Ringside Cinema

Box of Moonlight (1996)

After having heard Buddy Landel on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast recently, and getting to know more about him other than my limited knowledge of his cup of coffee that was his WWF run, I realized he was an entertaining story teller and another tragic “what could’ve been” wrestling tale, and not just some poor man’s Ric Flair. So in honor of Buddy Landel, I figured I’d post this brief cameo of his in the movie Box of Moonlight. RIP “Nature Boy”.

The Storyline
I’m not sure how good a movie Box of Moonlight is because I didn’t bother watching it. There was no need. At least not for this post. The only part of this movie relevant to this blog is the two minutes and fifty three seconds in which we get to see Al Fountain (John Turturro’s character) and Kid (Sam Rockwell) chilling in what would later become part of the My Name is Earl set and muse on wrestling and America being taken over by smart people with no common sense.

Al crushes Kid’s spirit by telling him wrestling is all fake. Kid then poses the million dollar question: If it’s fake and everybody knows it’s fake then why would anyone waste their time watching it? Good point. Most of us wrestling fans are still figuring that part out.

This is the second time in his acting career that Turturro is filmed as he’s watching wrestling on-screen. Barton Fink being the first time. And, strangely enough, John Turturro isn’t the only acting Turturro to be involved in something wrestling related. His brother, Nicholas Turturro, was actually a part of one of the worst WrestleManias of all time, number XI. It might not have been a highlight to us wrestling fans, but it was notable enough to be listed on Nick’s Wikipedia page.


The Wrestling
Seeing as Buddy Landel is one of the two actual wrestlers performing during the clip, it’s safe to say that he did right by pro wrestling by putting together a tight Attitude Era-esque two-minute TV match. Maybe it was longer, as this scene does seem to start mid-match. The match also milks that good ol’ American xenophobia by prompting Kid to call Landel’s opponent a “greasy bastard.”

Buddy Landel takes a well-protected chairshot to the dome that would make Triple H beam with pride. Back in the ring, The “Cuban guy from Cuba” goes after him with the fakest-looking, novelty-sized scissors this side of an Acme factory. Although to be fair, these scissors would’ve made more sense for Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake to carry around than a pair of hedge clippers. Buddy fights back and lands his patented corkscrew elbow drop for the win. Judging by the year and yellow ropes, this was clearly taped during a Smoky Mountain Wrestling show.

The Wrestlers
As previously stated, Buddy Landel is the top dog, but he’s going by Uncle Samson. Proving that Landel wasn’t above jacking another former NWA wrestler’s gimmick in that he’s dressed up as All-American, Lex Express, Lex Luger, but without the muscle definition. Or the three percent body fat. The “Cuban guy from Cuba” looks to be Mosh of The Headbangers before he traded in his communistic ideals for heavy metal and capitalism. Also in the clip is former referee Brian Hildebrand (RIP), AKA Mark Curtis, the tiny WCW referee who didn’t take shit from interfering wrestling fans.

Star Rating: **

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