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Rocky

Rocky  

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  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.
      2

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

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Comparative list post.

AFI (2007 | 1997): 57th | 78th

BFI Critic's poll, 2012 (ranking, US filtered ranking, votes): -- (all), -- (US), 0 votes

BFI Director's poll, 2012 (ranking, US filtered ranking, votes): 546, 229.32 (US), 1 votes

IMDB (rank, rating): 223, 8.1 rating (it looks like number 250 on the list has a 8.0 rating)

Metascore: 70

TSFDT (ranking, US filtered ranking): 575th, TBD

Oscar BP status: winner (beating out Taxi Driver, Network, All the President's Men, Bound for Glory)
 

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On 12/7/2018 at 7:20 PM, sycasey 2.0 said:

Isn't this really true about almost everything you'd call a "sports movie?" The actual sports scenes are usually relatively few, and most of the movie is spent building up the characters . . . because that's how movies work, you have to care about the people in the "big game" more than the game itself.

I was thinking the same thing.

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As a child, my impression of Rocky was formed by the campy sequels.

As a teenager, I revisited the first because I was surprised it won best picture, and thought it was surprisingly good.  Maybe due to the campy expectations I had of the franchise.

This is my first revisit since then, I think.  I was mostly... "eh."  I can't say I disliked it, and I think that stems from liking the style of 70s dramas more.  But I couldn't help but notice the cat-saving Paul mentioned, and Adrian seemed like an over-the-top caricature.  It wasn't terrible, but it seems like there's other dramas from the era that I like more (just off the top of my head: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, Five Easy Pieces - though maybe that last one won't age as well for me either with a revisit).  Boy, this makes me nervous about Jaws.  Because I may not have seen it since around the same time as well.  I hope that one will hold up.

And we already have Raging Bull on the list, which I also need a revisit for, but I'm guessing will still be viewed favorably from my viewpoint.  And I was going to say something about watching both of these together, but given all the, "You're a bum," and working bone breaker for a mob boss, I feel like this one might have been in conversation with (or inspired by?) On the Waterfront.  Since it's been a long time for that one for me, I probably would have liked to have revisited that one first before revisiting this one.

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I know I'm late to the party on this one, but I just wanted to add in my two cents concerning this film and the franchise. My love for Rocky as a character and in the films themselves is nearly boundless, warts and all. There are flaws in all the entries in the series but I am able to enjoy them all to differing degrees (being the big exception), and they all have my whole heart. That's part of why I waited so long to post here, as I did not want to be too vociferous in my response.

I could go on, so I will focus specifically on something Amy said about Creed that I profoundly disagree with. When Rocky gets cancer in that film, I believe it would have been the weaker choice, for both the film and the character, if he would have forgone treatment, if he had given up, and died. It might have provided some narrative symmetry with Mickey dying, but Rocky giving up is anathema to the spirit of the character and the themes in this film and the original. Sure, Rocky almost always needs help to stay the course, but he always comes through in the end. It is the same with Adonis. They both need each other to make the more difficult, the stronger choice. They have to find the strength to not only fight for each other, but to discover (or rediscover) the self-worth to be able to fight for themselves. Rocky needed to learn how to value himself again, that his life mattered (so he could train Adonis, sure, but also so he can live). Just because he's no longer the titular character doesn't mean his story is now worthless. Adonis loves him, and sacrificing himself because his own fight would be a distraction would be a betrayal of that love, not supportive of it.

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1 hour ago, Quasar Sniffer said:

Adonis loves him, and sacrificing himself because his own fight would be a distraction would be a betrayal of that love, not supportive of it.

And Adonis says as much in the film. I think that's right.

Honestly, most of Amy's criticisms of Creed are pretty baffling to me.

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5 hours ago, Quasar Sniffer said:

When Rocky gets cancer in that film, I believe it would have been the weaker choice, for both the film and the character, if he would have forgone treatment, if he had given up, and died.

Sometimes people fight and still die.  When Adrian died of cancer, do you think she gave up?  I don't think that Amy is saying that Rocky should have given up, but that it comes off as lazy storytelling to have this life-threatening disease enter the story simply to symbolize Rocky's decision about how he feels about his own life.  As Amy said, that part of the plot is not played for how it affects Adonis, but only about Rocky grappling with his feelings, so, as she said, it feels like Stallone realized the movie was too much about Adonis and wrote himself his own little storyline.  

I like Creed a lot, but I think Amy is dead-on with her criticism of this particular subplot.

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True Story:  When I attended Columbia College in the mid-to-late 90s there was this black Woman (in her 50s?) who worked for the Chicago CTA on the El Train.

One day (March or April 97), we got into a discussion, and I told her I was a film student.  She told me out of the blue in a very passionate way that her Brother wrote Rocky, amd Sylvester Stallone stole it, and that she told anyone who would listen. She would say that Rocky is a Black man's story and only a black man could write it.

My one regret was that I was taking a Documentary class at the time, and slept through making her (and a Brother a Doc subject.

I have searched this story over the years, and did find something ocer 10 years ago with I beleive a photo of this man - but what is interesting is that over the years all record of this happening has been removed.

