October 8, 2007

The Guardian The Observer obsesses about naked male wrestling in the movies.

Apparently, there's lots of it.

Well, we all remember "Borat," and I can remember Oliver Reed and Alan Bates naked-wrestling in front of the fire in Ken Russell's version of the D.H. Lawrence film "Women in Love." ("According to Russell, Bates and Reed were fairly evenly equipped, although Oliver 'kept nipping behind the curtains between takes to give nature a helping hand'.") But what else is there? There's at least the new David Cronenberg movie. ("Having won hearts as hunky hero Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Viggo really shows what he's made of in Eastern Promises, grappling his male assailants with nothing more than a patchwork of tattoos to cover his rippling body.") And: "If you type 'Jason Statham' and 'oil wrestling' into Google (as I have often done) you will be directed to several sites featuring a scene from The Transporter in which the geezery star, stripped to the waist, smothers himself with lubricant before going mano-a-mano with his slippery opponents in a sticky slick."

Should I be reading The Guardian more? I love the subject matter but the prose is making me a little ill.

UPDATE: I'm told this piece is actually in The Observer, a separate paper. Sorry, I'm not reading the paper. I'm reading a website. And the big red "Guardian" logo makes me think I'm reading something called The Guardian. This mistaken perception has been going on for years.


cyrus pinkerton said...

Your link is to The Observer not The Guardian. Although The Observer is part of the Guardian Media Group, it is a separate paper.

For the record, at the 2007 British Press Awards, The Observer was named National Newspaper of the Year.

Ann Althouse said...

Thanks. That doesn't really come across on line. I'll make some sort of note in an update.

rhhardin said...

Wouldn't it be easier to just join the drama club?

dirty dingus said...

Most British newspapers have a separate name for their sunday version and frequently have very separate editorial staff etc. even thoug they share the basic journalism and back office bits (including the website these days).

E.g. The Telegraph and the Sunday telegraph. Times / Sunday Times.

The Guardian and Observer used to be two completely separate papers one published Monday-Daturd (Grauniad) and the other on Sunday (Observer) but in 1993 the Grauniad's owners bought the Observer to get themselves into the Sunday market. You can read the histors of the two papers here http://www.guardian.co.uk/newsroom/story/0,,728445,00.html
and here http://www.guardian.co.uk/newsroom/story/0,,728443,00.html

dirty dingus said...

in the above post: for Daturd read Saturday

Simon said...

"Should I be reading The Guardian more?"

Sure, if you routinely read the New York Times and think "you know what would really improve this paper? Being a little further to the left." I used to rather like the Grauniad, but ever since Iraq, it's started to reach a point where it's like reading a MoveOn press release.

SMGalbraith said...

This grabbed me (head hold to be sure): The sight of naked men wrestling has always been one of cinema's guilty pleasures.

Three words: Celebrity wrestling matches.

It'll make millions.

Okay, four words: Naked celebrity wrestling matches.

That'll make billions.


The Drill SGT said...

I'll take a cut of the billions with:

"Wrestling with the Stars"

Coed tag team

something for everybody. Even better than Beach Volleyball

ricpic said...

Just because the gay mafia, speaking for the rest of us, declares that male wrestling is homoerotic, doesn't make it so.

Matt Brown said...

Ditto what ricpic said. Kermode is probably speaking for many of his sexual orientation, but not for hetero males. And, Jason Statham wears pants in that scene from "The Transporter," so he ain't exactly naked.

Trooper York said...

Captain Oveur: You ever been in a cockpit before?
Joey: No sir, I've never been up in a plane before.
Captain Oveur: You ever seen a grown man naked?
(Airplane 1980)

paul a'barge said...

to give nature a helping hand

pun intended?

Ralph said...

Despite its trite plot and choreographed fight scenes, The Transporter was a surprisingly good movie.

Did the ancient Greeks slather up with olive oil before wrestling nude? Modern Turks wear pants.

Dewb said...

Describing the Transporter scene as mano-a-mano naked oil wrestling really glosses over the sublime ridiculousness of that sequence, the high point in a sublimely ridiculous movie.

Statham's aim in slathering black crude oil over himself and the entire floor of the warehouse slash generic bad-guy hideout is not just for some homoerotic wrestling fun, though he does grapple with a few opponents at one point.

No, the trick is that he's torn his shirt to strips and lashed bicycle pedals to his bare feet, so he'll be able to run and perform kung-fu maneuvers at high speed while the entire army of bads slips, flails, and falls over, unable to find purchase on either the floor or Statham man-flesh.

That aspect of the fight is probably what gives it its Google rating, but I could be wrong. Also, how exactly is Statham "geezery"?

Dewb said...

Whoops, I just watched clips from that scene, and it turns out my memory was a bit exaggerated. His feet aren't bare, and he didn't need to lash the pedals on, since they had clips. Can't remember what he did with his torn up shirt.

Kirk said...


"for Daturd read Saturday"

ROFL!!! You shouldn't have said anything, we were all assuming you put "Daturd" in deliberately to go along with "Grauniad"! :-)

Cedarford said...

I can't visualize naked men wrestling without instantly going to Peter Graves as creepy gay Captain Oveur in "Airplane" hitting on the young boy.

Nothing quite beats the comedic "squicky factor" of the gay pederast as he smoothly segues into "Have you ever seen a grown man naked?", "So, Joey, do you like to watch gladiator movies??"

Ralph said...

Can Titus give us an expert evaluation of the beefcake in 300?
If it's all shaved, you might as well rent some gay porn.