Everyone likes a comeback. Kurt Russell in Stargate (1992). John Travolta in Pulp Fiction (1994). Sean Penn in Dead Man Walking (1995). Robert Downey Jr. in The Singing Dectective (2003) (a commercial flop, but his first feature after his early 2000's Ally McBeal rehab phase). Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man (2008). Mel Gibson (pending). Tom Cruise (pending).
I'm ready to jump on the bandwagon praising Mickey Rourke's comeback in The Wrestler (2008). However, being the cynic that I am, I expect his character to die of cardiac arrest after winning his big comeback bout. A sort of 'have one's cake and eat it too' ending. Also, the press kit states that his character was forced to retire after a previous heart attack, and that his character is seeking redemption, even though going back into the ring will probably cost him his life. And this is a Darren Aronofsky film (remember the feel-good Requiem for a Dream?) Yes, we have seen this movie before. It might be full of cliches. It might be totally predictable. But if it is well-executed, I'll cheer with the rest of the crowd. In a disappointing year for Hollywood movies, I need an uplifting cinema experience.