So, the only proper way to start this out it to declare that I had absolutely no idea that Deputy Dewey from Scream could kick the shit out of me or that David Arquette was involved in wrestling what-so-ever. Obviously, this outs me as not being a fan of wrestling as YOU CANNOT KILL DAVID ARQUETTE makes it clear that Arquette’s involvement with wrestling back in the early aughts was a certified Big Deal, for good or ill. As a child of the ‘90s, I’ve always had some amount of knowledge of the world of the squared circle because let’s be real – professional wrestling was inescapable in the ‘90s and it was near impossible to escape life as a youth in that decade without even some passing knowledge of the WWF but this is one bit of knowledge that. Thankfully, director David Darq and his team are here to provide all the education I could want about the subject.
Now, with that said, intrinsic knowledge of the wrestling industry isn’t a requirement going into YOU CANNOT KILL DAVID ARQUETTE as the doc does a great job of providing the necessary details and emotional responses from hardcore fans about Arquette’s past involvement with the industry to help catch you up fairly quickly. Talking to fans on the indie wrestling circuit, we quickly come to understand the reasoning behind their at times unfair feeling dislike of Arquette – he’s a “Hollywood pretty boy” who stepped into their world and was awarded the highest honor that could be bestowed, basically for showing up and making an idiot of himself. For a culture that clearly values the literal blood, sweat and tears shed while spending years training this is a big slap in the face. This documentary sees Arquette on a mission to earn that respect like the rest of the wrestling pantheon have – by shedding that blood, sweat and tears no matter the cost or potential danger to his life. As we learn throughout YOU CANNOT KILL…, David Arquette suffered a heart attack not two years before filming this, so his family and doctor are understandably concerned about the situations he’s putting himself in.
One of the things that allows this documentary to succeed at what it’s trying to tell us is by not sugar coating how wrestling fans feel about him, even if it’s hard to watch and hear sometimes. It really provides an emotional depth to Arquette’s wrestling redemption arc that I don’t think would be present if these points were glossed over. It’s clear by the end of the documentary that even Arquette didn’t fully comprehend just how much work and pain went into being a full-time professional wrestler. YOU CANNOT KILL… is a remarkably well shot and edited film, carrying the viewer along a tumultuous journey that never stops throwing fascinating people and situations in front of the camera for us to witness, whether it’s the technique behind a proper throw or watching a Home Depot full of fluorescent tubes explode over Arquette’s body time.
YOU CANNOT KILL DAVID ARQUETTE is a wild ride, taking you from home-made backyard wrestling setups to the hallowed training grounds of Lucha Libre in Mexico back to Hollywood as we follow Arquette in his bid for wrestling legitimacy. Going in I wasn’t a fan of wrestling, didn’t have a clue about David Arquette’s wrestling presence but on the other side found myself not only interested in Arquette’s return but with wrestling culture and the fandom that surrounds it.
DIAG RATING 5/6 – hilarious, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful documentary.
You can check out more of our Fantasia coverage here:
The Drunk in a Graveyard guide to the TEN FILMS we are most psyched about at Fantasia Fest 2020.
Our interview with Detention (返校) director John Hsu 徐漢強 is here, coverage of Brea Grant’s 12 HOUR SHIFT and Ryan Spindell’s THE MORTUARY COLLECTION can be found on our latest podcast episode, and coverage of Amelia Moses’s BLEED WITH ME, 上田慎一郎 Shinichiro Ueda’s SPECIAL ACTORS, Neil Marshall’s THE RECKONING, short film DOPPELBÅNGER here, as well as our podcast episode on Justin McConnell’s documentary Clapboard Jungle here. And be sure to stay tuned for more coverage coming up soon, and follow our social media to keep up!
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