At long last, the late-summer barrage of really crappy movies has finally ended with the release of this weekend's Oscar hopeful 'Warrior.' At first glance, you may assume that 'Warrior' also belongs on the list of really crappy movies, alongside recent dogs 'Shark Night 3D' and 'Apollo 18' -- after all, it's about MMA fighting. Think again. Ahead, Moviefone answers every question that you could possibly have about the very-good 'Warrior.'
Q: What is 'Warrior' about?
A: 'Warrior' is a complex character study about the strained relationship between two brothers, Brendan (Joel Edgerton) and Tom (Tom Hardy), and their father, Paddy (Nick Nolte).
A: Nah... it's about MMA fighting.
Q: What is MMA fighting?
A: MMA stands for Mixed Martial Arts. Basically it's boxing without the gloves. Also the competitors can kick.
Q: Wait, I remember this sport. It was called "the sport of the future" by Lloyd Dobler in 'Say Anything.' So he was right?
A: No. Lloyd Dobler was an amateur kickboxer, which is somewhat different. And considering that we now live in the future, it's apparent that kickboxing did not become "the sport of the future."
Q: Why are Brendan and Tom estranged?
A: Because their mother chose to leave their abusive, alcoholic father and move to the Pacific Northwest. Tom left with his mother; Brendan decided to stay behind because he was in love with a girl that he eventually married.
Q: Why are both Brendan and Tom estranged from their father?
A: It's never specifically explained, but the aforementioned "abusive" and "alcoholic" should be a clue.
Q: Will Nick Nolte be nominated for an Oscar for his performance in 'Warrior'?
Q: Wait, how does MMA fighting fit into this?
A: Tom hangs out at a local gym. He's asked to spar with one of the top ranked MMA fighters in the country and proceeds to demolish him. This is all caught on video and placed on YouTube, which makes Tom an Internet sensation and a contender for the $5 million prize at the MMA competition Sparta. Tom then reaches out to his father, not to reconcile, but to train him as a fighter.
Q: Then Tom's success as a fighter allows him to make amends with his brother, Brendan?
A: Not exactly. Brendan, as it turns out, used to be a professional MMA fighter – but not a very good one. Now, he's a high school physics teacher who, along with his wife and two daughters, is having a hard time making ends meet.
Q: Is Brendan one of those "cool" teachers that I never had in high school?
A: Did I mention that he was a former MMA fighter? Could you imagine if your high school physics teacher was Ravishing Rick Rude or Big John Studd?
Q: How long after writing that last answer did you realize that both Ravishing Rick Rude and Big John Stud had died -- and how long did it take you then to shrug and say, "I'm not changing it."
A: Seven minutes and one minute, respectively.
Q: Why is Brendan having such a hard time making ends meet on his teacher's salary?
A: Because he has a teacher's salary and his daughter has had a series of expensive medical bills. He's in jeopardy of losing his house from the bank.
Q: But the representative at the bank is reasonable and wants to help Brendan, right?
A: Quite shockingly, no.
Q: So Brendan becomes a full time MMA fighter, too?
A: Kind of. He participates in some low-rent, unsanctioned parking lot bouts to make some extra money -- but the school eventually suspends him for this.
Q: Do Brendan and Tom eventually fight?
A: Now that would be giving too much away (oh, also, maybe don't look at the photo accompanying this post), but I can say that they are among the top-16 MMA fighters entered in Sparta.
Q: How is Brendan -- or Tom, for that matter -- considered to be a top 16 MMA fighter.
A: Tom makes the tournament because of his status as an Internet sensation...
Q: Does that mean that the dude who sings 'Chocolate Rain' is also in this tournament?
A: Tay Zonday is not a participant in the MMA tournament.
Q: Does Brendan become an Internet sensation, too?
A: No. Brendan subs in at the last minute for an injured fighter at the gym that he trains at – which seems even less likely than Tom's story. This would be like Duke making the NCAA basketball tournament, not being able to participate, and then sending Ken Jeong in their place just because he went to Duke. (For the record, even though he's in every other movie this year, Ken Jeong is not in 'Warrior')
Q: If you're going to be blurbed in this weekend's commercials for 'Warrior,' what quote do you think will be used?
A: "Ken Jeong is not in 'Warrior'! – Mike Ryan, Moviefone
Q: Did you enjoy 'Warrior'?
A: Even with both brothers' quite improbable acceptance into this tournament -- very much.
Q: Yeah, but you're originally from Missouri and went to a state school. Based on stereotypes alone, I'm going to assume that you are already a fan of MMA fighting and a fan of really terrible thin crust pizza.
A: The opposite, actually. (Not the thin crust pizza part -- I do love that.)
Q: Did you cry during 'Warrior'?
A: Yes. But, full disclosure, I also cry during really emotional coffee commercials.
Q: Can you name one real-life MMA fighter without looking?
A: I think there's an MMA fighter named Kimbo Shines?
Q: After checking, is there an MMA fighter named Kimbo Shines?
A: No, it's Kimbo Slice. I was confusing his name with an outfielder for the 1985 Montreal Expos named Razor Shines.
Q: If you decide that you want your first born child to go into MMA fighting, what will you name him or her?
A: Razor Slice. (Or Tay Zonday.)
You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.
Follow Moviefone on Twitter.