Fake It So Real | Film review
A doc gets in the ring with a small-time wrestling league.
Gary Stewart, who wrestles in Lincolnton, North Carolina’s Millennium Wrestling Federation as “The Alley Ratt PITT,” calls professional wrestling “the great American art form.” If that’s true, then the MWF is one of this country’s great collectives of outsider artists. Fiercely independent, hopelessly broke, the MWF’s wrestlers are all physical or social oddities. One was born with most of his digestive system hanging out of his body; another uses his big ass as an in-ring weapon (and walks to the squared circle to the sounds of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”). A third moved to North Carolina to be with a fiancée who later filed a restraining order against him.
Robert Greene’s eye-opening documentary Fake It So Real chronicles one week in the life of the MWF and its wrestlers, following them as they train and work day jobs in preparation for Saturday night’s main event. Along the way, there are minor triumphs, major health scares, and a consistent and troubling current of homophobia (fans taunt the fed’s biggest heel with “Solar is gay!” chants). None of these wrestlers will ever make it to a national outfit like the WWE, but that’s not the point. Outsider artists don’t expect to be discovered; they just want to share their passion with the world. Greene’s film communicates their devotion—and their desire to hit people on the back with steel chairs.
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