The first thing you probably should know is that James Willems and Lawrence Sonntag are popular YouTubers. They are hosts on a channel called Funhaus, which has over a million subscribers. You might think that that playing video games and talking about them to the Internets with your buddies sounds like a dream job, but Willems held on to a niggling desire to fulfill a childhood dream: to become a pro-wrestler.
Haus of Pain is the documentary that watches James follow his dream as his indulgent friend Lawrence gamely tags along. They take vacation time from work in order to work out at a wrestling school to learn the moves, and to develop characters. Old home video of James proves that wrestling has indeed been a life-long obsession of his. It also proves that he should be embarrassed about this, but he isn’t, not even when the costumes arrive and PVC is the material of choice.
The two train, are big babies about small injuries, and spend most of their time cultivating their alter egos – James Angel and The Troll – in order to sell the wrestling “story”. When they’re eventually deemed ready, they meet up in a tag team match against a hateful pair ready to rip them apart in from of literally dozens of their fans.
Here’s the thing. When I was a little girl, my dream job was to work in a Bandaid factory. I can’t quite work up the same enthusiasm for it as I did back then, but here’s what I know: I was the eldest of four daughters in my family, each one cuter and needier than the last. My (single) mother only had attention to spare for me if I was bleeding, so I cultivated an interest in Bandaids right quick, being the smart aleck in the family. And back then Bandaids weren’t the sterile little pieces of plastic they are today. They were fabric. And that fabric was disgusting immediately. It picked up every germ you ever encountered, stayed damp constantly from the merest of hand-washings, and developed a distinct, pervasive smell. A smell that I LOVED. So obviously to work in a Bandaid factory and be surrounded by these miraculous little sympathy-earners all day long would be a dream come true. One of my sisters dreamed of becoming a berry picker, another of being a gas pumper, and another aspired to become a member of Barbie’s band (sure they were cartoon fictional characters, but why not dream big?). I have no idea how we all turned out to be educated, gainfully employed adults, but it has a little something to do with letting go of our foolish childhood dreams, I’m guessing.
James went for his. And whether you find that inspirational or irrational is a matter of opinion – one you can form by checking out the doc.
Haus of Pain premiered on April 28th exclusively on FIRST, Rooster Teeth’s streaming service available at RoosterTeeth.com and on Xbox One, Apple TV, iOS and Android apps.
What did you want to be when you grew up?