who thought it was "awesome" (a fact that might have wanted to keep to myself) and the rest of the votes were split between "Indiana Jones 4 was a solid contribution to the series" and "Indiana Jones 4 was "sub-par, lacking, lousy, lame, etc." Sorry Spielberg, maybe you'll have better luck with Tintin. Yikes. 'TIL NEXT WEEK!

5 comments:

Keith said...

::add to queue::

::move to top of queue::

::wait impatiently::

My entire life has led up to this movie. Bless you, sir.

Bless you.

Kim and Nick Grafton said...

OMG. That is all. Its too bad you didn't find this movie when we were in that crazy moviestore in china town. I might have changed my opinion about it. I will probably have to netflix this movie. PS, I *heart* Ewan McGreggor and any and all references to him

Taylor said...

My-my my my my. You know I was always the toughest to sell these types of movies to out of our old crew; but Scott, you always managed to park me on the sofa for such films, and I never once regretted it.

If you need to privately email me to let me know you loved this movie so much you pooped your pants while watching it, go for it. I'm sure I will be pooping away once I see it as well.

Magnifique.

elgringo said...

Taylor, trust me, you will get a huge kick out of this movie...or a huge kick from me if you don't. :) Please keep your eyes open for my private e-mail.

Keith, seriously.

Kim, watch a movie called The Pillow Book. After that movie, I realized that I'm more familiar with his penis than my own...

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