BTW:  I was the school film critic at the time (went by my nickname Sandy Campbell), and did get to see films with Siskel & Ebert when they were still alive, but that is a story for another time.  Siskel died during this time frame, and all of the Film Reviewers felt guilty because they thought he had become lazy and stopped being a serious critic, and did not realize he was ill.

 I wanted to be a film critic when I was a teenage boy in Canada.  Why am I not? Well, there is a story there.

PS:  When I google this now - I get Chuck Wepner crap who is white (that Rocky stole Wepner's story making it dofficult for Wepner to make his own movie.

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15 hours ago, bleary said:

Sometimes people fight and still die.  When Adrian died of cancer, do you think she gave up?  I don't think that Amy is saying that Rocky should have given up, but that it comes off as lazy storytelling to have this life-threatening disease enter the story simply to symbolize Rocky's decision about how he feels about his own life.  As Amy said, that part of the plot is not played for how it affects Adonis, but only about Rocky grappling with his feelings, so, as she said, it feels like Stallone realized the movie was too much about Adonis and wrote himself his own little storyline.  

I like Creed a lot, but I think Amy is dead-on with her criticism of this particular subplot.

See, I fundamentally disagree with that as well. I think having Rocky fight the cancer and then give him a death scene, or even a death scene without fighting the cancer, would do just as much, if not more, to take away from Creed's story than Rocky living. It would have been too much, especially in the eyes of the media, for a story that should be Creed's, not the titular character of six other movies. His presence would have loomed too large if his death scene was there to loom over the rest of the film.

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15 hours ago, bleary said:

I don't think that Amy is saying that Rocky should have given up, but that it comes off as lazy storytelling to have this life-threatening disease enter the story simply to symbolize Rocky's decision about how he feels about his own life.  As Amy said, that part of the plot is not played for how it affects Adonis, but only about Rocky grappling with his feelings, so, as she said, it feels like Stallone realized the movie was too much about Adonis and wrote himself his own little storyline.  

Hard disagree. This subplot culminates in Adonis finding out about Rocky's cancer and admonishing him for keeping it a secret and refusing to fight for his life. This is then reflected in Adonis' epiphany during the last match that he also needs to learn to fight for himself (not against his father or anyone else). Then in the denouement we see Adonis and Rocky running up the steps together, visually demonstrating how they supported each other in their respective battles. It's a supporting arc that feeds the main character's arc, not one that "takes over" at all.

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5 hours ago, sycasey 2.0 said:

Hard disagree. This subplot culminates in Adonis finding out about Rocky's cancer and admonishing him for keeping it a secret and refusing to fight for his life. This is then reflected in Adonis' epiphany during the last match that he also needs to learn to fight for himself (not against his father or anyone else). Then in the denouement we see Adonis and Rocky running up the steps together, visually demonstrating how they supported each other in their respective battles. It's a supporting arc that feeds the main character's arc, not one that "takes over" at all.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree.  For one thing, what battle?  Maybe I'm remembering the film incorrectly, but it seemed like as soon as he decided to fight the cancer, he won.  (Was he already in remission by the time the fight happened?)

5 hours ago, Quasar Sniffer said:

I think having Rocky fight the cancer and then give him a death scene, or even a death scene without fighting the cancer, would do just as much, if not more, to take away from Creed's story than Rocky living. It would have been too much, especially in the eyes of the media, for a story that should be Creed's, not the titular character of six other movies.

I can see this argument against killing him off, but that's not the biggest crux of my problem with the subplot.

So I think my main problem with it is to make the problem cancer comes off as lazy storytelling to me.  If there has to some problem Rocky faces that parallels what Creed is facing, then either it's a problem that can be fixed by a pep talk from Adonis, or it can't.  And if it can't, then to not show the battle, but only say that it's been resolved, it cheapens the magnitude of the problem.  As I recall, the only ill effects Rocky suffered from his cancer was that he was a little slower climbing the Philly Art Museum steps at the end?  The tidiness of the resolution is not commensurate with the size of the problem in my opinion, and that's what feels lazy.  So Amy seemed to argue for a less tidy resolution, such as Rocky dying, and I can see that as being interesting.  I can also see Quasar Sniffer's argument against it.  But if the resolution must be as tidy as it is, the problem should be small enough that it can be fixed by a pep talk from Adonis.

 

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To me, the cancer itself did not read as "resolved" at the end of Creed, just that the characters' relationship was solidified. I don't think the movie states one way or the other if he's beaten cancer yet.

I haven't seen Creed II yet, so maybe that further explains what happened there. Or maybe I just don't remember the original movie well enough (I haven't seen it since theaters).

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I'm listening to this episode now and I was immediately reminded of the story my parents told me when they first watched this movie. 

They saw this movie in a full theater in Mexico. People were so into the movie that during the final match people were actually shouting at the movie screen as if they were actually watching a real boxing match. They were yelling at Rocky to stand up, people were standing up, it was insane. 

I love that story. 

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Rocky is one of the only movies I saw more than once during its initial run in theaters.  I only saw Star Wars once.   I watched it about a year ago and thought it was still great.  

I loved Creed.  I voted for it as best movie of that year in the Canon podcast.  Amy's been wrong about Creed for a long time.  Listening to all the Ryan Coogler interviews about Creed and the Rocky movies made me re-watch Rocky II -- he talked it up.  That's an interesting movie.  Some real flaws but worth a watch.

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