by Rob DiCristino
I doubt that I’m the most qualified member of the F This Movie! family to review You Cannot Kill David Arquette. Despite coming of age during professional wrestling’s heyday, it never captured my attention the way it did for Patrick and some of the others. Most of what I know about the sport comes from Stephen Merchant’s Fighting with My Family and a summer in middle school spent playing WWF War Zone for the Playstation. I have no frame of reference for any of the competitions or festivals featured in David Darg and Price James’ new documentary, nor can I identify most of the featured wrestling luminaries. Perhaps most damning of all, I had no idea that — as part of the promotion for his 2000 film Ready to Rumble — actor David Arquette briefly became WCW Heavyweight Champion of the World. I’m sorry! I can do little else but plead ignorance, and those looking for a lengthy rumination on wrestling’s history, legacy, and culture might find more of what they’re looking for from another writer.
We join You Cannot Kill David Arquette years into one of the actor’s many career slumps. Despite numbering among Hollywood’s brightest new faces in the late ‘90s, a series of questionable project choices coupled with periods of substance abuse stalled his career for much of the 21st century. Moviegoers remember him as Dewey from the Scream franchise and as Courtney Cox’s ex-husband (“We met on Scream 1, hated each other on Scream 2, got married on Scream 3, and got divorced on Scream 4,” says Cox), but most agree that he never fulfilled the promise of his youth or achieved the critical acclaim of siblings like Patricia or Rosanna. He’s in a liminal space when the film begins, mugging for the documentary cameras while barely masking the obvious weight of his troubled past. It’s clear that the kid-at-heart family man still has his share of demons. David’s wife, journalist-turned-producer Christina McLarty Arquette, laments that her husband’s brief stint in the WCW was career suicide: Wrestling fans felt he was mocking their sport, while Hollywood tastemakers took it as proof that he was not the serious young thespian he originally seemed to be. Why, then, would he pursue wrestling again?
You Cannot Kill David Arquette is available on streaming platforms Friday, August 28th.