"This is a wicked movie with lots of insane backyard wrestling. These kids are mostly stupid but it is great fun to watch. I always thought documentaries were boring but this film changed my mind. Highly recommended!!!"
Vince Palmer | New York, NY | 11/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a must-see for any wrestling fan. These kids seem all inspired by ECW and do really scary things. I loved Beyond The Mat and thought that this was just as good."
A good subject, but sloppy handling
Mr. Richard K. Weems | Fair Lawn, NJ USA | 04/15/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"If you are not initiate to the world of backyard wrestling, this might be a good place to start, if you want to see something of the pure drive and horrors of this trend. Just like pick-up games in the dirt, youth in all corners of America are making their own wrestling federations, with of course no training outside of watching television and having a love for the game. You may say that backyard wrestling is far more dangerous than any kind of baseball or football game in the mud (especially when barbed wire and flaming tables are into play), and you wouldn't have too much of an argument from me, but the question here is how in-depth and revealing and objective this documentary is.
This film delivers a good range of proto-wrestlers, from The Lizard, who does aspire to be a proper professional wrestler (and puts his money where his mouth is and actually auditions for a WWE Tough Enough and goes to a wrestling school), to kids throwing each other on thumbtacks and slicing their own foreheads for a handful of fellow kids in their yards. Some seem like angry kids who would rather find ways to cut themselves open, and others seem totally lost and have no idea that they are working towards one day being fed through a tube. Some of them even show how their performances channel them through great pain in their lives--Scar, for example, was a sickly kid who went through mutliple surgeries when he was just a small child, and hardcore wrestling seems to give him a place to take control of his body, which was taken away from him for so many years. One boy plays out his history of abuse through his wrestling storylines, to somehow master the pain he has been put through. These are intriguing looks into some of the drives for what seems on the surface a horrifying youth trend.
But what drags me away from this movie are the thinly disguised manipulations on the moviemakers' part. When two brothers reveal to their grandmother the extent of their matches, it is clearly a moment set up for the camera, and so loses any appeal of seeing any true reaction from the grandmother. When a boy decides to arrange a match with a fellow kid who goes by the name of The Retarded Butcher, the Butcher's mom 'suddenly' shows up, again a clear arrangement by the moviemakers. Even Rob Van Dam's brief appearances in the film feel like obligatory 'counterpoint' and not a full examination of the sport vs. the backyard shindigs.
Ultimately, _The Backyard_ falls short of trusting the subject matter and has too many rough edges, and unfortunately they are not the rough edges that might cut open a scalp or two. "
J. Bonich | Woodbridge, VA | 04/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have always been a wrestling fan, and when I was younger, my friends and I would often stage video-taped "matches" in our backyards and basements. We weren't pros, but at least we were aware of that fact. Nor did we brutalize ourselves the way the kids featured in this documentary do. I think the film maker did a supurb job with showing these kids and what they do without using a judgemental slant, which could have been very easy to do. The film documents various backyard "wrestling" leagues. I think the saddest story is that of two brothers who violently torcher one another in their matches as an outlet for the pain of abuse they suffered when they were younger. Also featured is a 17 year old wannabe promoter who couldn't care less who gets hurt in his events. He comes off as heartless and power hungry in this film. Other leagues are featured, including some talented, although foolish boys in England. Their fun is stopped when a bystander calls an amulance when they see the blood of a kid who thought it would look cool to "blade" himself during a match (taking a razor blade and cutting a small nick in the forehead, producing just enough blood flow to look pretty nasty) The only group that seems to come out looking good in this film is a group of college kids in upstate New York that focus on working together and being safe. (In other words, they aren't cutting each other up, setting each other on fire, nor performing dangerously high risk maneuvers) The film primarily follows a 26 year old who uses the stage name "the lizard" in his quest to become a real professional wrestler. When he finally makes it a legitimate pro wrestling school, the film shows quite a few shots of them doing strength training and physical conditioning; thats what will save your body in the ring. I only give this video 4 stars and not 3 because of a special feature entitled "wresling Superstar", in which a professional wrestler talks in length about how to become a pro wrestler, the importance of a good education and following your dreams, and the foolishness of the brutality many of these backyard "wrestlers" put themselves through. I think any parent who's child participates in backyard wrestling should watch this film, know whether or not their children are putting their bodies at risk, and watch the "wrestling superstar" featurette."
"For hours after watching this film, all I could think about was how hopeless some of these kids are.
This documentary on backyard wrestling is a truly great piece of work.
As a wrestling fan, I went into this film thinking that all backyard wrestlers are just stupid kids. I see now that there are definitely some different levels of stupidity.
They're all here. The kids who just want to learn some technique, to the kid who uses pain and backyard wrestling to feel better about himself, all the way to the 28 yr old who thinks that by doing body splashes through exploding tables he's assured a career in the "WWE".
This movie doesn't make me think about wrestling. It makes me think of how sad and desperate some people are."