Rocky Balboa

Check it out! Early review #2! Booyah!

Last night I got to see this here at a special screening and (bonus!) the actual human named Sylvester Stallone came out afterwards to answer questions about the movie and stuff! I gotta admit it was pretty friggin awesome watching the last Rocky movie and then seeing the dude come out afterwards to sit there like he's a regular person or whatever. In my head I was like, 'Holy snikees! That's friggin Slyvester Stallone! Lookie!' I guess I'll talk about the movie Q&A stuff after I write about the movie stuff.

So how was this flick? It was actually fun to watch! It had some very good moments. And yeah it had some moments that were stinky cheese and goofball bad. But the flick kept its head above water throughout which was a big phew. And it kept my emotions simmering from beginning to end on some level (even tho at times the level was noticeably low). I don't know if there's every been a goodbye of a movie series like this before. A zero hope of revival. Ever. Out of all the flicks that spawned numerous sequels I don't think anything has ever closed the door completely and intentionally as this movie does. Even a series like the Godfather can unfortunately come back in some incarnation. Old Sicily stuff or whatever. That series can live forever by franchise name in theory. But there will never be another Rocky movie ever. And for that reason there was a heaviness to this movie that brought up a different emotional experience for the most part-- often unrelated to what was going on on screen.

I'm a huge fan of the Rocky movies (besides 5). I've seen each one (besides 5) a minimum of five or six times-- not including 'flip by watchouts' (New Term! Def: When you flip by Spike or whatever and you see Rocky III is on and you watch whatever is left of the movie.) Rocky movies (besides 5) are sort of unturnoffable to me. They never fail to deliver at least one chill. They never fail to at least threaten to get me teary eyed. Never fail to remind me how much I like them (even 4). And this movie does deliver the chills and a couple times a threat of the teary-- but those emotions weren't freshly created. It was more of a defrosting of the past experiences. Sort of like flipping through an old photo album and remembering high school stuff. This movie gave me memory chills from my love of Rocky movies combined with the reality that life is actually like going by!... In real life! Even in the movies! Sly is 60! What? He ages in real life too! Since when? So this movie delivers a 'fresh' experience based on the nostalgia- if that makes sense. Anyway, anybody who loves Rocky movies should see this movie... primarily out of respect. Plus you'll probably get a kick out it.

Yadda the reality of the movie itself is (although it was watchable, goofy and fun)... it is a bit of a lightweight mess. There's character clutter. There's the big shadow of unreality to it all. I thought the final fight was awkward cool but not nearly as intense as I wanted it to be. And the guy who played the 'Champ' was lacking in personality and presence. The whole thing had a hardcore cliched paint-by-numbers look and feel. And yes, sometimes Sly does look distractingly makeup-ed bizarre. But what overrode it was the earnest passion behind it all. The essence of Rocky as a fighter. Jabbing away with blunt force basic philosophy. And when this flick hits you in the soft spots-- it still hits surprisingly hard. The message of getting up and moving forward regardless of what life hits you with.... will get me every time. I admit it. I'm a sucker for a good old-fashioned sucker punch.

Three Good Things About this Movie

- It scrubs clean the plane-crashing-into-a-train level disaster that was Rocky 5.
- The heaviness of age felt like comfortable weight coming off the screen.
- Rocky again inspired. Gonna Fly Now! (and I did get a little choked up when when he hit the slab of beef with Pauly for the last time).

Three Bad Things About this Movie

- Around the 30-45 minute area-- it just sags depressingly bad.
- I would have liked to see more of the bald trainer guy.
- Whatever goldenpalace paid to be advertising all over this flick (although unfortunately realistic) was distractingly cheap.

All in all, if you like Rocky. This movie isn't a disappointment at all. It's a reality check for sure in terms of time passing. But the message still comes across loud and clear. And it's a message that I'll always apply to my personal life: If Mr. T punches you in the face-- go down right away, and stay down and pretend you're totally unconscious until he goes away. Right? ...

Oh wait... have I been watching these wrong?




I did shyly take a picture during the Q& A but I was embarrassed to use the flash so it's like blurry and stuff. But there's Sly!

How cool is that?!!!! So how was he? Honestly, seriously great to listen to.

He talked really frankly about the movie and the whole Rocky thing. And he was funny about it. I was too embarrassed to ask a question because the voice in my head insisted I was freeze up and say something stupid. Like thinking it would be funny to ask if there's gonna be a Judge Dredd 2 or something. But whatever.

Stuff he talked about:

Adrienne is dead in this movie. He talked about how the first script had Adrienne alive and she was psyched to do a new Rocky but then Sly decided it would be better if she was dead. He joked about how tough a phonecall it was to make. And how she sort of argued to have a big death scene --but in the end she was cool about it. She was even a little catty about the 'new Adrienne' love interest in the story.

He talked alot about how hard it was to get this movie made. How it was different for him to have MGM guys telling him that he's a hasbeen and they'd never make the movie and to screw off or whatever. Then those guys got fired and more 'artist friendly' execs came in and turned the project on again. It was apparently a humbling experience to have him fighting to get a picture made. He said that he knew the movie was going to move forward after one of the execs told him that 'his wife liked the script'. Sly said that's why he loves women. Because once he heard that the execs wife liked the script he knew it was going to go through.

He said that Rambo is going to get made next and he seemed psyched about it. And that he had to put aside an Edgar Allen Poe passion project he's been kicking around since the 70's. He said it would get the Poe movie made at some point no matter what and that he was positive it was going to be terrible.

He talked about how the fight scenes were tough to shoot because the guy who he fights in the movie is a real champion fighter guy (I forgot his name) and that he is so super trained that he couldn't help the reflex of bobbing away from a punch and how Sly had to really work with the guy to have him control that instinct. He claims they really hit eachother and one of the knockdowns was a real life knockdown for him. He said that he knew a real fighter wouldn't be able to not get caught up in the moment with the crowd cheering and all. And throw real punches. And he was right. The guy really clocked him once.

He talked about how it was extra difficult to get the movie made because the rights to stuff were all over the place. The music. Scenes from other movies. Apparently Carl Weathers didn't want to sign off on having his image in the film or something. It apparently alot of work just went into picking up pieces to all the rights to stuff.

And when the dude he was talking to said, 'Just a few more questions...' Sly said that he was in no hurry and he'd answer lots more questions which people were psyched about. Because he wasn't all rushed to get away from us.

There was apparently some rumor that he'd written original Rocky in three days and he said there was a definitely 'in the zone' three days when he blasted through the script but he joked about the idea of the script being finished in three days. He said 80% of whatever he wrote during those three days was like bad or whatever.

All in all he seemed like a guy at peace and very happy that he was able to close out Rocky in a respectable way. He knew Rocky 5 was awful and it bothered him that the series would end on that note. And he honestly just seemed like an all around nice guy who knows where he is at this point in his life. And claims that life never really stops handing out challenges and pain... and that there's no other choice but to just keep moving forward. And do your best. And with this movie you can tell it's what he did.

And that was that. Oh! I forgot! When everyone clapped for him at the end, I took a cookie and threw it at him and it bounced off his head. He turned bright red then he ran off stage and came back with a big bazooka and blew a hole in the back of theater and demanded to know who threw the cookie. I felt sort of bad about that because he was a nice guy and he seemed really angry-- plus the theater was pretty nice and the bazooka hole looked like it would be a pain in the ass to fix....

ok bye sly!