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The tail end of the summer is often a tough time at the movie theater. The blockbusters have all made their entrances, their massive opening weekends filled with quips and explosions, while the fall/winter blend of awards contenders and winter blockbusters (yeah, they’re a thing now) has yet to kick off. Most of the time, that means that the cupboard is bare.

But what it ALSO means is that I sometimes get a chance to see something I otherwise wouldn’t – the occasional surprise gets a moment in the sun.

That’s what I got with “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” a heartfelt and surprisingly sweet indie comedy/drama that is somehow both completely out of place and utterly at home on the late summer big screen. It’s the story of a young man willing to do whatever it takes to follow his passion, despite living in a world that refuses to believe he’s capable of, well … anything, really.

It’s a modern-day fable, a reimagined “Huckleberry Finn” with loads of swampy charm and a captivating cast that effectively balances triumph and tragedy while introducing audiences to a lead actor unlike any we’ve seen. It’s a film that helps us to understand that sometimes the bad guy is actually good – and that the good guy sometimes yearns to be bad.

Published in Movies

Have you ever wondered where pro wrestlers come from? From what kind of environment does a professional wrestling star spring?

“Fighting with My Family” tells the story of how one particular wrestler – WWE star Paige – came to reach the pinnacle of her chosen pursuit. Written and directed by Stephen Merchant (yes, THAT Stephen Merchant), the film is based on Max Fisher’s 2012 documentary “The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family.” It’s the story of an English family and their devotion to the world of professional wrestling – a devotion that would help one of them reach the top of the heap.

It’s also a funny and surprisingly heartwarming story about what it means to be a family and about how those family ties can both help and hinder efforts at self-betterment. Sure, it’s a bit of on-brand fantasy courtesy of WWE, but instead of feeling calculated and cynical, there’s an unexpected sincerity to it that proves quite engaging.

Published in Movies

CARMEL – A local indie wrestling impresario is bringing his promotion to his hometown to mark its first birthday.

Pro Wrestling Takeover will mark its first year with “Almost Home,” a show taking place on Sept. 22 at the Carmel Elementary School – in tandem with the town’s Carmel Days celebration – at 7 p.m. The bill will feature eight matches and include a wealth of up-and-coming wrestling talent.

The promotion has operated largely in southern Maine since its inception; this is their seventh event overall, but “Almost Home” marks the first PWT show in the greater Bangor area.

PWT is the brainchild of Ryan Waning, a longtime resident of Carmel and veteran stand-up comedian. It was born of a time when he was away from the stage, caring for his ailing father, and searching for a creative outlet. PWT – in many ways the culmination of a lifelong dream – was born of that search.

Waning was kind enough to spend a few minutes answering questions about “Almost Home,” Pro Wrestling Takeover and what it means to bring something he loves to his hometown.

Published in Sports

How do you tell the true story of a man who seemingly sprang forth from the mists of myth? How do you ground in reality a man whose life seemed in many ways like fantasy?

How do you do justice to a giant?

That was the daunting task laid before director Jason Hehir when he agreed to make “Andre the Giant,” the very first documentary project springing from the partnership between Bill Simmons’s The Ringer and HBO. And through well-curated archival footage and a host of interviews with people who both knew and cared deeply for the world-famous wrestler, Hehir executed that task to perfection.

Published in Sports

I've been part of several odd coincidences lately - one of which is directly related to the column I write in this space.

Published in The Sports Edge
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 11:50

WWE lands in Bangor

World Wrestling Entertainment hits the Cross Insurance Center

BANGOR The WWE was in town this past weekend, bringing their SummerSlam Heatwave Tour to the Cross Insurance Center on Saturday night.

Published in Sports

I was lucky enough to have a seat in the building as World Wrestling Entertainment made its triumphant return to the Bangor Auditorium on March 4. While I freely admit that I'm not a huge fan of professional wrestling, there's no mistaking the very real energy of the moment when it all unfolds in front of you live and in person.

This was a big show; even a relative neophyte such as I could recognize some of these names. John Cena. Chris Jericho. Kane. WWE Champion CM Punk. These are some of the brightest stars in the WWE galaxy and they were right here in Bangor.

The night's matches all had their winners and losers, but the particulars didn't really matter. It's all about experiencing the spectacle, and even if you aren't a follower of wrestling, you can't help but be swept up in the unapologetic passion of the true fanatics. 

Published in Happenings

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