The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal - The Things We Forget
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The Things We Forget|
Not that anyone who grew up in a time past the 80s would care, but I just rewatched "Rocky" for the first time since, well, since I was a kid. And man, what a different film it is.
See, in the aftermath of the endless Rocky sequels (and Rocky Balboa is better than you'd think), the essential character of Rocky changed. By the time Rocky 2 rolled around, Rocky had become a champion fighter, and Rocky 3 involved him being such a champion that he'd forgotten how to fight (or, if you prefer Survivor, he'd lost the eye of the tiger). By the time we get to Rocky Balboa, the whole plot hinges upon the fact that a computer simulation pegs old-school Rocky as handily defeating the current world champion.
But that's not what happens in the first film.
Rocky is a bum.
I'd forgotten the fact that the whole point of the first movie is that Rocky's not a very good fighter. Oh, he's got heart - he wants it so badly - but he doesn't have the talent to crawl out of the slums by himself. He's a loser, a failed strongarm man, and someone who's getting kicked out of the club because he can't win enough. You like Rocky, but he doesn't have what it takes, and everyone knows it.
Then, thanks to luck from the angels, he gets his one shot at the top - against a guy who's barely trained for it, who's so arrogant that he blows this match off as another paycheck. And Rocky, using every ounce of willpower and courage, decides that he's going to make his stand here with everything that he has.
Truth is, he's still not that good. But on that one day, in that one hour, he's good enough.
That's the miracle. And Lordy if I am not a sucker for miracles.
It's the part about the romance that set me to bawling this time, though. I knew the story; Rocky loves his girlfriend Adrian, Rocky's losing, Rocky thinks of Adrian and rallies. But what I didn't catch as a kid was the surprisingly subtle moment when Adrian sees Rocky losing. She clenches her teeth. She narrows her eyes. She nods a little.
Yes, she thinks, considering it slow and hard. I will love him after this. It's going to be harder, because he's going to hate himself and he might even self-destruct in the aftermath... But I'm his, and he's mine.
He can lose. I'll still be here.
It's that, I think, that rallies Rocky. Not the thought of losing her; that's not a question. It's the knowing that she's there for him. That he's not going to lose because he doesn't want to do that to her.
That's the kind of love I respect. That's what I always wanted.
Thank God I got my Adrian.
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 07:40 pm (UTC)|| |
The touching part for me was when she was in the hospital and Rocky was there all the time, reading to her each night. His dream opportunity didn't matter anymore. All that mattered was the woman he loves.
Yeah, I'm a sap.
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC)|| |
Cripes I wish y'all would use a spoiler cut for this stuff! I haven't seen this movie yet!!
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)|| |
He didn't give the BIG spoiler -- whether Rocky wins or loses.
Remember: sure, Apollo Creed didn't train at all, and Rocky spent every waking moment training: but Creed is STILL stronger, faster, more talented, and a better fighter than Rocky.
It's not a forgone conclusion. . .
The next five movies are Rocky sitting on the couch watching TV!
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 10:07 pm (UTC)|| |
Bitching about how he blew his ONE big chance -- how he coulda been a contenda!
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 08:16 pm (UTC)|| |
Rosebud's a sled.
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)|| |
Luke had a plan.
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 10:07 pm (UTC)|| |
You will be shocked - shocked - to learn that, over on Echo Station, Dex conceded that Luke actually had a plan. It was in the last couple months. I'm still recovering from the stun effect myself.
|Date:||April 20th, 2007 12:24 pm (UTC)|| |
Okay, did I wake up in bizarro world this morning?
Dex conceded that Luke had a plan?!
|Date:||April 20th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC)|| |
He did indeed. I literally missed my bus, staring at the screen with my mouth open.
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 10:09 pm (UTC)|| |
So, here's a question: the whole point of the movie is that Kane died entirely alone, a paranoid recluse in his Xanadu mansion. Nobody around, nobody who cared for him, entirely alone.
How the hell did anyone KNOW what his last word was?!
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)|| |
All your base are belong to Omniscient Narrative POV.
|Date:||April 20th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)|| |
You win the internet.
Well, he had servants and stuff. He just didn't have anyone there that didn't have to be paid to be around him.
|Date:||April 20th, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)|| |
Not in the room at the time. The nurse has to come running in from the other room when she hears the crash of the snowglobe.
|Date:||April 22nd, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)|| |
Yeah, right. Next thing you're going to tell me is that Dorothy dreamed the whole thing...
|Date:||April 22nd, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)|| |
Not in the books, dammit.
