Pumping Iron (1977)
This documentary (though it is said some scenes were faked) changed body-building and made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star. Schwarzenegger does ballet to improve his posing. There is 70s hair. Louis Ferrigno is trained by his intense father. There are bizarre opening credits and muscles and moustaches and sweat.
Gold’s Gym is grubby looking and full of body builders and no women. Yellow dungarees and other 70s polyester horrors are worn. Schwarzenegger is 28 and has won Mr Olympia for the past 5 years. Schwarzenegger compares working out to sex and works out in a prison. There are huge muscles and the word steroids is never uttered.
There are rabid cheering fans. Who are they? Schwarzenegger and some other guy are the designated villains. Apparently there are bodybuilders from Baghdad. One bodybuilder looks sad and inscrutable. Schwarzenegger is uncompromising, which is why he is a success. A nice guy is displeased. The designated villains preen. Incendiary topics (like steroids and a contest taking place in Apartheid South Africa) are not discussed.
TPTB know Schwarzenegger’s star quality. Louis Ferrigno is 24. He takes unknown pills and lives in Brooklyn. His deafness is barely mentioned. The body builders pose and preen like alley fighters. This film has charm despite the innate idiocy and insidious consequences. Various competitors have irreconcible expectations. The pain barrier is discussed. Schwarzenegger commands reverence wherever he goes.
The bad dude is resented. Steroids constantly go unremarked. A dude blows up a hot water bottle. Schwarzenegger speaks German, something we rarely see him do on film. Schwarzenegger has real intellectual conviction and eternal self-confidence and a manic quality. There is no intellectual opposition to him. Nobody discusses the personal consequences to bodybuilding.
People are visibly overwhelmed. Schwarzenegger wins and announces his retirement and smokes a joint. He and Ferrigno would go on to be the 2 biggest stars out of this documentary. I enjoyed this. It was a fascinating slice of a life.
“Your bike isn’t as good as our bike.”
“Lacks too many things.”
“We need Australia.”
“4 years to win Mr America.”
“Couldn’t do anything bad.”
“Largest bodybuilder ever.”
“Reading the muscle books.”
“King of the hill can only go down.”
“Never get this chance again.”
“I threw up many times.”
“Admiring what you’re going to show them.”
“6 compulsory poses.”
“Look like something Michelangelo cut out.”
Restless Virgins (2013)
This is based on a true story of a sex scandal at a prestigious prep school. There is bemused narration from the horrible ‘heroine’. She hates the horrible rich kids at her school. How does she afford the school? It is never explained. A scholarship kid gets expelled due to rich brats. Did he ever get back in? It’s not said.
This was not immensely impressive. The ‘heroine’ has terrible but justifiable insecurity. The lacrosse team create a sex tape and the ‘heroine’ makes it public. Oddly she is not arrested or expelled for revenge porn and she never apologises to the girl who was in the tape. Instead she mocks the girl who was in the tape. There is rampant hypocrisy, bribery, bad acting and awful people. This was mediocre.
“Pretty rich popular girls.”
“Pictures of rich dead people.”
“A tradition of excellence.”
“A place of history and possibility.”
“I don’t confer social status on you.”
“You’re letting yourself care.”