Rocky Was Not at All What I Was Expecting
?Directed by John G. Avildsen?
?Written by Sylvester Stallone?
My delighted feelings about this film stem from the fact that I grew up in the 80s and what I knew of Rocky* was not what this film was. I was ready for thuggish posturing, best of the best, underdog win-it-all and what I found was a meditation on mediocrity, a mostly sweet love story,** and a main character who knew exactly how subpar he was.*** While the writing was good**** Stallone himself wasn’t great, and that kind of sunk the movie for me.*****
The verdict: Skip
(Though honestly, it’s a piece of Americana, captures an interesting period in the US (Philadelphia looks run-down and trashy and all the cars are so very big) and was much better than I thought it would be, so you should probably see it at some point.)
Cost: Free from the Multnomah County Library
Where watched: at home
Consider also watching:
- The Fighter
- Fighting With My Family
- Girlfight (the movie where Michelle Rodriguez imprinted on me)
- The Quiet Man
*I’ve never seen a single film in the franchise, but I loved Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” from Rocky III and growing up I for-sure saw a lot of ads for the movies.
**With an underdeveloped female and a “charmingly persistent” male. Neither have aged well, but I loved the mousy Adrian we began with.
***Favorite scene: Rocky is invited to fight Apollo Creed and have the chance to become the heavyweight champion of the world. His response and reasoning were exactly right and exactly not what I was expecting.
****There are some really great speeches in this film, mostly coming from Apollo Creed, but also Burgess Meredith has his day too, as does Rocky.
*****I see how he channeled all his feelings about failing as an actor into this script. The problem is, that I think he did fail as an actor; his insistence on being Rocky made for a lesser movie.******
******But this was a huge hit, so clearly many people didn’t have a problems I did with this film.
- When did you first see Rocky? What did you know about it.
- Rocky and Adrien’s relationship, yay or nay?
Favorite IMDB trivia item:
Most of the scenes of Rocky jogging through Philadelphia were shot guerrilla-style, with no permits, no equipment, and no extras. The shot where he runs past the moored boat for example, the crew were simply driving by the docks, and John G. Avildsen saw the boat, and thought it would make a good visual, so he had Sylvester Stallone simply get out of the van and run along the quays, while Avildsen himself filmed from the side door. A similar story concerns the famous shot of Rocky jogging through the food market. As he runs, the stall keepers and the people on the sidewalks can clearly be seen looking at him in bemusement. While this works in the context of the film to suggest they’re looking at Rocky, in reality, they had no idea why this man was running up and down the road being filmed from a van.
(A lot of the lore around this film makes for an ever more compelling narrative.)
Other reviews of Rocky:
- Guess how hard it is to find reviews of Rocky written by women.