02nd Sep2020

Fantasia 2020: ‘You Cannot Kill David Arquette’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Features: David Arquette, Patricia Arquette, Courteney Cox | Directed by David Darg, Price James

If you had of told me a week ago that a documentary about Deputy Dewey from the Scream movies was something I needed in my life right now, I would of called you a damn fool. I you had told me that a documentary about that actor who tried to be a wrestler for five minutes would take me on a rollercoaster of emotions – and I mean the full spectrum of human feeling: the highs, the lows and everything in between – well again I would of scoffed at you.

However I am somewhat of a wrestling fan… I am somewhat of a David Arquette fan… Also at the best of times if there is one thing us Brits cant get enough of is a bloody good redemption story and at our worst we love good car crash TV and this documentary promised to be either one or the other. We will get to my thoughts later but let me start by saying… You Cannot Kill David Arquette is easily one of my favorite documentaries EVER.

Even the most casual wrestling fan would remember that time in the 90s when WCW decided to put their most prestigious championship around the waist of actor David Arquette as he was promoting his new movie Ready to Rumble. It was a travesty and did not go down well with the die-hards. Arquette would never be taken seriously by the fans and his reign would be forever thought of as the time Hollywood bastardized a world title. Here we are, decades later and the one time WCW champion is looking for redemption in the sport that turned its back on him. This time though he wont use his celebrity status (what’s left of it) this time he is going to put in the hard yards, learn the fundamentals and wrestle like his life depends on it. One thing is for sure, the sport has not forgotten him and if he really wants to be accepted he is going to have to go the longest and hardest way possible, even if this means his journey is going to have life threatening consequences.

I remember seeing Arquette coming back to the ring a couple years back and thinking ‘You know what? good for him’. I also remember seeing the footage of that death match and thinking ‘The f**k is he doing?’. I guess I hadn’t really put much thought past that and didn’t realize the man was actually on a journey and taking the wrestling career serious. Then You Cannot Kill David Arquette dropped and oh my is his story, is THIS story so much more than that.

This isn’t just a man a bit down on his luck trying his hand at a new career, oh no. You Cannot Kill David Arquette is one man’s self discovery in an industry that he loves and holds dear to his heart. But it never wanted him and shat all over him for years. At his core Arquette is a fan, a true die-hard wrestling fan that was afforded a chance to sit on the throne of the industry and took it with both hands (as anyone would). He never meant to insult anyone, he meant no malice. Right from the start we meet a man who just longs to show his respect to the sport and earn some in return from his harshest critics and he will go to hell and back to earn it.

David Darg and Price James have crafted a truly gorgeous, engaging and immersive documentary here that had me absolutely gripped from start to finish. Arquette is not afraid to let us into every aspect of his journey and you feel every single moment. I genuinely laughed when I was supposed to laugh, as our subject struggles to find his character and got goosebumps as his wife turned up ringside to walk him to the ring. I cheered when he pulled off those awesome moves, I winced in pain when he was cut open and I chanted ‘You deserve it it’ as he gained the respect he craved from his now peers.

The highlights of You Cannot Kill David Arquette, for me, is the entire section about his relationship with RJ City – which looks to be a genuine friendship. Arquette’s time with the Luchas is actually truly inspiring and that scene on the cliffs is SUPERB. There is the portion of the movie dealing with Arquette’s long term friend Luke Perry, who was there to take him to the emergency room on the night of that bloody death match (If you don’t know what happened Google it). Darg and James carefully tell this story and never for one minute play up to any tropes that could take this into borderline cheese which is why for me this documentary gets a solid:

***** 5/5

Wrestling fan or not, documentary fan or not, you have got to watch this film. I promise you will be thanking me later. Truly inspiring… You Cannot Kill David Arquette screened as part of this years Fantasia Festival, which took place August 20th – Sept 2nd 2020.


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