7. Over the Top

7. Over the Top

7. Over the Top

How did the concept for this 1987 movie get past the producers’ noses? Only with the help of heaps of cocaine, is all we can imagine. But then, with Eighties action flick hero Sly Stallone at the helm as co-writer and lead actor, maybe it was a foregone conclusion. Like the plot of this movie… Still, whatever we pompous critics of today might say with the benefit of hindsight, back in the day a movie based around an arm wrestling world championship seemed as good an idea as any — even allowing for the hemorrhoid that was baseball cap-wearing trucker Lincoln Hawk’s (Sly) alienated son. What’s more, the montage ruled… Kinda…

With the wailing electric guitars of Sammy Hagar’s “Winner Takes It All” in our ears, and the baying crowds of hicks, scorecard women in leotards, and arm wrestlers chalking their hands and tying their platform shoes(?), it seemed like the wildest party on earth. Even the patronizing announcer rocked, refusing to let us forget the female competitors and spelling out everything we needed to know about the contest: “This is a double elimination competition. You have to lose twice to be out. In other words, if you lose once, you still have one more chance.” Did you get that? OK!

In any case, all you had to do was sit back with some nachos and watch the vein-bulging, hammy antics of brutes like Bull “You ain’t s**t!” Hurley, John Grizzly, and the bearded guy who likes to get his face slapped, as they shouted “Heeuuh!” a lot and smashed each other’s wrists into little red pads on tables. Course, Hawk himself takes on all-comers, and intercut with this beautiful circus of building excitement as his son drives a car to get to the comp and give pop the support he needs to take the prize — which just about manages not to ruin it. Verdict: “Winner!”