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“You Cannot Kill David Arquette” Is A Fascinating Documentary About The Actor Tackling Wrestling Once Again

David Arquette is known for a few things. He’s best recognized as Deputy Dewey Riley in the Scream franchise of films, of course. However, he’s also famous, or perhaps infamous, for being an actor who cameoed for a time in World Championship Wrestling (better known as WCW). Not only did he get in the ring, but a storyline had him win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, something that wrestling fans hated with a vicious passion. Not only did this halt whatever wrestling career the passionate fan of the sport had, it torpedoed his ascent in Hollywood, as well. The new documentary You Cannot Kill David Arquette not just tackles this bit of his history, but his recent decision to try and wrestle again, all in an effort to get some measure of respect. If it sounds silly, it’s actually surprisingly empathetic and emotional.

The movie is a documentary about, you guessed it, David Arquette, but specifically about his relationship with wrestling. A promising up and coming actor, when Arquette won the WCW World Heavyweight Championship in 2000, not only was it controversial, it labeled him as the most hated man in professional wrestling. An actor winning the belt? It was a slap in the face to those who take the form of sports entertainment seriously. It also damaged Arquette’s career, taking him from up and comer with an A-list future to someone that’s closer to a bit player these days. Determined to find the respect he never had, Arquette attempts a comeback. No, it’s not a quest to win an Academy Award, but a very rocky return to wrestling. Despite medical and psychological issues that would deter most, he’s determined to redeem his reputation and reclaim his self-respect. To achieve that, he’s willing stop at nothing, all in an effort to finally earn his place in professional wrestling. David Darg and Price James direct, as well as handle the cinematography. Matt Glass and Dimiter Yordanov composed the music. Appearing in the doc are wrestlers from that era like Ric Flair and Diamond Dallas Page, plus Eric Bischoff, the man who came up with the idea of him winning in the first place, as well as people from Arquette’s life, such as sister Patricia Arquette and ex-wife Courtney Cox.

There’s a sense of pathos here that’s, frankly, shocking. We follow Arquette through a number of highs and lows, seeing the toll that this borderline obsession has taken on him. At the same time, his love of wrestling is pure, as is his clear-headedness about both why his winning the title in WCW was a bad idea, as well as why it hurt him in Hollywood. He’s upset by the reaction, sure, but there’s a sense that he understands it. We’re not following around someone who doesn’t get the situation he’s in. Instead, we’re seeing someone who does, and still wants to turn it around. In some ways, it’s even inspiring.

You Cannot Kill David Arquette is more than just a wrestling documentary, and it’s a far cry from a vanity project. It’s simply a character study, one that even manages to be emotional. The way he allows us to see his emotional issues, medical treatment, and various failings, it’s not something you see too often from a recognizable star. We also see how much he loves his family and wife, even if his need to try wrestling again takes a toll on them. It does also lead to a really poignant ending, one that Hollywood would certainly approve of. Directors David Darg and Price James manage to capture all the moments you’d want to see here, leaving nothing on the table, so to speak.

This weekend, wrestling fans, fans of David Arquette, and anyone interested in a human story should give a look to You Cannot Kill David Arquette. The flick has way more to offer than you’d expect. While it’s not the sort of doc that wins Oscars, it has an X factor that will stay with you, much like wrestling has stayed with Arquette. Give it a shot and see what you think.

Be sure to check out You Cannot Kill David Arquette, available in your home on Friday!

(Photos courtesy of Super LTD)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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