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An Interview with Mike Messier, Director of Ox Baker - One of the Boys

by Mike Haberfelner

August 2019

Films directed by Mike Messier on (re)Search my Trash

 

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Your new movie Ox Baker - One of the Boys - in a few words, what is it about?

 

The film consists primarily of an interview I conducted with legendary pro wrestler Ox Baker about a year before his death with a few additional scenes of Ox having fun at a wrestling show around 2010 and finally a poetic tribute to Ox. I read the same poetic tribute at Ox's funeral and a hard gust of wind blew by just as I finished reading it.

 

What inspired you to make a movie about Ox Baker in the first place, and how did you first meet the man even?

 

I first met Ox at the New England Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2009, an annual event run by my friend Joe Bruen. I had seen Ox on TV as a kid. Although I've met many pro wrestlers in my time, and gotten along with most, for some reason, Ox and I seemed to have a deeper connection. I wanted to use Ox in a few feature narrative films, but unfortunately, as discussed in Disregard the Vampire - A Mike Messier documentary (watch the film here: https://youtu.be/t9jFqZCB9o4) things did not turn out as planned. Nevertheless, Ox and I remained good friends throughout the years and he would even come to my annual birthday party. The guy was simply larger than life and it was an honor to be his friend.

 

As far as I know, you're a big fan of wrestling as such - so care to elaborate a bit?

 

Well, I really do love professional wrestling and these days there are some new groups gaining traction such as AEW, MLW, NJPW and Impact Wrestling so it's getting to be a good time to be a wrestling fan again. For quite some time , the WWE has gone about their business without much competition which has lead to their company being a bit stagnate. They've also taken on some questionable policies regarding doing big money, "international shows" that forbid the use of Women wrestlers. I voice my frustrations on my YouTube page of Mikey Messier - Pro Wrestling Rants (see here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxxeZv9F7xNj9wxMU2SZ9C9Bs31wZLwXW) and I've gotten a name for myself on Twitter and Facebook as Mikey Messier - Angry Wrestling Fan. By and large, I prefer my wrestling from the earlier era of my 1990s childhood; after that, it hasn't been quite as good. But there's always hope.

 

For Ox Baker - One of the Boys you just chose to just follow Ox's train of thought from beginning to end - so what made you choose that approach, and have you also considered other ways to tell Ox's story?

 

Ox actually called me on the phone the day of the shoot and told me he was worried about his long-term health and asked me to come over right away to film an interview. Luckily, Roland the camera-man was available and able to meet me and we got over there to meet Ox that very day. So , this was all very spontaneous. I had had hopes to make a film with Ox, similar to My Breakfast with Blassie, but that was superseded by this interview.

There was some considerations, and unfortunate complexities, that have caused me to hesitate in doing another type of Ox film. I feel that this interview Ox in that he speaks, in his own words, about his career and the wrestlers he shared the ring with.

 

So what kind of a man was Ox Baker off camera and out of his wrestling character?

 

Ox was just a lot of fun and he definitely wanted to be remembered. Even as he was getting older, he was always the life of the party and filled a room with his presence. He liked to "rib" (make fun with) people but only in a gentle, good-natured way. Ox was most always "on", meaning that he wasn't the type of guy you'd call if you wanted to share a quiet evening playing chess and talking philosophy, but if you were looking for fun, Ox was your guy. Several times, I would drive about an hour to see him and we'd just go to his favorite Burger King and share some laughs and Ox would tell stories.

 

Do talk about the shoot as such for a bit?

 

It was a little stressful because Ox was not feeling too well that day, healthwise, and so there was kind of a foreboding sense in the air; about a year later, Ox passed away after several health issues. So Ox Baker - One of the Boys really is Ox's goodbye to his fans.

The other portions of the film were filmed a few years before the interview and finally, a few years after. So, when people watch this doc, they are really seeing material shot over a span of nearly nine years.

 

The $64 question of course, where can your movie be seen?

 

For the time being, people can click here to see the full film in its entirety for free:

https://mikemessier.com/2019/07/21/ox-baker-one-of-the-boys/

 

Anything you can tell us about audience and critical reception of Ox Baker - One of the Boys yet?

 

People who are Ox's friends and fans are happy to see him "come alive" one more time. So , that's a good feeling.

 

Any future projects you'd like to share?

 

Messier Peace Theater is a new 6 part webseries I've filmed which is currently being released - https://mikemessier.com/2019/07/25/messier-peace-theater/

My short film The Impeccable was recently accepted into the Rhode Island International Film Festival - https://mikemessier.com/2018/12/07/the-impeccable/

 

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Find Mike Messier
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USA  amazon.com

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Germany (East AND West)  amazon.de

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Your/your movie's website, Facebook, whatever else?

 

https://mikemessier.com/

https://twitter.com/avaloniafest

 

Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?

 

I am also working with Avalonia Festival IV, which will have a new home venue in December! This is a great film festival for short films 21 minutes and under with a variety of genres for every filmmaker! Those reading this interview can use the promo code "searchmytrash" for 16% off all entries for AV IV!

https://distancefromavalon.com/

 

Thanks for the interview!

 

© by Mike Haberfelner


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Thanks for watching !!!



 

 

Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD