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Sunday, December 09, 2001

I'm amazed at how many people I meet who haven't seen the movie Rocky. Sure, they might have seen Rocky IV or Rocky V (I'll make no comment on Rocky V...I'll leave that to others), but they haven't seen the original. The Rocky series doesn't exactly have the greatest reputation as fine cinema, so I'm not generally very successful on getting people to watch the first Rocky. "It won best picture, you know." "Sylvester Stallone wrote it." (He wrote all 5 and directed 3, in fact.) "The quality of the characters is really astounding - it's not a simple boxing movie." They don't want to hear it - they just want to live with their current perceptions of they guy in "Stop Or My Mom Will Shoot" playing a punchy guy with slurred speech.

Maybe there's hope - we've reached the 25th anniversary of the first Rocky movie and lately I've seen some interesting articles that look back at the series in perspective. Most interesting of all has to be Bill Simmons' column on ESPN's Page 2. Simmons' insight is quite amazing - I thought I was the only one who had truly figured out the true meaning behind the Rocky series. We apparently differ on the quality of Adrian's character...I don't find her so annoying, but then again I've more than once fast-forwarded through some of her longer scenes. But never in the first Rocky - there she played one of the most beautiful yet misunderstood female roles I've ever seen.

Check out some of Simmons' comments:

"Best of all, how 'bout Mr. T as Clubber Lang? Was there a better villain in sports movie history? "Hey, woman! Hey, woman! I bet you go to sleep every night wondering what it's like to be with a REAL MAN!!!" I've mentioned this before, but have you ever noticed the eerie similarities between Clubber Lang and Mike Tyson? It was like Mr. T was ripping off Tyson's gimmick before Iron Mike even got started."

"This wasn't exactly an intricate plot: Apollo makes a comeback, gets subsequentally destroyed by Russian Olympic hero Ivan Drago -- partially because Drago forgot that this was supposed to be a damned exhibition and partially because Rocky forgot to throw the damn towel -- which means that Rocky needs to avenge his buddy's death. And he does, in an improbable Christmas Day fight in Russia, for which Rocky receives no money and gets knocked down approximately 330 times before winning the Russian crowd over and vanquishing Drago."

"There's Stallone hopping in his Lamborgini after Apollo dies -- as Robert Tepper's "No Easy Way Out" blares in the background -- and having a flashback driving scene where he goes 140 mph, shifts at least 40 times into at least the 35th gear, and never looks at the road once."

"What a ludicrous, awful movie. I loved it."

Great column. Also be sure to check out Royce Webb's column, Eric Neel's column, and some of Stallone's own comments. Most of all, go watch Rocky, even if you've already seen it. It's worth it.

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