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JulyDiaz

Rocky

Rocky  

12 members have voted

  1. 1. Does Rocky belong on the AFI list?

    • I think Rocky's got a good chance.
      11
    • You're a bum, Rock. You're a bum.
      1

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  • Poll closes on 12/14/18 at 08:00 AM

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Paul & Amy go the distance for Sylvester Stallone's 1976 pugilistic parable Rocky! They play a stunning clip of Stallone talking to himself, posit that the film's true villain is Rocky's self-doubt, and question whether the average person is actually more like Paulie. Plus: Boxer and coach Freddie Roach calls in with his thoughts on Rocky and the time he made Mickey Rourke cry.

 

Next week we're talking about Schindler's list, and we want to know what you think of modern black and white films! Call the Unspooled voicemail line at 747-666-5824 with your thoughts. Follow us on Twitter @Unspooled, get more info at unspooledpod.com, and don’t forget to rate, review & subscribe to us on Apple Podcasts. Photo credit: Kim Troxall

Edited by DanEngler

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1. Amy is the best for recognizing the greatness of Rocky Balboa. It is so underrated as a Rocky sequel.

2. Amy and Paul mention Stallone being in a bunch of movies and name Klute and Bananas. I've seen those movies. Stallone is in Bananas but I don't think he has a line. He's just an uncredited tough looking guy but recognizable. In Klute, Stallone is a barely recognizable blob in a crowd scene you'll only notice if you're actively looking for him.

But, yes, Stallone had notable parts in Lords Of Flatbush, Death Race 2000 and Capone. So, he wasn't a complete nobody. 

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One thing about Rocky that comes up is the inconsistency of making it. There is a lot of conflicting stories on how scenes are filmed or even created. There seems to be a lot of mystery to what actually went down.

One thing I read years ago online that I've never seen since (and can't confirm unfortunately and could be completely untrue), is the whole idea that Stallone demanded he play Rocky despite the producers complaining may not even be true. The gist of the story was that they never really balked too much at Stallone playing Rocky. It was a super low budget movie with little risk and, had a functional nobody made such demands, they probably wouldn't have relented. But the story of Stallone making his own rags to riches, underdog story just to make Rocky plays better. So, they just let it go and eventually it became the real story. A print the legend kind of moment.

Again, I can't verify any of this and I can't remember the website. But keeping what we know of the making of this movie and how a lot of the stories conflict. Knowing what we know about Stallone being a revisionist storyteller of his own life, it's seemed plausible to me. 

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5 hours ago, grudlian. said:

1. Amy is the best for recognizing the greatness of Rocky Balboa. It is so underrated as a Rocky sequel.

She has some very wrong opinions about Creed though.

Anyway, on this movie: I like it. I don't have the same emotional connection to the Rocky franchise that a lot of people clearly do, but I can see why it's effective. The training montages and the fight at the end were clearly influential for all future sports movies. So even though this isn't a personal favorite of mine, the cultural stamp of Rocky can't really be denied. I say it stays on the list . . . maybe a bit lower than it is now.

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45 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

She has some very wrong opinions about Creed though.

Anyway, on this movie: I like it. I don't have the same emotional connection to the Rocky franchise that a lot of people clearly do, but I can see why it's effective. The training montages and the fight at the end were clearly influential for all future sports movies. So even though this isn't a personal favorite of mine, the cultural stamp of Rocky can't really be denied. I say it stays on the list . . . maybe a bit lower than it is now.

Amy's opinions on Creed are technically true but I disagree with her. There's a lot of things that don't hold up to scrutiny or are awfully convenient. But you watch it and it feels right in spite of its logic issues (which is how I'd describe most of the Rocky movies).

I'm not sure where Rocky ranks for me on the list. Keep it for sure and probably pretty high. It's just a great watch and it's a weird kind of feel good movie. 

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12 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Amy's opinions on Creed are technically true but I disagree with her. There's a lot of things that don't hold up to scrutiny or are awfully convenient. But you watch it and it feels right in spite of its logic issues (which is how I'd describe most of the Rocky movies).

Her argument that I strongly disagree with here is the idea that Creed ever feels like Stallone is "taking over" the movie with his character. I saw the movie twice and never felt like anyone other than Adonis was the central and most important character. The whole climax is centered around him and the resolution of his character arc. Same with the opening scenes.

It might have been more interesting if Rocky died in the movie, but it's not a deal-breaker IMO.

Where I really like Creed over the other Rocky movies is that I think Coogler's filmmaking chops are a cut above the rest.

