You’re Gonna Eat Lightnin’ and You’re Gonna Crap Thunder!
Dani really likes to get the most out of her reviews. So far, she’s only made two recommendations, but those two recommendations were for 6 movies a piece. Thankfully, I had already reviewed the first 6, but the second request starts us off on a brand new sextology. Giggle. I would call the first movie in this series one of the best movies of all time, and the ensuing sequels spiraled pretty quickly down the drain, allowing part four to have some campy charm, and not bringing it back to quality until years later in the sixth movie. Thankfully, today we’re talking about the best of the sextology. Unfortunately, that means I’ll have to do the next five. Today’s movie is Rocky, written by Sylvester Stallone, directed by John G. Avildsen, and starring Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Carl Weathers, Burgess Meredith, Burt Young, Joe Spinell, Tony Burton, Joe Frazier, and Frank Stallone. HEY, BABY DANI!!!
Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is a mediocre boxer that highlights as a debt collector for Anthony Gazzo (Joe Spinell). He lives in Philadelphia and is a generally good guy who occasionally stalks the quiet, homely pet store clerk named Adrian Pennino (Talia Shire), sister to his friend Paulie (Burt Young). Rocky’s life changes when the opponent of the undefeated heavyweight champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) gets injured, leaving Creed to figure out something else for his New Year’s Day Bicentennial fight. He comes up with the idea to give a shot at the title to the unlikeliest of contenders. Rocky Balboa is picked because Creed decides he’s the pinnacle of Americanism due to his nickname “The Italian Stallion.” …Okay! I guess that makes sense. Either way, Rocky’s gonna go through with it. The owner of the gym he trains at, ex-bantamweight fighter Mickey Goldmill (Burgess Meredith), becomes Rocky’s manager.
This movie makes me sad. Not because of the quality of the movie; it’s actually really good and still totally holds up. And it’s also not because of the material, because it kind of has a happy ending. What makes me sad is that I know there are some people (mostly women) that refuse to watch this movie and it’s sequels because they have an idea of what the movie is that isn’t actually true. I would assume that they think the movie is just a boxing movie as the sequels became. It’s true that this is a boxing movie, and a really great example of the underdog overcoming expectations and triumphing, but this is actually a secondary plot in the movie. Another big plot in the movie is actually a love story. In fact, the climax of the movie is not the outcome of Rocky’s battle with Apollo Creed, it’s Adrian and Rocky confessing their love for each other. Women should be all over that stuff! I would say they do beat us over the head a little bit with how good of a guy Rocky is in this movie. He helps drunks off the sidewalk, he goes against his bosses orders when it comes to hurting people that owe him money, he gives inspirational speeches to ne’er-do-well children, and is crushing on the homely girl instead of some hot bimbo. The first time he kisses Adrian is a little bit on the rapey side, but she digs him later so that’s her problem. Another thing that makes me mad about women not wanting to give this movie a chance is that this thing was nominated for 9 Academy Awards, winning three of them, for things like Best Picture (won), Best Director (won), and nominations for Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay. I’m not just arguing for a movie that I like, this is a movie that makes it into most top 100 films of all time lists. Bitches, y’all need to get over the boxing and watch this movie. I’m a poor excuse for a man, and have admitted it on numerous occasions. I hate the greater majority of all sports, and am not particularly a fan of boxing, but I still love this movie. This movie can’t be faulted for it because it’s the first in the series, but you can pay attention to the basic formula of the movie and have a good idea of how the remaining movies will turn out. Rocky will probably be an underdog, he’ll get mopey about it for a little while, then he’ll train super hard in a low tech kind of way, and then he’ll at least perform beyond expectations, if not win. That’s a basic plot summary of all of the Rocky movies. But this is the first one, so it can’t be blamed.
I felt like all of the performances in this movie were very real, but a few of them were still irritating. This movie makes me wonder why Sylvester Stallone doesn’t act anymore. I know he still shows up in movies, but he left actual acting by the wayside. His performance in this movie was really good and seemed very real, but he got irritating over the course of the movie. He just wouldn’t shut up at times in this movie. Like when he was ice skating with Adrian. It might have been his character’s nerves, but his mouth just kept letting things spill out of it. Even with that, he was very good in this movie. Talia Shire was also pretty good, but didn’t have to do a lot. Her character was realistic, but was also really quiet and reserved, allowing her to sort of coast in the movie. Carl Weathers was over the top and charismatic for the scenes when he was there, but he didn’t have that much screen time that didn’t involve him punching Rocky in the face. Burt Young was also very realistic in this movie, but he was also a drunken asshole. I don’t know how this guy makes it through all the movies. If I were Rocky, I’d have beaten him to death pretty early in the first movie. I would say that the hands down best performance in this movie was Burgess Meredith. He was real and grizzled and angry, mostly only speaking in gravelly yells. But he also has one great scene of great vulnerability as he goes to basically beg Rocky to let him be his manager. Just fantastic.
Women-folk, you need to get over the fact that there is boxing in this movie and watch it. It’s a fantastic underdog story and a good love story mixed in there as well. It’s much more about the relationships and how they change with this fight than about the fight itself. But it’s also a pretty good boxing movie as well. The performances in the movie are really good and they feel like real people, so much so that a few of them are irritating, but they work for the movie. I think this movie needs to be watched, should be in any respectable DVD collection, and would easily make it into a list of my favorite movies of all time. Get to watching this movie. And come back in the next couple of days to find out which (if any) of the other ones you should watch. For today, Rocky gets “He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!” out of “ADRIAN!”
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