The Backyard | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Backyard 

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The decline of Western civilization accelerates for the duration of this shocking, hyperviolent video documentary (2002, 80 min.) about backyard wrestling clubs, which offer teenage losers the chance to be set on fire, dropped through sheets of plywood, hurled onto scattered thumbtacks, brained with fluorescent light tubes, and smacked with baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire. The kids involved are all idiots, though the ones dreaming of WWF stardom are even more pathetic than the simple headbangers looking for thrills. Director Paul Hough manages to get a handful of permissive parents on-screen to comment, and the fact that some are educators isn't as surprising as one might think; everyone involved seems bamboozled by the cliches of value-free child rearing ("You're doing something you're good at," explains one meathead). Perhaps it goes without saying that this is not for the faint of heart. To be projected from Beta SP video. Facets Cinematheque.

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