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18 minutes ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

Her argument that I strongly disagree with here is the idea that Creed ever feels like Stallone is "taking over" the movie with his character. I saw the movie twice and never felt like anyone other than Adonis was the central and most important character. The whole climax is centered around him and the resolution of his character arc. Same with the opening scenes.

It might have been more interesting if Rocky died in the movie, but it's not a deal-breaker IMO.

Where I really like Creed over the other Rocky movies is that I think Coogler's filmmaking chops are a cut above the rest.

I haven't seen Creed since theatres. So, my memory of it is fuzzy. When I think back about it, the cancer thing does seem unnecessary. But I don't think that in the moment. I'm 100% on board while it's happening. But, again, that's how I feel about a lot of moments in the Rocky franchise.

I think the reason Creed is better than most the Rocky movies (besides Coogler just being a better director) is most the other Rocky movies aren't good. I like them all. Rocky 4 is fucking stupid. Drago is basically a cartoon bad guy. That ridiculous speech at the end. The robot. It's the one Rocky movie where I get pulled out of it regularly with how dumb it gets. Rocky 5 is kind of boring but it's not insulting to watch.

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Oh yeah, Rocky IV is SUPER cartoony. It's also basically a series of music videos with the thinnest of plots connecting them. That's probably why the details of it are seared into everyone's brains -- the iconography is so pronounced.

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1 hour ago, grudlian. said:

it's a weird kind of feel good movie.

I like this description!

I'm still listening to the episode right now, but Paul & Amy keep saying stuff that I hinted at in my longish Letterboxd note about the movie, from it not being so triumphant to the lack of "Hollywood" in it.  I called it an early 'mumblecore' movie.  I really like the realism, from the dirty streets and the dark apartments and train sounds and toilet flushes and even the weird date (I see Amy's flaws in it, but it also feels like how a real guy with no experience would pursue someone - clueless and selfish and inconsiderate).  There is no 'gloss' on this movie, and that's kind of cool.

I won't pretend to be a giant fan of Rocky, but "kind of cool" is about where I am on it (to piggyback off of grudlian's "kind of feel good movie").

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1 hour ago, AlmostAGhost said:

I like this description!

I'm still listening to the episode right now, but Paul & Amy keep saying stuff that I hinted at in my longish Letterboxd note about the movie, from it not being so triumphant to the lack of "Hollywood" in it.  I called it an early 'mumblecore' movie.  I really like the realism, from the dirty streets and the dark apartments and train sounds and toilet flushes and even the weird date (I see Amy's flaws in it, but it also feels like how a real guy with no experience would pursue someone - clueless and selfish and inconsiderate).  There is no 'gloss' on this movie, and that's kind of cool.

I won't pretend to be a giant fan of Rocky, but "kind of cool" is about where I am on it (to piggyback off of grudlian's "kind of feel good movie").

Their date really came across as almost monstrous to me this viewing. I know it's supposed to convey Adrian just being an incredibly shy introvert that Rocky's natural bonhomie wins her over. But he doesn't have a phone, no one will hear her scream, he takes off clothes immediately, he locks her in, he slams his muscular arm against the wall to keep her in, his apartment is disgusting. In any other movie, this would end in sexual assault.

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Just now, grudlian. said:

Their date really came across as almost monstrous to me this viewing. I know it's supposed to convey Adrian just being an incredibly shy introvert that Rocky's natural bonhomie wins her over. But he doesn't have a phone, no one will hear her scream, he takes off clothes immediately, he locks her in, he slams his muscular arm against the wall to keep her in, his apartment is disgusting. In any other movie, this would end in sexual assault.

I was kind of rolling with it until he closed the door and held it closed.

I guess Adrian is lucky that Rocky isn't actually a sexual predator.

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29 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

Their date really came across as almost monstrous to me this viewing. I know it's supposed to convey Adrian just being an incredibly shy introvert that Rocky's natural bonhomie wins her over. But he doesn't have a phone, no one will hear her scream, he takes off clothes immediately, he locks her in, he slams his muscular arm against the wall to keep her in, his apartment is disgusting. In any other movie, this would end in sexual assault.

Yea I'm torn there. I absolutely think we should reinterpret situations to modern rules, but I also don't think I read it as quite that predatory here. Not for this character, anyway.  

Thinking about this whole movie from Adrienne's point of view though is certainly fascinating.

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9 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Yea I'm torn there. I absolutely think we should reinterpret situations to modern rules, but I also don't think I read it as quite that predatory here. Not for this character, anyway.  

Thinking about this whole movie from Adrienne's point of view though is certainly fascinating.

I don't think it's meant to come across as predatory. I don't think that necessarily even crossed Rocky's mind. I'm not even sure if it crossed Adrian's mind. Although as syncasey said, the scene of Rocky holding the door shut features a look from Adrian at Rocky's muscular arm that is very uneasy. That could just be a shy woman on her first date but who knows?

I'd be interested in a movie from Adrian's perspective but she stops wearing her glasses halfway through. So, the movie probably gets pretty blurry.

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1 hour ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Yea I'm torn there. I absolutely think we should reinterpret situations to modern rules, but I also don't think I read it as quite that predatory here. Not for this character, anyway.  

Thinking about this whole movie from Adrienne's point of view though is certainly fascinating.

Oh I have all kinds of thoughts on how Adrienne is treated!

Rocky's entire pursuit of Adrienne is all kinds of creepy. He is entirely unconcerned with who she is as Amy says he only talks about himself on the date. Going up to his house and pressuring her in and that whole scene was super uncomfortable. I never once felt she had any agency in the scene or in the movie. More than just it being 'the times' this was problematic.

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59 minutes ago, grudlian. said:

I don't think it's meant to come across as predatory. I don't think that necessarily even crossed Rocky's mind. I'm not even sure if it crossed Adrian's mind. Although as syncasey said, the scene of Rocky holding the door shut features a look from Adrian at Rocky's muscular arm that is very uneasy. That could just be a shy woman on her first date but who knows?

I'd be interested in a movie from Adrian's perspective but she stops wearing her glasses halfway through. So, the movie probably gets pretty blurry.

Oh, I guarantee even if Rocky's motives were find (and I think they were) Adrienne definitely was not feeling comfortable with Rocky until after they were dating. Her reactions to him were pretty telling. 

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43 minutes ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

He is entirely unconcerned with who she is as Amy says he only talks about himself on the date.

Nah this isn't proof of that.  It's proof of social awkardness.  It's proof of nerves.  It's proof of inexperience, selfishness, a clueless man, a babbling moron.  I don't believe it to be a sign of a monster.  I get the "she wanted to leave and he kept at her" point, but not this.  This is what I meant when I said I thought their weird date felt real to me. It was two socially awkward people having an awkward time, and I don't think we should judge him as if he were some lothario / typical leading man type.  Would it make sense at all if Rocky was a total gentleman and wooed her with flowers and intellect?  No, he'd talk too much and try to kiss her and tell her to spend the night.

I probably shouldn't keep on this, because I support men changing their behavior, 100%.  I'm not coming from it from the wrong side. But if we start pulling social awkardness into this, I dunno.  *shrug*

 

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12 minutes ago, AlmostAGhost said:

Nah this isn't proof of that.  It's proof of social awkardness.  It's proof of nerves.  It's proof of inexperience, selfishness, a clueless man, a babbling moron.  I don't believe it to be a sign of a monster.  I get the "she wanted to leave and he kept at her" point, but not this.  This is what I meant when I said I thought their weird date felt real to me. It was two socially awkward people having an awkward time, and I don't think we should judge him as if he were some lothario / typical leading man type.  Would it make sense at all if Rocky was a total gentleman and wooed her with flowers and intellect?  No, he'd talk too much and try to kiss her and tell her to spend the night.

I probably shouldn't keep on this, because I support men changing their behavior, 100%.  I'm not coming from it from the wrong side. But if we start pulling social awkardness into this, I dunno.  *shrug*

 

Sorry, I haven’t listened to the episode yet so I’m not sure what they said, but I think this is right. I would say, while Rocky may not be intellectually smart, he’s got high emotional intelligence. He knows she’s too shy to talk about herself, so he talks about himself to set her at ease. No, it’s not the most romantic approach, but with these two, traditional romance wasn’t ever really in the cards. If he were to ask her questions about herself, at best, all he’s going to get are “yes/no” answers. Most likely, it would be unintelligible mutterings and quiet nods - which would be far more awkward and uncomfortable. 

Like he tells Paulie, they have gaps and they fit together. She gets him and he gets her. You just kind of have to accept that. 

So, yeah, I agree. I feel like their relationship is realistic in the sense that most real life romances are awkward and stupid. 

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1 hour ago, WatchOutForSnakes said:

I never once felt she had any agency in the scene or in the movie.

I agree, but I also feel like that’s intentional. She’s specially written to have no agency and her journey is to retake it - which she does when she finally snaps at Paulie and moves out. She goes from this mumbling, caged bird, to this woman that’s willing to push and scream her way through a crowd to get what she wants. Granted, it’s not perfect since the thing she wants, as well as the source of her new found confidence, is a man, but it’s still something she wants for herself and actively works toward.

I guess I personally feel like it’s that intention separates it from other movies that treat women like straight props. 

