Number 370 - Rocky
Director - John G Avildsen
Another day and yet another film classic I've failed to see. Has to be said that I was very impressed by this film. It isn't the greatest film n the world, it has a lot of weaknesses, but it is far better than I had anticipated.
The first thing that grabs me is just how young Stallone is, its been a while since I've watched First Blood, so now when I think of Stallone I think of the older modern Stallone. So youth was a surprise, but not as much as the whole dweebyness of the film.
Adrien is certainly nerdier than I thought (I had no idea what Adrian looked like, and it makes sense that she is the Basis for Mrs Gideon in the Killeroo episode - a rocky pastiche). Yes, her physical appearance is nerdy but it is more her character. She is quiet and shy. As is Rocky. The two of the fumble and mutter and are painfully awkward in each other's company.
In fact, I found myself feeling quite a surprising feeling, I though Rocky was quite sweet. He has this built in need to do the right thing, a need that is clearly shown in his adoration of animals. See one of his earlier attempts to get Adrian's attention where he talks in great detail about the differences in turtle food. This is a man who is passionate about his animals and treating them well. Yet, despite this evident he works as a hired goon for a loan shark, admittedly his kindness means he isn't very good at it. But he does it all the same. Rocky is an interesting character and the film follows him for a long time before it focuses on the boxing and the Apollo Creed. In fact for most of the film it is about the relationship of two quite socially awkward people. It is quite adorable.
But let us go to the start of the film, before he gets into his relationship. When we meet Rocky he isn't in the best place. Adrian ignores his pleas for her attention (2 jokes a day). The boxing club has kicked him out and his only friend (or so it seems) is Paulie, Adrian's brother. I'm sorry but Paulie is a dick. He has proper anger management issues. Lashing out over everything. I did start to invent a little back story for him. Maybe he is bipolar. He is probably an alcoholic. Whatever, he is horrible to Adrian and her and Rocky are just too sweet.
Yet, this is a boxing film. So we should probably talk about the boxing. Well particularly one bit. The Montage. Oh you've got to love a montage. If it wasn't for Rocky's horrible grey tracksuit it'd be the best thing ever.
The truth is, with the exception of the montages and the excellent Rocky Theme. There isn't much going for the actual boxing scenes.
Watch him pound meat (not a euphemism) in Paulie's freezer. Watch him run around. Watch him punch a bag. Watch him run up stairs.
Until before long he is fighting Apollo Creed.
What I love is that he doesn't win. Apollo is still world champion, Rocky just manages to survive. This isn't about the underdog beating the villainous baddie. Apollo seems like a genuinely nice (and very well outfitted) guy - after all it is just a sport. Just business. Just a show.
Rocky manages to last the full 15 rounds. He is no longer an unknown boxer. He is a star.
But all of that is peripheral, it is set up to the sequels. What makes Rocky so impressive is that really it is a love story between two shy people who love animals.