Monday, December 21, 2009

Semi-Retro-Appreciation: Rocky Balboa

Now I know that Rocky Balboa was only 2006. But that movie is TOO fucking good. For a while now, I've wanted to do a write-up on it. And I have enough free time right now. So fuck it.
Believe it or not, I wasn't always a die-hard Stallone fan. There was a point where I chose Schwarzenegger over Stallone (though, I was a kid). And I remember watching the news in the summer of '06, and seeing Stallone in Philly spreading the word that they were doing another Rocky. My first thoughts, "Oh god, are you serious?". I mean, all I really really liked from Stallone, at the time, was Rambo. I've always loved Rambo. From the first time I saw First Blood on TV, I was hooked. But Rocky? Not so much. Then came the winter of 2006...
I remember the Wednesday it came out. I was working at the theatre, and my manager comes in acting like Rocky the whole day. It was actually rather annoying. But still amusing. Anyway, so once I got off work, I figured id check it out, just out of curiosity. I missed the first 20 minutes, but I kinda' understood what was happening. It was okay so far, but then it gets to the scene with Paulie in the meathouse, talking about "the stuff in the basement", and all of the sudden... I started to cry. From that point on, I was intrigued. The movie ended, and I was amazed, impressed, shocked, but most of all... I felt bad. I had been bashing Stallone all these months, and he delivers such a well-crafted movie.
Why did I feel bad? Because Rocky Balboa was basically an auto-biography of Sylvester Stallone. Not only did Rocky Balboa make you vulnerable to Rocky, but to Sly as well. Im sure Stallone didnt try to hide the fact that Rocky Balboa was a disguised auto-biography of him. I mean, look at Rocky Balboa. It's about a boxer that started with barely anything, got everything, then lost most of it. That is the life story of Stallone. I wont get into pre-actor Stallone (just watch his Inside The Actor's Studio interview), but from the peak of his career to where he is now, that was Rocky III to Balboa. Look at Stallone after Rambo: First Blood Part II... Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot, Demolition Man, Judge Dredd, Get Carter, Driven? All terrible movies. He fell off the wagon. But a shot of reality entered his brain. Rocky Balboa.
Stallone always said he was never happy with the bookends of Rocky V and Rambo III (eventhough, I love Rambo III). So I know the idea for another Rocky was always in the back of his head. But Im so glad he waited as long as he did. With the 90's came real cheese. And not the fun cheese that came with the 80's. Just real bad unenjoyable cheese (IE Judge Dredd). And Rocky Balboa is as realistic as could be. The way the franchise was going, and went, it needed a 6th film. Rocky II was another Jaws 2 (the same thing, basically. Good, but not as good). Rocky III was just not good. Rocky IV was fun, but not a true Rocky film. And Rocky V just blew horse-dick. And Rocky Balboa was the only Rocky sequel to capture the spirit of the first film.
And now to the film...
There is just so many things to love about it. The honesty of it, being my number one. It really goes back to the first Rocky. It feels just like the first one, without being a rehash. He really closes the book on the series. It's evident that he learned from past mistakes. He used an all-traditional score. There werent any talking robots. There werent freeze-frames for every scene. It was a genuine film.
Though, one thing did piss me off. And it wasn't the film. It was SOME of the fans. "It was good, but they should have gotten Adrian.". What?! The absence of Adrian is what made the film GREAT. Not because Adrian wasn't a good character. Because I loved Adrian. But the loss of her was what gave the movie it's tone. Let's put it this way... Say Adrian was still alive in Rocky Balboa, and the movie was exactly the same, but minus the Adrian-death mentionings. You wouldn't feel NEARLY as bad for Rocky as you did. Due to the fact that it would just feel like he lost an old career or hobby. But because boxing was ALL he really ever had, it made it that much more meaningful.
Truth is, Stallone restored faith in all comebacks for me. Rocky, Rambo, Indy (despite the critical response, most of you know where I stand), Die Hard (eventhough it blew hard [no pun intended]). Rocky Balboa not only gave me a boost in confidence in movies again. But in life in general. Corny as fuck, I know. But I call you a FUCKING LIAR if you watch Rocky Balboa and continue throughout your day not feeling a little better about yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment