It was the great Philip Wuntch, the former film critic at the Dallas Morning News back in the days when that newspaper was serious about film criticism, who first alerted me about Mickey Rourke and his performance in the film "The Wrestler." I had just published the results of my first Oscar poll -- I guess it was right around Labor Day -- and Mr. Wuntch, proving he probably has forgotten more about film than the rest of us will ever know, sent me a note saying something to the effect of "What? No Mickey Rourke mentions for best actor?"
I was clueless, of course. He was correct that not one Oscar voter responding to my monthly survey mentioned Rourke's name in the best actor poll. And because I obviously don't have my ear as close to the ground as Mr. Wuntch, I had to admit I was not in any way familiar with the film in question.
Then came the poll I published around the first of October and Rourke finished third in the best actor race, which, in my mind, made his nomination a sure thing. I silent marveled at Mr. Wuntch's foresight. In last month's poll, Rourke finished at the head of the pack, replacing Frank Langella, the leading vote getter the first two times around.
"The Wrestler" has yet to open in Dallas so I have not seen it and, thus, can't personally attest to Rourke's performance. But if this trailer is any indication, the film could be a metaphor for Rourke's own career -- redemption.