One of the most common refrains heard from older wrestlers and long time fans is how wild the stars of yesteryear were. Director Fulvio Cecere’s 350 Days takes a blunt look at the nomadic life of professional wrestling stars and examines this opinion. The movie is obviously a labor of love and seems glad to be just another documentary.
Wrestling hit a boom period in the 1980s and many of its stars were household names. There were cartoons, movies, late night talk show appearances, toys, plus Vince McMahon succeeded in making professional wrestling cool. The decade is known for its carefree attitude and it is not surprising to hear tales of sex and drugs.
What is surprising is the straightforwardness of the wrestlers interviewed. It never feels like anyone is holding back. Though some wrestlers come off as bragging, this tends to be when talking about fans who ask them if wrestling is real. (In a pleasant surprise, “mark” is said exactly zero times.) When talking about their more depraved activities they speak matter of factly. The lack of remorse is odd, and further illustrates the effects of living in the wrestling bubble.
Addictions, family problems, and an inability to integrate into normal life are just a few of the problems that are touched on in 350 Days. (The title refers to the number of days an average wrestler would work a year.) Surprisingly, when asked if given the chance would they make the same career choice, many said yes. It makes sense that some of them would chose this life again. It is all they know, after all. It is stunning in an industry known for keeping grudges and being bitter (“Superstar” Billy Graham laughs at his own answer) that many said they would do it again.
The subject matter makes it impossible for 350 Days to not fall into the sad wrestling documentary trap. The interviews are frank but the stories are not as shocking as the trailer would have you believe. The content is not typical dinner table conversation, but there is nothing new either. This is a movie that targets a fan base that prides itself on knowing everything and many will be disappointed.
350 Days also lacks any cohesion and many times it aimlessly shows footage that adds nothing. Since the film already runs over two hours, it comes off as needless padding. The documentary starts with wrestlers talking about how being on the road leads to missing important dates (anniversaries, weddings, and similar events) and ends the same way. It sounds like it is a story coming full circle, but it plays like there was nothing left to say. Unfortunately, by the end, the documentary is simply boring.
By far, the most impressive thing about 350 Days is the number of stars interviewed. Dozens of wrestlers including Bret Hart, Greg Valentine, and Wendi Richter were interviewed as were legends who have since passed like George Steele and Ox Baker. The number of people who spoke for the film is amazing.
350 Days comes off like one of those YouTube super clips where a bunch of random sound bites are spliced together. If you have never seen a shoot interview or one of WWE’s better documentaries, this will be interesting. It has its moments but overall, wrestling fans will be unimpressed and mainstream ones will be uninterested.