Thursday, July 07, 2005


Hey bloggers. Wrote another review for AICN that wasn't published...looks like Mrs. Mia Wallace is taking a nose dive. But in my defense, they had published five other Murderball reviews previously. Not that that usually stops them if they like the movie and want to promote it. Sigh.

Anyway, the important thing is that I help somehow. So please go see this documentary, and tell a dozen friends about it. Murderball is incredibly important, not only to my disabled community, but to all our communities.

Opens this Friday July 8th in New York and LA. July 29th in Santa Rosa. For your city, check

*Update: Watch the first 8 minutes here.


Most of this crowd has heard by now about "Murderball," the Audience winner at this year's Sundance and the front runner for the documentary Academy Award.

You all know that brilliant co-directors Dana Adam Shapiro and Henry Alex Rubin used Ministry and Ween music to accent their fierce story of betrayal, rivalry, nationalism, and above all, sports.

You probably get that this is an amazingly funny and riveting movie about all the things you never had the balls to ask a handicapped person such as "how's the sex life?" and "do you wish you'd died instead?" What you don't know is that when you walk out of the theater, you're going to want your own tricked out Mad Max quad rugby wheelchair for a mere $3,000. And that if you had one, even you my friend could get laid.

That's right. Instead of making you feel like crap about your fully capable body, you're going to want to be hanging out with these cool tough guys, cheering them on at their next extreme game (, and scoring their women. You might even wish you could play quadriplegic rugby, though I'm not personally that brave.

This film is so tricky that it makes you wish you were the Other. Those people whose eyes you never meet on the street, as if bad luck were viral.

Human beings are a superstitious lot, even the atheists. One trait we've all held in common is the desire to look away from other's misfortune: There but by the grace of God go I.

The habit is so ingrained that even those of us who know better fall prey to it. Case in point: My mother is currently in a wheelchair. We say currently, because she is still actively seeking treatment to walk again, and we have high hopes. The wheelchair has become second nature to me. I even sit in it when there is no room by her hospital bed. But one of the main reasons I am comfortable with it is because I know she doesn't believe she's in it permanently.

I left my mother's hospital room to go down the block to the LA premier of "Murderball." I walked past the red-carpet photographers into the lobby and was confronted by the sight of four cute guys in wheelchairs with gussied up models sitting on their laps posing for "Variety." What did I do? I LOOKED AWAY.

"Murderball" at its most subversive core is about the amazing ability we have to dehumanize those whose only real difference from us is a permanent chair makes them shorter. Not everyone in a chair is retarded, and most weren't born needing one. They hit a spell of bad luck, just like any of us could…just like most of us will love someone who does…and that thought terrifies us into stupidity.

As the movie hilariously documents, the only ones in a room with a wheelchair present acting retarded are the supposedly "normal" people. But that's not the focus of the film…it's just the aftermath. You may not even notice that the candy is nutritional.

"Murderball" is co-sponsored by MTV Films, and they have high hopes that their target audience will want to see these tough athletes fight. And hey, if you're not interested in the sport quad rugby, you're probably going to be pretty interested in the explicit sex training video and the swearing and sh*t-talking.

For those who doubted Team USA is swarmed by women, let me tell you the single one was swarmed with hot chicks and scored a dozen digits at the LA premier after party at the swanky W in Westwood. These blokes can really pound back the free booze...these are the type of bad asses you want to hang out and drink with if you're a guy, and date if you're a girl. If you're gay, I think you're just out of luck.

Remember, all of the stars were jocks before their accidents, and afterward they were more focused on physical rehab so they could grab their meat instead of their toothbrush. I talked to some of the infatuated women, and they weren't stupid…and they weren't feeling sorry for these studs. If you want to understand more, go see the film.

I could give away the plot, but suffice it to say it's "Friday Night Lights" meets "Word Wars" (which I thought even before realizing it is the actual editor from "Word Wars" and another ThinkFilm).

Expect big things to be coming from these hot-in-every-way co-directors. Henry was the one behind the 1997 doc "Who is Henry Jaglom?" I had the opportunity to speak to first-time director Dana Adam Shapiro at the after-party, and he is down to earth and full of heart. Next up for him is directing his own "The Every Boy," a stunning debut novel that I highly recommend.

I'm going to close with the result of the film: a standing O. And when I walked out into the lobby, this time I had no problem seeing the shorter human beings and grinning broadly into their beautiful eyes. I'm not saying pin a medal on me; obviously I'm messed up. And these guys could give a crap if I smile at them. But this miraculous, intimate and rocking documentary helped to change MY world.

Even better, when I crawled into Mom's hospital bed the next day to snuggle and tell her about the night before, she informed me she was going to get out of her wheelchair soon. I told her it was okay if she didn't; and that we'd get her a cool roller-derby chair so she could hit crap. For the first time in a long time, I saw that evil glint in her eyes of naughty, childish joy.


Lynne said...

You, my dear, are an amazing writer!

Kid Sis said...

Wow! Thanks! That's really great.

I was a little nervous about posting it. I put it up at IMDB's review area, and the only person who commented said it wasn't a useful comment.

How are you?

Lynne said...

I'm doing really well. I'm going to Traverse City, MI for a few days of fun (resort/lotsa lakes area). I lived there until I got sick, and I'm going to catch up with old friends and get a tan and look at sunsets.

How's Mom's rehab?

Kid Sis said...

Rough...she appreciates your support!

I'm sure it's hard to be away. But if it means she walks out of there...

Meg said...

Great review! I really enjoyed it. The summary reminds me of the work I've done at therapeutic equestrian centers for disabled riders...the only people who were uncomfortable or overly anxious about the situation were able-bodied volunteers. Our riders were bucked off and stepped on - it was nice to have the horses remind us that they don't care what the rider can do, as long as they know how to hold on. :) I can't wait for Murderball to come out in Seattle - I think it's supposed to arrive in a couple of weeks...

Kid Sis said...

Meg, that sounds so cool! Though Mom would definitely prefer the mad max chair. If you have a link to the equestrian therapy, I'll put it up on my site.

7/22/2005 Seattle Uptown 3 Loews 7/22/2005 Seattle Metro 10 Landmark

Meg said...

This is the link to the national organization - it's not the prettiest website, but it has all the info people need to find local centers, volunteer, etc.

Thanks for linking to it! I just realized I forgot to do that on my site...

Mike said...

I was just trying Google's new blog search and ran across this post. I've read so many reviews and blog etries about Murderball - it was refreshing to actually read one where someone really got it - really picked up on what the movie was about.