See the video every wrestling fan can’t stop talking about, but don’t be surprised if it also leaves you green with envy…
For the past two days I’ve had people asking me over and over again if I’d seen a certain YouTube video. So let this post definitively state that YES, I have indeed watched Max Landis’ Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling essay, and think it’s pretty great. But first, why not give it a watch yourself if you haven’t yet.
Hollywood wunderkind Max Landis gives a lengthy rundown of Triple H’s career, and casts dozens of cool people to help him drunkenly retell it all from memory. He fills the video with a huge group of friends to recreate wrestling history, simultaneously explaining why sports entertainment has the capacity to be the greatest long form storytelling in American fiction. There’s also some great mini-deconstruction of folks like Undertaker, Daniel Bryan, even the unmentionable Chris Benoit. Landis’ brief bit about how the boring perfection of John Cena is spot on, all the way down to an hilarious parody of Cena’s entrance theme.
And the casting is choice, gender-swapping the actor for almost every major role, and packing the film with cameos from celebs and non-WWE wrestlers alike. You may even see previous Laser Time guest DC Pierson in there. However, I hate to admit that I didn’t recognize any of the young women who star in it, and even a subsequent Googling didn’t get rid of all my confusion. Frankly, I felt old as hell, thinking “Are these who the kids like on their Disney shows these days?” The credits helped a little, but not much:
Along with dealing with befuddlement, I also had to parse out some feelings of frustration and envy at Landis’ production. Much like in his Death of Superman video, Landis is retelling a very long, complicated story from memory, stories I know all too well. Whenever he gets something slightly wrong, my nerdy defenses go into overload. “That’s now exactly right about how Trip and Stephanie got married! Why does he get to have all these famous people star in his video when he keeps getting the minutia wrong!?! Waaaah!” I start missing the larger points of his video, all because I’m more than a little jealous of him. How come the son of legendary filmmaker John Landis is also an expert in comics, wrestling, and everything else I love? Subconsciously, I can’t help but think it’s a little unfair.
If you’re feeling the same thing too about Landis’ work (I can’t be alone, right?), I suggest taking a deep breath, counting to 10, and letting go of every tiny flaw you spot. Because even if he gets a few things wrong – which he openly admits to in both essays – he makes great, overarching points about some of my favorite entertainment. And if I ever need to explain to normal people why wrestling is so special, or why Superman comics can be boring, I now need only pull up YouTube. Though maybe I’ll watch alongside them, just so I can point out how that’s not exactly how Superboy’s origin worked…
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