Saturday, December 21, 2013

ROCKY (1976)

Made for a million bucks and filmed in just 28 days, ROCKY tells the touching story of an amateur boxer, Rocky Balboa, who was born and raised in a rough, run down as fuck neighborhood in Philadelphia.  Rocky supplements the meager boxing pay by being a collector for a local small time loan shark.  But he's not really good at it, since he's too kindhearted to revert to physical violence.  He's also in love with a nerd named Adrian, who works at the neighborhood pet store.  He finally, after a long time of trying, convinces her to go out with him.  The date should have been a disaster, but it's not and they learn that despite all of their differences their two broken halves make a good whole. 

At the same time, the undefeated heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed, has the opponent in his upcoming title defense fight cancel because of an injury.  Nobody else will step in since the fight is only five weeks away and that's not enough time to train.  Facing a financial disaster, Creed comes up with the idea of letting a local amateur have a chance at the title.  He ends up picking Rocky "The Italian Stallion" Balboa because he thinks the name will look good in lights.  Rocky reluctantly agrees.

There's much more to the film that I won't go into and ruin it for you.  I'll just say ROCKY is a really, really great film.  You might think that it's completely about boxing (and a large portion of it is), but I think it's also about unrealized/missed dreams (just look a Mickey's face as he's leaving Rocky's apartment), being a good human being (Rocky carrying the bum in from the cold, talking to the young girl, talking to animals, etc.), grabbing that one chance when you get it, personal growth (Adrian) and most importantly: love.  Rocky's devotion to Adrian is beautiful to watch.  I think the exact moment I decided to add ROCKY to my Best Film's List was when he asked where her hat was.  All of this shit he's gone through, damn near had his brains bashed out through his earhole and the very first thing he does when he sees her is express concern about her.

Beautiful photography, Burgess Meredith snarling, a perfect script, meat punching, chicken chasing, great acting by everybody, legendary music.  Highly recommended.

Part 2 - Rocky II (1979)
Part 3 - Rocky III (1982)
Part 4 - Rocky IV (1985)
Part 5 - Rocky V (1990)
Part 6 - Rocky Balboa (2006)
Part 7 - Creed (2015)
Part 8 - Creed II (2018)
Part 9 - Creed III