You Cannot Kill David Arquette

 

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Devotees of wrestling would be better off seeing this film than reading my review.

 
You Cannot Kill David Arquette

  

It's only fair to say at the outset that anyone who believes wrestling to be a great sport is likely to have a very different take from my own on this documentary about David Arquette. I approached the film wondering if it would in effect be a companion piece to this year's Inmate#1: The Rise of Danny Trejo through being an off-beat biopic about an actor that stressed a different side of his life. But, whereas I appreciated the Trejo piece which studied his life as a reformed criminal, I felt unable to relate positively to this new work which is much more interested in Arquette's love of wrestling than in his acting career. You Cannot Kill David Arquette was made by David Darg and Price James but Arquette is himself an executive producer and his second wife, Christina McLarty Arquette, is credited as one of the producers. This encourages the notion that this documentary is something of a vanity project and it certainly plays as a work that for much of the time is asking viewers to admire Arquette as a man who, even if now middle-aged, is thoroughly macho and determined to prove his worth regardless of his past history.

 

Other members of the Arquette family do appear but only briefly, the focus being very much on David himself. It is suggested that Hollywood failed to further his acting abilities relegating him to such movies as the Scream franchise in which he continues to appear and it is true that early performances (as in the 1995 movie Johns) seemed to promise more than he has been allowed to deliver. Appearing as himself he is certainly the star presence in You Cannot Kill David Arquette, but the spotlight here is on the sport of wrestling. Back in 2000 when seeking to promote his film Ready to Rumble Arquette took part in this activity and, not being a professional wrestler, he angered fans of the sport by being allowed to bag a championship title in World Championship Wrestling. This film shows how out of love for that sport and a need to believe in himself he has now trained fully in order to be accepted as a true professional wrestler.

 

This documentary follows him through that training starting out in America, buckling down in Mexico and then returning to the USA for major bouts. He can himself be jokey about this: he declares that, as he looks back on 2000, he is sick of being a joke and thus now finds it preferable to be part of the joke rather than to be the joke. Nevertheless, even if these words are spoken almost light-heartedly, they actually suggest a real hurt to his pride and a deep need to redeem himself. That could have earned him both support and admiration but for the fact that everything we see of life in the ring suggests a revolting love of machismo with all the violence involved in that. Oddly enough, there is an acknowledgment towards the end of You Cannot Kill David Arquette regarding the nastiness of the sport and the inherent risk to life and limb. This view, one not previously expressed in the film, comes from Arquette's wife and, since she is one of the film's producers, it reveals the unacknowledged conflict at the very heart of this movie. This is not overcome by David Arquette's final admission that he is not a great wrestler but a true lover of the sport. Indeed, despite the reservations expressed so late on, by the close we are again meant to feel admiration as we read a statement telling us that in 2019 David Arquette was recognised as one of the top five hundred wrestlers. What it doesn't add is that he was No. 453!

 

MANSEL STIMPSON

 

Featuring  David Arquette, Christina McLarty Arquette, Patricia Arquette, Rosanna Arquette, Richmond Arquette, Charlie Arquette, Coco Arquette, Courteney Cox, Michael Mamoun, Ric Flair, Dallas Page, Jack Perry, Peter Avalon, Tyler Bateman.

 

Dir David Darg and Price James, Pro Ross Levine, Christina McLarty Arquette, Bryn Mooser and Stacey Souther, Screenplay David Darg and Price James, Ph David Darg and Price James, Ed Paul Rogers, Music Matt Glass and Dimiter Yordanov, Costumes Juan Guerrero.

 

One Last Run Productions/Kidz Gone Bad Productions/XTR-Blue Finch Releasing.
91 mins. USA. 2020. Rel: 23 November 2020. Available on VOD. Cert. 15.