Beyond The Mat

( 2 )

Overview

In a rare foray into documentary filmmaking, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment produced this behind-the-scenes look at professional wrestling, shot on digital video by director Barry W. Blaustein, screenwriter of several hit Eddie Murphy comedies. An unabashed wrestling fan since childhood, Blaustein nevertheless takes an unflinching look at the dark underbelly of the "sport," as he shadows a trio of wrestlers representing three very different aspects of the profession. Mick Foley is a superstar...
See more details below
This VHS (Unrated) is Not Available through BN.com

Overview

In a rare foray into documentary filmmaking, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's Imagine Entertainment produced this behind-the-scenes look at professional wrestling, shot on digital video by director Barry W. Blaustein, screenwriter of several hit Eddie Murphy comedies. An unabashed wrestling fan since childhood, Blaustein nevertheless takes an unflinching look at the dark underbelly of the "sport," as he shadows a trio of wrestlers representing three very different aspects of the profession. Mick Foley is a superstar shown to be the complete opposite of "Mankind," his successful wrestling character. At work, Mankind is a bloodthirsty animal, but when his mask is off, he's a loving, doting father clearly worshipped by his two young kids, who are traumatized when they witness Foley being bloodied at an Anaheim, California, event. Terry Funk is a portrait of what Foley could become, a former legend now at the end of his career and in desperate need of knee surgery, but continuing to perform dangerous stunts in the ring. Jake "The Snake" Roberts, on the other hand, travels in second-class wrestling circles, a recovering drug addict who has a painful reconciliation with his daughter. Blaustein also interviews the World Wrestling Federation's boastful bigwig Vince McMahon. McMahon later tried to block the release and promotion of the film.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Chris MacDermott
Beyond the Mat bills itself as "The movie Vince McMahon doesn't want you to see." What's the World Wrestling Federation chairman trying to hide? Ever since his testimony several years ago that gasp! professional wrestling is indeed scripted, McMahon and his WWF have continued to push the envelopes of taste and physical endurance under the banner of "sports entertainment." Nobody denies that pro wrestling is a show anymore. But maybe McMahon doesn't want you to see the physical toll that the "fake" matches take on the performers. Beyond the Mat was not only shot backstage at wrestling events but also in the hotel rooms and hospitals where wrestlers live. Director Barry W. Blaustein, a lifelong wrestling fanatic, gained the trust of his heroes and follows them around, very quickly stripping them of their larger-than-life personae. We watch as faded legend Terry Funk refuses the strong advice of doctors and family to quit the game. He confronts the recently retired Mick Foley aka Mankind, Dude Love, and Cactus Jack with footage of his family's reaction to him being brutalized by The Rock with a folding chair. The sight seems to hurt Foley -- a devoted, loving father -- much more than any chair-shot. But the scariest footage captures former champ Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who chats openly about his crack addiction and the deep rift that his profession caused within his family. The convergence of acting and sports can take a very heavy toll, and Roberts's nonchalance about his problems is glaring proof of that. Beyond the Mat has plenty of body-slams -- behind the scenes and otherwise -- to please wrestling fans, but its dramatic impact will likely mesmerize non-devotees as well.
All Movie Guide - Andrea LeVasseur
Promoted with the tagline "The Movie Vince McMahon Doesn't Want You to See!," the documentary Beyond the Mat was challenged by the WWF mogul to halt its advertising campaign on television. It's not that the film views wrestling in any kind of negative light, it just brings some compassionate human interest to the brutal sport. It doesn't even attempt to question the deep-seated homoeroticism of the spectacle, but maybe that's another subject. Writer/director/interviewer Barry Blaustein clearly has respect and admiration for the individual wrestlers who participate, yet he sounds kind of embarrassed to admit his fascination with the sport. Although it covers a wide variety of wrestlers, the film's emotional focal point is Mick "Mankind" Foley. His human tragedy involves a conflict between a rising superstardom and a sincere commitment to his family. Even though the fights are obviously staged, his adoring wife and kids are still traumatized by the severe beating in the ring, which Foley is then made to watch on videotape. Blaustein is clearly interested in the sadness behind the lifestyle, with much time devoted to the wistful wannabes risking major injuries with hopes of one day making it big. The aging, drug-addicted Jake "The Snake" Roberts appears as a washed-up has-been, a warning sign signaling the results of constant body damage. Though not incredibly ambitious, Beyond the Mat does manage to get at the heart of the motivations behind this unique cultural phenomenon.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/22/2000
  • UPC: 096898635134
  • Original Release: 1999
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Presentation: Unrated
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Barry W. Blaustein Participant
Jake "The Snake" Roberts Participant
Terry Funk Participant
Mick Foley Participant
Vince McMahon Participant
Joanie "Chyna" Laurer Participant
Darren Drozdov Participant
Jesse Ventura Participant
The Rock Participant
Tony Jones Participant
Technical Credits
Barry W. Blaustein Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Nathan Barr Score Composer
Barry Bloom Producer
Michael Grady Cinematographer
Brian Grazer Producer
Shawn Holden Sound/Sound Designer
Ron Howard Producer
Michael Rosenberg Producer
Debra Marie Simon Co-producer
Peter J. Verrando Sound/Sound Designer
Jeff Werner Editor
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Beyond the mat!?!?!?this rules

    I have read the other reviews of beyond the mat and i belive that vince mcmhaon did try to stop this video but i guess he was too late to do anything he may have money&power but he hasn't the guts do do a thnag.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews