Wednesday, October 23, 2013

"Yo, Adrian."

I'm still very excited about having been featured by The Publication Coach.  I felt like I've just received a call from Carl Weather's manager (as Apollo Creed, of course) and told that the champ wants to meet me.

It's easy to mock a film franchise that just keeps adding numbers after the title.  After all, how creative is that?  It's like those people who end their passwords with a number and increase it by one each time the system says, "Password Expired, please enter a new one."  You know those people right?  What?  Stop looking at me!

Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Lord of the Rings - each film was unique and complete in itself (except maybe Empire...) - and all had their own name.  We talk about Return of the King being epic, or Raiders being perhaps the greatest film ever made.  Then there are Jurassic Park, Iron Man, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th,… - not so much on the original side for either title or story.  But it's easy to forget, when you are watching part 14 of something, that the original story was pretty good, perhaps even very good, and that’s why are getting to watch it again.

Rocky and Adrian
The problem is that if you watch a part 2 or 4 first, you think the whole shebang is bunk.  That's what happened to me with a certain boxer from Philadelphia.  I remember seeing trailers and posters for his movies - always the same - a sweaty guy in a boxing ring – in a never ending upward count (remember the Space Balls newscast with a review of Rocky 5… thousand?  I saw bits and pieces of some of the movies, rocked out to their themes, but when I was finally old enough to actually go watch one in the theater we were on #5.  It was awful.  Truly a terrible movie.

The boxer?  Rocky Balboa, of course.  I did eventually watch all of Rocky IV (I wore out my tape of the soundtrack) and it might have been good when it came out but it seemed pretty thin to me.

Why does everyone gush over "Rocky" - saying things usually reserved for such classics as "Gone With the Wind" and "Casablanca?"  Time and again, I asked people about Rocky and they all pretty much said, "Awesome movie.  You should definitely watch it."  How could this be?  Inquiring minds want to know so recently I've read bits of the script.  It seemed like a good story and with all the fuss, to not actually watch the film would be snobby at this point.

So we watched it this weekend during "Family Movie Night."  I was blown away.  I entered with pretty low expectations but now I can't get that silly song out of my head (though I’m air boxing rather than doing jazz hands).  It was a great movie followed by a half dozen copycats that weren't.  Let me repeat that.  Rocky was a great movie.  I recommend it to everyone.

The best scene in the movie for my wife and I was when Rocky is talking to the teenage girl that he pulls away from the wrong crowd and walks home.  The two of them go back and forth and children #3 and #4 started complaining about how "This movie makes no sense" and "What language are they speaking?" and "I can't understand this guy."  We were rolling on the floor, rotflol-ing out loud.

#1 watched the whole movie with us - and enjoyed it.  He said, "You know?  I like Rocky.  He kept trying to do the right thing even though he did some bad stuff."  And that sums it up.  In the original story, we care about Rocky.  He's a half-bum with a dream, a young man trying to get the girl.  He was honest, earnest and relatable and you couldn't help but root for him.

I think this movie worked so well because it was about a man who loved to box, not boxing.  Rocky knocked "Stop, or My Mom Will Shoot!" out of the top spot for Sylvester Stallone movies in my book.  That's kind of funny, in a way, because "Rocky" was written by Stallone - not known for his writing - while SORMWS! was penned by none other than Blake Snyder - the man behind the well-respected "Save the Cat" books.

Do you have any memories of Rocky?  Did you find inspiration from the Itallian Stallion?  I'll be running with bricks in my hands from now on.

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