Over the Top (1987)
Sly wrestles his way to the top
“Perhaps no film better illustrates the complex relationship that exists between a father and his son.”
“If there is a finer film about arm wrestling, I surely have never seen it.”
I know what you’re thinking – the Cinema Connoisseur is reviewing two movies this week. Well, that is not the case. The above quotes both apply to one film. One glorious film starring Sylvester Stallone titled Over The Top.
Stallone plays Lincoln Hawk, a truck driver who tries to reconnect with his estranged son over a cross-country drive. The boy has lived a privileged life, thanks to his wealthy grandfather, who has always viewed Hawk as nothing but a bum. So it takes some work for Hawk to be able to win his son over. This task is made even more difficult due to the meddling of the grandfather, who wants Hawk out of their life. But Hawk has a dream – he wants to be a truck company ownin’ arm wrestlin’ father of the year, and no amount of bribes, beatings from hired goons or incarcerations are going to stop him.
The one thing that Hawk continually tries to instill in his son is the merits of hard work by repeatedly saying to him “the world meets nobody half way.” This motto certainly rubbed off on me as a youngster when I first watched the movie. In fact to this day whenever a homeless person asks me if I can spare some change, I simply look at them and say, “the world meets nobody half way.” Most of them just give me a blank look though. I guess they haven’t seen the movie. I should probably just give them the finger instead.
On top of the exceptional dramatic interactions between Hawk, his son, and the boy’s grandfather, the film also shows off the sport of arm wrestling in a way that no motion picture since Casablanca has even come close to being able to accomplish.
The sport of arm wrestling has grown leaps and bounds over the last few years. In fact Sports Magazine Illustrated Monthly recently named arm wrestling as one of the fastest rising sports in North America. It fell just below mixed martial arts, stock car racing, poker, spelling bees, bee keeping, dwarf tossing, water skiing, jousting, Frisbee football, roller derby, squirrel racing, ice fishing, darts, beard grooming, dog taunting, ho pimping, juggling and lying motionless.
I think the sport owes a lot to this film, and Mr. Stallone in particular.
Over The Top is one of the finest films to come out in recent years, provided that you consider 1987 to be recent, which I do. Watching the bond strengthen between Lincoln Hawk and his son is truly a heart warming experience. I suggest watching the film with your father, as it will surely bring you closer together. Maybe afterwards you can even arm-wrestle him. And why not just let dear old dad win, as payback for all of the heartbreak you’ve undoubtedly caused him.