With my own experiences with arm-wrestling being a sprained-wrist in the schoolyard courtesy of the class bully that watched Over the Top on repeat with no parental supervision, needless to say, I was very wary of the film Golden Arm – a 2020 road-trip arm-wrestling flick that was filmed in Oklahoma City.
But with my upper haunches still smarting from all those years ago, I decided to stream the film on HBO Max – old playground war wounds be damned.
In its simplest form, Golden Arm is a buddy flick.
Prim and proper baker Melanie (Mary Holland) is a recent divorcee with her finances in the gutter. After punching her burly friend Danny (Betsy Sodaro) in the fleshy part of the breast, they take part in a rollicking adventure to Oklahoma City’s worldwide arm-wrestling finals.
Along the way, Melanie trains with a former arm-wrester Dominator (Dot-Marie Jones) and her cadre of stripper friends, finds romance with an arm-wrestling referee (Eugene Cordero), and – in a seemingly abandoned office park – faces off with wily-opponent, Brenda (Olivia Stambouliah) and her fists of rage.
Despite not hearing about it during the pandemic, Golden Arm is a good-enough viewing for a cavalier Friday night, with Holland making a very Kristen Wiig-lite protagonist – an everywoman who seems to take-on the competition with her much-ballyhooed “golden arm” and all the simple fame it can bring to her.
But even more comical is Sodaro, playing the very uncouth Danny. She’s got a trucker's mouth and knows how to use it! Nearly every comeback is given from her tasteless mouth—I am here for it! She is an unwavering talent that I would back for more…maybe for a sequel?
Also, on the Oklahoma City scenes, locations include the Midway Café, Pops near Arcadia, Skydance Bridge, and, in very close shots, the Bricktown Canal. But really, the best location is the rundown Double D Saloon along I-40 and Council, where most of the training takes place among the dancers and their safe-for-work breasts.
While not the best road-tripping movie, there are enough laughs to make this the best arm-wresting movie I've ever seen—at least better than Over the Top and the preteen ass-whooping I was given by the semi-psychotic stooge who, I would learn later on, recently lost an election for a podunk county treasurer.