Monday, October 5, 2009

We had been calling it Murderball, but you can't market Murderball to corporate sponsors.

Hello I am the movie encyclopedia and if no one else will see it, I will.

One of the classes I am taking in my college experience is Journalism 102: The Documentary-A Social Force. Pretty much everyone went into the class thinking it was the easiest A they are ever going to earn but I came into it hoping to see more of a genre of film I tend to avoid. That's right people, I dont like documentaries. Maybe it was growing up watching the bad history channel ones or the ones I was forced to watch in 1st-8th grade but to me they were just overwhelmingly boring. There was one exception though and that man's name was Michael Moore. I am a huge fan of his mostly because he takes an uninteresting (for the most part) category of film and makes it interesting and accessible to the everyman. In my Documentary class I am slowly learning that more and more really gripping and exciting documentaries are being made. One of those is MTV film's Murderball (2005)

If you have no idea what Murderball is, thats fine. A lot of people didnt even know it exsisted. One part Mad Max, one part speed, and one part endurance, this sport has slowly gained popularity and is one of the funnest to watch at the olympics. That's right, the olympics. But there is one thing that really sets it apart: the players are quadriplegic. Murderball's technical name is Wheelchair rugby. The US olympic team has also been the highest ranking team for a long time with such great names as Mark Zupan and Joe Soares. While they may not be household names to some, they are definetly hose hold names to a lot of people.

Murderball essentially is broken up between three different story paths. One focuses on the US paralympic team and its players as they train and battle leading up ultimately to the 2004 paralympic games. You hear the stories of how they got injured, how their lives are, how they cope and how they perservere. This movie drips hope from an IV and straight into your body. Even if you think you are having the worst day possible, these guys get out of bed every morning happy and excited for the day...AND THEY CANT SUCK IT UP!

The second tier focuses on Joe Soares, once a great player for the US team, after growing older and slower, is kicked off the team. In a huff he joins Team Canada as their coach in hope of whupping the pants off of Team USA. From minute one you KNOW he is the antagonist and proud of it. He essentially betrays his country because of a grudge. And while you want to hate Joe, the movie also shows his home life and you become closer to Joe and realize maybe he's just a tragic hero. A man who had it all and than it was taken away and at the first gleam of hope grabbed it. The moments with his wife and son are both hillarious and touching.

The third tier focuses on newly paralyzed Dirtbike racer Keith. With Keith you get an idea of how life is in the beginning. How you can go from so much to so little. An adult to a child in one fell swoop having to relearn everything. This is where issues like moving, mobility, changing clothes and even sex are discussed so that we get an idea of what its all like. We even see the mindset of hopelessness and hope at the same time:hopeless that he will never walk again but hope that he will. Its later on in the movie in an extremly touching scene, that we see how wheelchair rugby can really bring you out of a slump.

With great music, fast cuts, great personalities from everyone, this feels like a sports movie shot in a documentary style, not just a documentary. Even if you dont like documentaries, this movies overall theme of hope and the excitement that comes from watching these guys play, should be more than enough to garner picking this one up in the nearest bargain bin.


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