Beyond the Mat
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The carnival world of wrestling is explored through the portraits of three men who are at the end points of their dangerous and unpredictable careers: Terry Funk, a renowned Texas champ who is 53 and has been wrestling for 32 years, Jake "the Snake" Roberts, a wrestler on the skids who attributes his downfall to a crack cocaine addiction and a horrible childhood; and Mick Foley, a devoted father and husband who thinks it would be wise to quit for the sake of his family, but will have trouble letting go.
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Documentaries are almost always more interesting if the filmmakers fess up about their relationship to the subject, as unabashed pro-wrestling fan Barry Blaustein does in this naively made, compelling homage to the sport."
‑ Lisa Alspector, Chicago Reader
"Entertaining and twisted."
‑ Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail
"WWF documentary is OK for older teens."
‑ Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
"A very good film that both wrestling fans and non-wrestling fans will enjoy."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Surprisingly riveting."
‑ Merle Bertrand, Film Threat
"A gently and genuinely observed film whose subject is a garish, artificial display of mayhem."
‑ Robert Koehler, Variety
"It has a hypnotic quality."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Am engrossing watch, but it's far from the most fascinating and incisive look at its subject."
‑ Michael Dequina, TheMovieReport.com
"Barry Blaustein takes a long, hard look at pro wrestling and, while not making me a newborn fan of the sport, he taught me the intensity and sacrifice of those who enter the ring."
‑ Robin Clifford, Reeling Reviews
"Unfortunately Blaustein isn't an experienced enough film-maker to make much of such material."
‑ Fiona Morrow, Sight and Sound
"We tour the All-Pro Wrestling School in California and Philadelphia's fearsome Extreme Championships, but it's the studies Blaustein makes of several wrestlers that root the film."
‑ , Time Out
"The wrestlers are cannier than Blaustein probably gives them credit for; they seem to be offering up their backstage lives to him in ways that mimic the soppiest of melodramas, and he falls for it."
‑ Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture
"Blaustein, Foley and Funk layeth the smack well and truly down."
‑ Richard Luck, Film4
"A hilarious and heartbreaking documentary."
‑ Jeanne Aufmuth, Palo Alto Weekly
"...an easygoing, straightforward film without too many surprises"
‑ Philip Martin, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
More reviews for Beyond the Mat on Rotten Tomatoes