Monday, December 26, 2011

Stand Tall - AKA Lou Ferrigno Loses (Again)

I've met Lou Ferrigno in person at a comic convention. Here's how the meeting went. I said, "Hey Lou! It's great meeting you! Can you sign my (classic television series Hulk) DVD!" Lou said, "I charge $20 to sign." I said, "Oh. That's more than I paid for the DVD. Bye," and I slid the DVD back into my backpack and walked away.

So I went into Stand Tall thinking that this is just an attempt to grab some dough by an aging, cash-starved star. I am probably right but that didn't stop it from being interesting.

I'll readily admit that I know nothing about body building. Stand Tall works pretty well as an introduction to the culture. Different body builders are interviewed throughout the film. Lou is trying to win the Mr. Olympia Masters (which is like Mr. Olympia for old body builders). The film sets up a rivalry between Lou and Boyer, his competition in the contest. Arnodl Schwarzenegger plays the roll of the old sage, dispensing wisdom about body building.

I thought it was pretty funny when Robbie Robinson, a body builder that you don't hear about at all during the film, wins the competition and Lou takes second.

The film focuses on Lou's hearing loss. We see Lou speak to crowds and hear stories from Lou's childhood when they called him names, inspiring him to become a body builder. I guess all those ads in comic books were based on real life after all!

Probably the best thing in this film is watching Lou's wife walk a tightrope as she tries to tell the truth about Lou without totally calling him a neglectful bad father on film. It's pretty funny how carefully she chooses her words.

The production value is understandably low. Dialogue is frequently hard to understand (use subtitles if you choose to watch it). At one point there's a hair in the shot. At another the mic keeps dipping into frame.

I'd recommend you watch this movie just to learn a little bit about body building or Lou Ferrigno if you're interested. Otherwise, stay away.

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