Few days ago I watched a couple of films in which Mickey Rourke was the star. I caught the terrible Harley Davidson and Marlboro Man on TV and then I watched Angel Heart. Obviously I wasn’t interested in the first one, but the second is brilliant, so much, I updated Popcorn and Movies reviewing it.
If there was a golden decade for Rourke in terms of acting, that would be 1980’s. Not only he became a sex symbol, wetting millions of pants of women in their 20-30s, especially after 9 ½ Weeks, but also delivered very outstanding performances, Angel Heart and A Prayer for the Dying among them.
I was too young to be interested in such a big guy in the 80’s, and of course most of his most remarkable films weren’t suitable for my age. On one hand I wouldn’t be allowed to watch 9 ½ Weeks nor Barfly for obvious reasons, Rumble Fish, its story and iconography were still too alien for me, and I wasn’t interested in Francesco. Johnny The Handsome and Year of the Dragon were probably the first movies I saw.
There was this magazine for teenage girls, Ragazza, which issued one special calendar, I think it was in 1990, with many pictures of the current Hollywood pant-wetters: Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, River Phoenix… and Mickey Rourke.
In my opinion, and thinking of the calendar, Rourke didn’t fit at all. He wasn’t as young as the others, hadn’t to do with the so called Coppola generation despite the fact that he’d worked with Dillon and Nicholas Cage in Rumble Fish, and had rejected many blockbuster roles. Money and fame weren’t his priorities, and he even admitted to despise his own acting.
Rourke was a truly rebel, the Motorcycle Boy beyond cameras. Tough, bad shaved, smoking and super manly. The bad boy many girls want to meet at some point in their lives. I think I had a crush on him when playing the the loser detective Harry Angel in Angel Heart. Sweaty and dirty, however using his body language in a way as to make him irresistible. Then the rest of his films followed, most of times featuring this rebel and tortured, and even decadent character… the world used to stop every time I caught any of his films on TV.
I remember when he decided to quit performing to resume to his boxing career everybody was thinking he’d gone mad, but he did actually fine for some time. However there were physical and mental effects due to the beating, which left marks for good. Even though he continued acting in shitty projects and supporting roles I wasn’t aware of, from time to time pictures were published and he was looking awful.
Everybody was in shock when he made his proper comeback as Marv in Sin City, but I wasn’t so impacted because he was characterized based on Miller’s comic. It was Aronofsky’s The Wrestler what left me speechless. His face, his lips, his expression… everything was all gone, plus his appearance was terrible.
He blames his first plastic surgeon he visited in order to fix all the mess caused by fighting on ruining his face for good. I don’t think those who touched him next were much better either. Now he’s 60 and there’s no remedy for the damage done, and he’s completely different to what he used to be. Still I sigh whenever I see him as the Motorcycle Boy observing the coloured fish, get horny when he’s playing games with Kim Bassinger in front of the fridge, and feel sorry for Harry Angel when he discovers the truth Louis Cyphre is hiding from him.
Aaaah, Mickey, why did you kill The Motorcycle Boy? He used to reign my world.
** PS. Pssst, psssst! I have a confession to make: I find his terrible hands fascinating!