I Saw A Film!

Back in the 80s when arm-wrestling was king and slow-motion clips of Stallone’s bottom lip flopping around were all the rage you had this gem of a trucker film that I’d almost entirely forgotten, and I realized why once I cued it up and started watching it. It’s largely about a forced take-over of a trucker’s family by the kid’s grandpa after his mom passes away.

Much of the film is spent by Stallone’s Lincoln Hawk, trying to impress this ten-year old military academy kiddo. The turning point ends up being a random armwrestling contest pop arranges for his son against a bigger kid. In this little bout son is given the standard pep talk about desire and heart over brawn and training and the kid wins his first bout without a lick of experience. Instantly he’s won over and father and son bond magnificently.

Robert Loggia is the grandpa who offers arm-wrestling trucker a new rig and a pile of money to just go away, but of course, that wouldn’t be quite the heartwarming story we signed up for and so arm-wrestling championship gambling it is, after our trucker hero sells his rig and places all his money on himself winning the contest.

Are you hooked? You better be because you’re about to actually watch a lot of arm-wrestling. Of course the first rounds are spent in a montage of bad power ballad and possibly some of the most boring footage of guys and gals just kinda banging one another’s wrists into a table. The classic sports movie interviews are, of course, arranged to make a kind of evil opponent for Stallone to have to face in the finals. They didn’t go for the usual remark about pleasing the underdog’s wife as is so often the popular line (think Cinderella Story), but it’s still a kind of silly event of orks vs humans. Lots of big guys roaring in slow mo.

For years the little faux interview with Stallone’s character talking about how he switches his hit around and turns into a truck has stuck with me, it being one of the sillier athlete psychological games, and it was mainly what I recalled about this film. I’m not sure if Stallone’s face is slacker and more mumbly in this film than it is in the first Rambo or not, but it’s pretty close.

This is running free on prime if you want a crap lesson about how get your kid to like you after a break-up.

3 thoughts on “Over the Top (1987)

  1. It’s no one’s thing! I think of these sorts of films as a kind of endless exercise in applying virtually any occupation to a story about overcoming adversity. Hell these days they even make competitions out of cooking! They manage the work into well edited bits and then massage the participants behavior and responses and present them as though the effort and outcome were actually compelling. It’s a formula and it’s used for everything!
    They do it with even the most zen-like of meditative pursuits . . . replace the arm-wrestling in your mind with Yoga or meditation for a good spoof!


  2. It’s important to keep in mind that the lobby poster of this film has at its center stallone and a fellow who really barely has any actual screen time. He’s just representing the adversity as a big scary beefy competitor, his name will not be remembered! :p


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