Not long ago after moving, I went to the local movie store. My guess is that five or ten years ago it was an amazing place with stocked shelves full of every movie known to man. It’s now as most retail movie rental shops have become; mostly thirty copies of each new release and only the most recognizable of the films from the past. I bet there’s more Wii games for rent then there are old release comedies. We are living in a Netflix world…
There’s quite an array of movies for sale. They need to get rid of all those thirty copies after they’ve served their time on the store perimeter. Also, they are weeding out their older selection. For whatever insane unthinkable reason, they are weeding out the Rocky movies.
My guess is I was about eight or nine when I watched the original. I was with my dad and he loved the movie. He and my mom had seen it in the drive in the summer it came out. The movie scared me. Especially Pauly, Adrian’s brother. He was the cruelest person I had ever seen real or fictional. When he threw that turkey outside, I wanted to sucker punch him and hug Adrian.
So, back in the movie rental store, I bought the original Rocky as well as the most recent Rocky Balboa (the only one I had not seen as of yet).
I’m sure the whole world know the story of how this film came about, but if not I will educated you. Sylvester Stallone was a unknown actor who had been in a soft porn and a few blah films that no one had ever seen. He was flat broke and wrote the screenplay for Rocky in three days. He sold it, with the condition he would play the starring role. The film then became an outrageous success, a classic.
Stallone, however, outside of Rocky (and the Rambo series, I’ll assume though I have not seen those) has been a Razzie winning Hollywood flop maker.
Here’s what I love about Rocky. It’s gritty. Partially due to the fact that it’s 1976 and filming quality was not what it is now. Add to that the fact that it’s based in the slums. The interior of all the homes of the characters are dingy and dated. The lighting is poor and there are unflattering shadows cast on everyone’s face. They certainly did not overspend on a makeup artist. Many of the scenes are filmed on the street, and those are understated and spectacular. When people are walking around or standing outside and talking, it appears that they are just walking around and talking and not in the middle of a movie set. Though it does not appear amateur. The story comes so close many times to being cheesy and the cringe is building inside my shoulders, and then it falls back.
Rocky has phenomenal characters. Like Mickey, he’s a hoot. He’s the product of a million years of unfiltered camels making that voice unmistakable. Rocky himself seems like too nice a guy many times. Then you wait a few minutes and then you’ll see him punching doors and yelling like a crazy drunk husband. He never does cross that line to a point where you dislike him. My favorite scene is when he visits Adrian in the pet store. He stands there and talks for a few minutes while she listens awkwardly, and then leaves. After the door closes she says, “Bye Rocky.” Oh, sweet love.
This film was made during that time when PG-13 ratings did not exist, and they wanted to keep it in the PG realm. My guess is that some violence and language may have been omitted or just not written in to avoid the R rating.
Then, of course, you have the soundtrack. I think it consists of the one song, reworked in different ways. But we all know that song. nah nah NAH! nah nah nah nah NAHHHH! The best is when it’s played on the piano softly in the background. I don’t really get too amped when it’s blaring during inspirational scenes, probably as a result of the overplay the song’s had the past three decades.
The film does not come with an original concept or story line. The underdog winning is in nearly every sports movie that is made. It does however present it in an manner that I love. Also, Rocky is an effin’ happy guy.
Rocky Balboa was alright, actually my second favorite after the first. I just bought another of the series at the same store today, I’m gonna go watch it now. It’s the third, where Rocky and Adrian are all yuppied out and Mr. T pities the fool who steps into the ring with him. Also, Hulk Hogan stars. It’s the most gimmicky of the series. Soon, I will own them all and be in the market for a new series of vintage films to become obsessed with for a period of time. Any suggestions?