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The story of some film… >>>

The story of some film… # Armwrestling #

Or “The story of some sport”, or … ()

Holiday reading for an armwrestler. Americans and Canadians love sport, that’s obvious. What’s more, the American film industry is the largest in the world, which means that the majority of best sports movies are produced in the United States and Canada.

Although I’m not a film critic, I let myself formulate some theories about sports movies. The thesis about the US and Canada producing the majority of the greatest sports movies ever cannot be undermined. Have you ever seen a Romanian sports movie? Or French, or German?

Probably not! In Poland, there was this film called “The Boxer”, telling a pretty dramatic story of a popular Polish athlete. The action takes place at the time when Polish boxers were quite successful. It was long time ago…

Correct me if I’m wrong, but in the USRR sport was pride and joy not only to ordinary people, but also to the authorities, yet not a single sports movie produced there would reach European or world movie theatres. In modern Russia there was made a movie portraying a great ice hockey player, Valeri Kharlamov, entitled “Legend No. 17”.

Hungarians only once shot a sports movie, which showed a dramatic story of their water football players’ struggle before, during and after a match against the USRR team.

To sum up, if there were produced any sports movies in the countries of the former Soviet bloc, they were mostly meant to praise achievements of national athletes and touch upon social matters. The scheme would always be the same, the movies were made about athletes or teams which were already successful and enjoyed wide popularity. Never the other way round.

American and Canadian films would follow the same scheme. That is, films were based on stories of athletes or teams, that were already known and loved by everyone. By these means, the movies did not need any promotion campaigns.

Americans (and Canadians, too) are crazy only about few sports with hockey being on top of the list. The themes of hockey films, including a brilliant picture “Young Blood”, vary from sweet stories about old couches coming back to the business and starting working with young athletes, to stories portraying particular athletes, their careers and personal lives.

You can feel that these movies were made out of love for hockey!

Yet, the scheme is the same. Each film tells a story of a sport which is already loved and enjoyed by fans. I’m emphasizing this rule, because it’s very important. You’ll see why in a moment.

Boxing movies, including “Rocky”, are a separate category as most often they are based on a story of a legend, or a slightly embellished life history of an idol, his times and environment. Such movies are supposed to move the audience, show the drama during fights and send a clear message: “work, pray and respect your friends.”

But still, the movies are based on true stories.

Baseball is yet another example, being deeply rooted in the American culture. Besides, no one apart from Americans (and Cubans) understands the rules of this game. It is so important to Americans that during the Second World War, when men joined the army, women started to play baseball! Not only did women want to provide entertainment, but most importantly they wanted to keep this tradition alive! Their aim was not to “eliminate” their husbands, sons, or brothers from the game, but to replace them during the war. Of course, a movie based on that story was created and enjoyed great popularity.

Dear readers, now I’d like to share with you some sociological considerations.  

In the US and Canada sport has always been more popular than cinema, because it unites people from various generations more than art. This is due to the unique, family, peaceful and safe atmosphere at the matches. After all, whole families come to matches, while places in the prestigious boxes are passed ”from father to son,” like valuable collections.

It’s hard to imagine, for instance, a grandma watching a concert together with her grandchildren. However, watching a match together isn’t hard to imagine, is it?

At this point we can draw a general conclusion.

Each sports movie produced in North America has benefited from the vast popularity and general knowledge about a particular sport that almost each American and Canadian has.

For true fans, sports movies were a kind of “extension” of sports experience. And it’s worth adding that almost everyone in the United States supports hockey or boxing.

There was, however, one exception…

Do you know which film I mean? For sure, you do!

Of course, I mean “Over The Top”! The movie was created when no one, except for truck drivers and a few fanatics, heard about armwrestling.

No Russian, nor Pole or Frenchman, who would armwrestle in a pub, could imagine taking part in armwrestling competitions.

That’s not all!

No other movie in the world has contributed so much, in such an obvious way to the creation of a sport discipline!
That’s not all! It’s also very telling that very many armwrestling champions have admitted that they started to armwrestle only after watching the movie “Over the Top.”

So claim the athletes  from almost all over the world.

For sure, many factors contributed to the popularity of the movie, including great Sylvester Stallone playing the main part, the social climate of that time, and the worldwide distribution of the movie.

As I have pointed out many times, armwrestling is a unique sport in every way!

Be patient, I still haven’t made my point.

Sensational discovery on the website “Hidden films”! Of course, it’s an American website.


It turns out that the movie we all considered to be the “cornerstone” of world armwrestling was not the first movie about armwrestling!

I mean the movie entitled “P.K. and the kid”, the storyline of which is less interesting than the story of the movie itself. Take a look at this website:

Well, here’s the sad truth: the story about “P.K. and the Kid’s” journey is far more interesting than “P.K.” itself. As previously mentioned, Sunn Classic Pictures was a family entertainment business, and the plot, at first, seems aptly tame. A teenage girl (Ringwald) runs away from home because of her abusive stepfather (Alex Rocco), whom her mother defends wholeheartedly. Surely, you think, the movie will end with the mother leaving the bad stepfather, and Ringwald will learn that running away isn’t the answer; after all, by the late 1980s, the epidemic of missing teenagers was impossible to ignore, mentioned on every news program and milk carton. But the film is too scatterbrained for that, too desperate to please all audiences. It throws in another cliched movie theme, the root-for-the-underdog sports saga. P.K. doesn’t suffer at all from running away; the first stranger she meets is a kindly pickup truck driver named Kid Kane (Paul Le Mat, of “American Graffiti” fame) who’s on his way to an arm wrestling tournament in Petaluma, California. He becomes a sort of father figure/guardian for Ringwald, and she tags along with him to the tournament.

Given the movie’s low budget, small ambitions and bland, tongue-tied dialogue (“Arm wrestling is the only thing I’m good at. It does something for me. It lifts me up above…everyone around me,” the Kid says at one point), most of “P.K.” plays like a Lifetime movie-of-the-week. And had it stuck to its sweet-tempered central storyline, it might have really reached people. But “P.K.” ultimately fails because of its wild shifts in tone. Rocco’s portrayal of the stepfather is so menacing–especially when he finds P.K., abducts her and locks her in the trunk–that whenever he is on screen he pushes “P.K.” into much darker territory. His altercations with Ringwald are quite violent–in an early scene, she fends off his sexual advances by spraying his eyes with cleanser, and later, she bashes him in the head with a wrench–and therefore not suitable for the “family” audience this movie was seemingly geared towards.

There’s also an ugly subplot involving the Kid’s wrongful arrest for statutory rape, when Rocco catches him gently dancing with P.K. at a bar, and plenty of overtones about P.K.’s budding sexuality and her fixation on the Kid as both a father and a sexual icon. This would be disturbing if it wasn’t staged in such silly, light farcical fashion, ie, P.K. playfully poking the Kid in the ass with a pitchfork.

There are fight scenes in ludicrous settings, such as a cannery that processes “squidburgers.” And the notion of the Kid winning the tournament, given, as Le Mat himself pointed out, the immense size differences between him and his central opponent, Bazooka (Charles Hallohan), is ridiculous..


That’s the review and story of the movie. If such a movie was to promote our sport, probably we would not be meeting each other at armwrestling competitions. 

It’s good that the movie was distributed only in few places.

It’s good that Sylvester Stallone played in “Over the Top”!

It’s good we keep meeting each other at competitions!

And you know what?

Now, you’re making another movie entitled “Our armwrestling in the world!” Now, you’re building a story of a beautiful and unique sport!


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