Southern Discomfort: Wrestling on the Indie Circuit

"Good"

Southern Discomfort: Wrestling on the Indie Circuit Review


If you've ever dreamed of putting on a rubber mask, gaining about 150 extra pounds, and hurling yourself into a 115-degree high school gym in the heat of the Alabama summer, then by all means consider Southern Discomfort for you.

If that's not quite an apt description, you'll likely find this one-hour documentary a bit less of a thrill, though any moviegoer will probably find something to like in Southern Discomfort.

A minor companion to Beyond the Mat, Southern Discomfort spends a day with amateur (and former pro) wrestlers in the backwaters of 'Bama, as they prepare for an evening of matches that includes local favorites, women wrestlers, and an appearance by former WWF star The Iron Sheik. Just like on UPN, all the pomp and ridiculousness is here, sans the pyrotechnics and with only a hundred or so fans an attendance instead of tens of thousands.

While the stunts are so awful that it's painfully clear they're the product of one too many TV dinners, that's kind of the point -- these guys are so cheesy, they don't even realize it. Unfortunately, Fred Olen Ray spends far too much time inside the ring, documenting the various matches, as opposed to taking us truly behind the scenes. As a result, the performers eat the attention up -- playing to the camera as if they're on a pay per view special. It's an ironic commentary, but it wears thin well before the hour is up.

Perhaps the best part of the film is people-watching the stands. One wrestler openly complains about the fans, cursing that they never bathe. The dentures, tattoos, and mullets on parade here are too numerous to count and the laughs are many, all at their expense. Then again, as the owner of the ring/promoter puts it, "me being a college guy and all," perhaps I should look to something a little more highbrow next time out.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 60 mins

In Theaters: Tuesday 26th November 2002

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Fred Olen Ray

Producer: Fred Olen Ray

Starring: Khosrow Vaziri as Iron Sheik, Fred Olen Ray as Freddy Valentine

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