Pumping Iron
Guy Lochhead, 10/09/10
Part-scripted documentary-style film about 1975 Mr. Universe contestants preparing for the showdown. Features Arnold Schwarzenegger just at the point where he was moving into acting. Very strange film about a very strange sport. The producers told the bodybuilders that without drama the film would be boring, encouraging them to lie and exaggerate their stories. This, coupled with the fact steroids were then legal, resulted in a film that is completely over-the-top and unbelievable, with one of the sleaziest soundtracks I’ve ever heard. It was the year Schwarzenegger won the competition, and he is the star here too, dispensing quote after quote of otherworldly arrogance (including, memorably, “I am coming day and night”). This is a bizarre fim. I don’t like the blurring of fact and fiction. It doesn’t seem to help anyone, and results in a stuttering, fake narrative. That anticipation of audience expectations has misled cinema (and almost every other publicly-consumed medium) since its inception. The studio model is backwards. Plus, professional sport is weird. I don’t want to include it.

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