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23 minutes ago, Cameron H. said:

Sorry, I haven’t listened to the episode yet so I’m not sure what they said, but I think this is right. I would say, while Rocky may not be intellectually smart, he’s got high emotional intelligence. He knows she’s too shy to talk about herself, so he talks about himself to set her at ease. No, it’s not the most romantic approach, but with these two, traditional romance wasn’t ever really in the cards. If he were to ask her questions about herself, at best, all he’s going to get are “yes/no” answers. Most likely, it would be unintelligible mutterings and quiet nods - which would be far more awkward and uncomfortable. 

Like he tells Paulie, they have gaps and they fit together. She gets him and he gets her. You just kind of have to accept that. 

So, yeah, I agree. I feel like their relationship is realistic in the sense that most real life romances are awkward and stupid. 

 I agree with this. They work for each other and I think Rocky's intentions are good. Just look at everything leading up to Thanksgiving dinner. He is constantly checking with Paulie that everything is all right and that Adrienne is aware he's coming and all that. He cares about her and realizes that she's shy and doesn't want to push it. We see him practicing the  joke he wants to tell her because he wants to impress her. There so many little things like that that point to, while on paper a big strong guy like him shouldn't have problems with women he is looking for that missing piece. When he meets Adrienne he sees a woman who is the bits he's lacking. He's a rambler, she's quiet and listens. He acts, she thinks. This ultimately leads to the apartment scene. While him holding the door shut did make me a little side eye it, I firmly believe that if she turned away from the kiss he would have stopped. He's never that aggressive with her prior or in the rest of movie and they do seem to really love each other. So while in the moment it seems a little strong when looked at he whole I feel okay with it.

Also, not sure if it was intended or not but I like the fact that he shows her his turtles. She quickly acknowledges that she knows because she's the one that sold them to him. However, I read this more as hi saying to her "Look around, am the kind of guy that keeps turtles?" where he is showing her that basically he got the turtles as a way of getting to know her and talk to her. 

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I was trying to figure a way to say this in my letterboxd review but I couldn't think of a pithier way of saying it. I think it is funny that this movie is considered a sports movie or a boxing movie when it is more of a character study. One can relate the message to being about sports and boxing, but this is a story about this man. About getting to know him and where he's from and what he's about and seeing him struggle and grow. The boxing is just a device to allow and show that happen. If this was a movie truly about boxing we'd see more scenes of him learning or honing his technique and more boxing scenes. You definitely would not have that first hour if it was just about the sport. That's why the end of the movie isn't about whether he won or lost but rather that he did it and proved it to himself. Much like why Last Christmas by Wham! is not a Christmas song, you could easily replace the boxing with some other competitive sport like many other films went on to do and the story doesn't change.I think just calling it a boxing movie or a sports film you are missing what makes this movie great. That's also to me a shame that the rest of the films until Balboa basically put the boxing first and all the great character stuff second. 

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I could be reading too much into things, but I thought although Adrian was nervous, she didn't necessarily want to leave Rocky's apartment either.  It's this little moment where Rocky has his arms on both sides of her and she sort of checks out his forearm:

cybSCsE.png

So sorry about the huge pic (and the odd screen grab), but I thought it was kind of hot.  After they get down to the floor (and I instantly wanted to bleach the doorway), Adrian lets out a moan and I thought again, hot.  Anyway, I didn't believe for a second that Rocky would have it in him to hold her against her will.  I think he liked her too much. 

Also, Amazon trivia says that this scene wasn't shot the way it was originally scripted.  Talia had the flu and was worried about giving it to Stallone, so she was very hesitant to kiss him.  Her hesitation was reported a big improvement over the actual scripted scene that they kept it.  Stallone said this is his favorite scene in the entire Rocky saga and both he and Talia Shire see the scene as a "birth-scene" for Adrian, where she is awakened to a new life.

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5 minutes ago, tomspanks said:

Also, Amazon trivia says that this scene wasn't shot the way it was originally scripted.

That's interesting, and something I've been thinking about in all our movies lately. Wasn't Taxi Driver also written one way first, but due to limitations or luck or whatever, it ended up being another (far far better) way?  (I'm about to sleep, can't recall the specifics right now.) These sort of coincidences of fortune seem to come up often in these AFI films.  So are great movies just a product of luck?  Or like, a function of a good director/writer who can notice and adapt?  I mean, all along the way of Rocky, it could have fallen apart/been far less great so so so easily, but they continually got to go with the flow in ways that really help it (from minor things like the robe fitting to this scene with Adrian, etc.).

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Re: above, Orson Wells said a director is someone who presides over a series of accidents.

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