Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pumping Iron II: The Women (1985)

Director: George Butler

Starring: Bev Francis, Kris Alexander, Lori Bowen, Lydia Cheng, Carla Dunlap, Rachel McLish, Steve Michallik, George Plimpton, Randy Rice, Clark Sanchez, Steve Weinberger

More info: IMDb

Tagline: A Story of Strength, Desire, Courage... and a New Definition of Woman.

Plot: Join four women as they prepare for the 1983 Caesars Palace World Cup Championship: the sultry and curvaceous Rachel McLish, the current champion; the almost manly, super-muscular Bev Francis, Rachel's toughest competition; and newcomers Lori Bowen and Carla Dunlap. Four women who have devoted their lives to the pursuit of their conception of the "perfect" female form, spending grueling hours torturing themselves on Nautilus machines and browning themselves under tanning lamps. Learn their personal struggles and public triumphs that make up their unique world as they struggle both with their bodies' limitations and the world's limitations on what that body ought to look like. If muscles make a man "masculine," what do they make a woman?

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Nah.

In my youth I thought female body building was a freakish sport. I didn't think it was attractive. As I matured, my life experiences changed all of that, expanding my tastes and widening my range of beauty which now includes women like these. They are sculpting their bodies into works of art. I admire the dedication it takes to excel in any sport. Years back I got to know a woman who was a former competing bodybuilder and she was magnificent. In the short time we spent together I learned an awful lot about the sport.

This documentary (I haven't seen the first film) examines a group of women who are about to compete in Las Vegas for the ultimate prize in women's bodybuilding. What I find archaic and fascinating is how the male-controlled sport's rules are created and enforced. It's obscene, really, how they try to put limits on how the girls can look. There's one in particular, Bev Francis, where, without naming here, one of the rule-enforcers says she's not feminine enough and that they are responsible for looking like what women want to look like. Fuck that old man. The guy's a relic and he needed to be smacked up side his tiny, bald-ass head. I hate people like that. Anyway, the film is quite good and very interesting. The last half of this near two hour film is the competition and it's the best part even if the contest results are completely fucked up. And as if you need any more convincing to see this has a shower scene!

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