Fake it so real documentary review
By Jonny Clare
I don't think it's a coincidence that the title card font is interchangeable with one you'd see in a Western. Because the guys in this movie are the last of the cowboys slinging in the wild west. They're a dying breed on an ever changing landscape. The Civil War is over, the frontier age has gone, but no one told these rebels.
It's unfortunate that the movie industry went to Boot Hill. This excellent documentary, similar to its key protagonists, and in spite of glowing reviews from The New York Times, The New Yorker and the late, great Roger Ebert, have had a tough break. Just like independent wrestling has to compete with an iron horse like WWE, independent movies struggle in a marketplace where only 3D blockbusters and animated features survive.
Although, those trivial matters won't affect the wonderful cast of characters we meet in Fake It So Real. They've taken their knocks in life and managed to turn them into something positive. Like J-Prep, an indie wrestling crusader, who has a Dusty Rhodes physique and a promo to match. He was born prematurely with underdeveloped lungs and diagnosed at the age of ten with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, for which he received injections in the backside leaving him with a larger than average posterior. How does he deal with this affliction? His entrance music is Sir Mixalot's, "Baby got Back".
When life gave him lemons he made lemonade and he wasn't alone. There's "The Queen City Classic", Chris Solar, who's had even worse childhood health issues and has a dad wanting him to get a real job. He uses wrestling to escape and relishes the moment when fans chant "Solar is gay".
One person who doesn't appreciate having his sexuality questioned is the rookie babyface, Gabriel Croft. He gets ribbed about it as much as he asks for advice. Gabe's another one who's had a hard life, being the child of alcoholic parents, then having his heart broken and suffered subsequent legal problems as a result. All of these guys have lived with pain their whole lives, so taking bumps makes perfect sense. Needless to say, they know how to sell.
Gabriel is the star of the documentary and arguably the star of the MWF (Millennium Wrestling Federation), based in Lincolnton, North Carolina. He wants to make it big, but is under no illusions, he knows he's a million miles away. He provides wisdom beyond his years and is at the center of the films best visual metaphor, when he's seen training hard only to light up a cigarette. Because you need to be in top physical condition to destroy yourself.
But it isn't just about him. They're a family held together by the promoter, booker and fellow worker, Jeff Roberts, better known as "Outlaw", a moniker synonymous with years gone by. There's also his hilarious right hand man, Zane Riley, sporting a Grizzly Adams beard and a "Fear the Beard" t-shirt. Also providing laughs and astute insight is weapons enthusiast, Pitt, and his masked alter ego, El Superbeasto.
For fear of being monotonous, I'll refrain from writing about all the characters, whether it be HoJo, A.G Smooth, "The Natural" Brandon Powers, Van Damage, "The Father" David Hayes, his son and referee, Tyler Hayes, or Tommy, a guy who wants to tryout. Them, as well as their loyal, uncynical fans, each have a story to tell in varying ways. However, I have to mention the "Asian Assassin", Mikado, who's as Japanese as Tensai, but is spotted eating sushi before the show. He truly lives the gimmick.
The only other people worth crediting are the director, Robert Greene and his crew. They've made a film with the proficiency of Howard Hawks, the violent spirit of Sam Peckinpah and the heart of John Ford. I strongly implore everyone to buy or rent this movie on iTunes and give the rightful parties the opportunity to continue living the American dream.
Producers: Douglas Tirola, Susan Bedusa, Robert Greene
Director: Robert Greene
Cinematography: Sean Price Williams, Robert Greene
Editing: Robert Greene, Deanna Davis
Music: Nikki Shapiro
Runtime: 97 minutes
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