Sunday, January 4, 2009

This Mickey Ain't No Mouse, Part 2

Mickey's back! Mickey Rourke is nominated for a Golden Globe for his leading role in the current movie, "The Wrestler." Mickey has lost his boyish good looks and charm (alert: prevent your young children from gazing upon his visage during the Globes Awards telecast), but his acting ability is better than ever. You might remember him from his '70s and '80s movies such as "Bar Fly," "Angel Heart," and "9 1/2 Weeks"; one of his small roles in more-recent films was in "Sin City." I always liked Mickey, especially the fact that in his late 30s he temporarily left acting to become a professional boxer. Go, Mick!

I remember from years ago when the then-controversial "9 1/2 Weeks" was playing in theaters. My women colleagues were surprised that I liked the film.

"Rourke humiliates and mistreats Kim Basinger throughout the story," they would say to me. "How can you admire that?"

"But does he really?" I would reply. "Certainly she's a willing participant. And notice that in the very last scene, when Kim is permanently walking away from Mickey, he quietly cries as he watches her depart. Yes, he showed love in a an unusual manner toward her, but that was his way of showing love---and he DID love her, he wasn't merely using her." It's no accident, I think, that the director has Randy Newman's "You Can Leave Your Hat On" play in the background when Mickey has Kim dance for him in an earlier scene. Several of Newman's songs---e.g., "Hat On," "The Naked Man," "A Wedding in Cherokee County"---have the theme of apparent mental illness or social aberration displayed by a person who, when the song ends after more lyrics are heard, has become a more-sympathetic figure to the listener.

In short, Mickey Rourke is a cool dude who can do no wrong in my book. Well, that's if you discount his real-life drug addiction, spouse abuse, and money squandering.

-Old Gargoyle

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