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Beyond the Mat



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10

MPAA Rating: R

A documentary of the professional wrestling industry featuring Terry Funk, Mick Foley ("Mankind"), Jake Roberts ("Jake the Snake") and WWF owner Vince McMahon. Also with Duane Johnson ("The Rock"), Roland Alexander, Collette Foley, Dewey Foley, Noelle Foley, Brandy Smith, Paul Heyman, Tony Jones, Mike Modest and Darren Drozdov. [1:42]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - Several instances of sexual innuendo (including references to fellatio, ménage a trois, promiscuity and rape) and a couple of kisses. We see lots of shirtless men (sometimes in spandex underwear and wrestling costumes), several scantily clad female wrestlers, a man in his underwear as he gets out of bed and a man wearing a towel in the background of a scene.

VIOLENCE/GORE 7 - Lots and lots of footage of professional wrestling matches during which people are punched, kicked, flipped, thrown to the mat, shoved out of the ring and thrown head-first into poles and tables (in one scene, we see a man thrown into barbed wire); in some matches, we see people being hit in the head and torso (sometimes repeatedly) with a toaster, a shovel, a wastebasket, a ladder and chairs (in one scene a man puts a folding chair over a man's face and then jumps on it). In one match a man beats another's head into a flaming metal torch, and in another match a man threatens to burn a man with a torch. Throughout the film, we see many clips of wrestlers falling from some fairly high places onto tables (breaking them, of course); in one scene a man falls onto some speakers, causing them to spark, and in another scene (which we see many times, sometimes in slow motion) a man standing on top of a caged wrestling ring falls through and lands on the mat (he's dazed but recovers). In a scene that could be disturbing to some, the camera focuses on a wrestler's wife and young children for quite a while during a wrestling match; they're visibly upset (especially his young daughter, who sobs) while watching him being beaten up and getting bloody facial cuts. In home-video footage, a boy pretending to be a professional wrestler jumps off a roof and onto what looks like a mattress. We see lots of men with bloody faces and cuts after wrestling matches; a few times we see the wounds being cleaned and stitched, and in one scene we see a close-up of an extremely deep, open cut on a man's head. A woman is knocked off the side of a wrestling ring and a young boy gets a bloody mouth after play-wrestling with his father. We see a completely covered corpse being wheeled into a funeral home. A man talks about a family member being murdered and another being accidentally electrocuted. A man vomits into a trash can (we learn he can do this on command, and in a later scene people watch as he spits and tries to vomit in a trash can on a desk).

PROFANITY 7 - At least 14 F-words, a profane finger gesture, some anatomical references and slang terms, several scatological references, many mild obscenities and a couple of insults. [profanity glossary]

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Professional wrestling as a business (as opposed to strictly an entertainment), the real aspects of professional wrestling (minor and debilitating injuries), drug addiction, dysfunctional families, aging, retirement.

MESSAGE - There's more to professional wrestling and professional wrestlers than meets the eye.

Special Keywords: S2 - V7 - P7 - MPAAR

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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