It takes a heartless man to root against Mickey Rourke on Oscar night, but on Sunday, I was that man.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved “The Wrestler.” Rourke was downright brilliant as Randy ‘‘the Ram” Robinson, the washed-up professional wrestler living in a trailer and throwing his busted body around high school gymnasiums and American Legion halls to make ends meet.
But, as I watched Rourke sit solemnly in the front row of the Kodak theatre, I crossed my fingers and hung my hopes on another actor; knowing damn well, of course, that there was a small likelihood the hulking actor, dressed like a knight in white satin, would proceed to the nearest mountain of cocaine if Sean Penn’s name got called.
Well, Sean Penn’s name was called. And I celebrated.
Nothing against Rourke, I just heartily believe that Sean Penn gave the best acting performance of the year. All bets were off when the outspoken Penn convincingly transformed into Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man elected to public office in America.
However, most film critics disagreed with me and pulled for Rourke. It’s not hard to see that the story of the Ram clearly symbolizes the rise and fall of Mickey Rourke, a rising star in the ‘80s who burned out before his prime in a flash of indulgence and addiction. Rourke’s shot at Best Actor was like the Ram’s shot at redemption. Ultimately both men came up short.
The more I think about it, the more I realize that I too am an awful lot like Randy “the Ram” Robinson. My glory days as a Weekend Scene columnist are far behind me, yet I have returned, bruised and bloodied, looking for one last crack at redemption as the new Arts editor.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, or the Ram diving from the top rope, I am ready to face the future with my head held high.
Thankfully I only need to put together a newspaper section; no body slams, oxygen masks or staples to the flesh required.
Chris Kato, the Western Herald Arts editor, is a senior majoring in special education, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.