Odd. Wm. and I just watched both "Rocky Balboa" and "Rocky" this past week...and I had many of the same thoughts as you on the subject. Those two films are a surprisingly well-done story, and now I understand a bit more about what was always (to me) a rather odd Academy Award choice.
I don't plan to watch the rest of them, though...not only because I always thought that Survivor song was a icky piece of 80s dreck (YMMV).
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC)|| |
I pity tha fool who don't watch Rocky III!
Sorry, I couldn't resist. Rocky III was bad. Rocky IV was worse. Never saw Rocky V. You haven't missed much.
but rocky 4 ended communism!
|Date:||April 20th, 2007 12:27 pm (UTC)|| |
Hey, yo! Gorbachev! I did iiiiit!!! Now, yo, tear down duh wall! Adriaaaaaaannnnnnnn!
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)|| |
It may have been a case where the Acadamy screwed up, looking what else it was up against.
But Rocky remains an actually good movie.
This post really hit me hard. It's so true. It's amazing what you see in movies you watched as a kid, when you're all grown up. Made me take a step back and thank God for my 'Adrian.'
I totally loved those movies, and I'll never forget the emotions of seeing the first one. I'm such a sap, and those things really move me.
I'm a child of the 50s and 60s, I was a teenager in the 60s. It was such an incredible time. I even saw the original Mickey Mouse Club and shows such as Wunda Wunda (a funny witch), and JP Patches (who was a resident of West Seattle, near where I lived).
It is such a hugely different world in what we are offered to watch now. Of course, back then we only had a few channels to choose from and they logged off the air late at night (before midnight).
Yep, I'm older than dirt, LOL.
Maybe it's been too long since I've seen it but I thought rocky does lose?
I think you could say Apollo won but Rocky didn't lose (to use a somewhat hokey figure of speech). Not only did he manage to "go the distance" with the champion, but it was a split decision (meaning one of the three judges did score Rocky as the victor).
It was, really, a moral victory.
And, as I recall, it won the respect of Apollo. They grew to be good friends, even after Rocky beat him in the sequel.
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 10:11 pm (UTC)|| |
He'd set his goal to finish the match on his feet. He KNEW he wasn't going to win -- but if he could lose by decision instead of by knockout, he'd consider himself to be something other than a bum.
The Millennium Falcon is much the same as Rocky's boxing skills -- in Star Wars it really is a hunk of junk, but by the time we pick things up in Empire and especially Jedi, it's teh Greatest Space Ship, like, EVAR!!11!1
It didn't exactly perform too well in Empire, either. At least in Star Wars it could reliably get to Lightspeed.
Eh, it was doing pretty good zipping between those meteors.
|Date:||April 19th, 2007 10:37 pm (UTC)|| |
Once upon a time, I took six months of a martial art which included a fair bit of boxing in it, for the hand work. I didn't learn much, but I did learn enough to see if someone is a good boxer.
In the little video where Buzz Aldrin punches out someone who claimed that the moon landing was a hoax, you can see that he's a good boxer. One punch, with a good snap, and good footwork taking the power up from the floor, and coming back to a solid defense stance, with good spring in his legs. And he knocks the guy down with that one punch.
In the scene where Rocky is fighting in the club, you can see that he isn't. I was watching it, going "Keep your frickin' hands up! What the hell are you doing with your hands that wide! Why are you leaving yourself that open?? You're swinging like a drunk -- throw PUNCHES, not watermelons!" He's making all sorts of rookie mistakes -- he's sloppy, he's careless, and he's just not good. He IS strong and tough, but nothing else.
I'm not saying that Buzz Aldrin could take Rocky Balboa. Necessarily. But Rocky is pushing thirty, a crap fighter, and he's even a relatively crap mob thug. I mean, he's not even good at THAT.
And Adrian isn't really all that, either. She's acts borderline autistic, she's totally under her brother's thumb, she's got no spine.
"Rocky" is the story of two people helping each other claw their way up to the middle, or at least, a higher level of the bottom. It's about the transformative power of love raising people all the way to mediocrity.
At the end of the movie, they've both brought themselves up to . . . not quite the dead bottom anymore. And we're totally proud of them for doing so.
Yup. THat's it precisely.
Awww. I'm going to print this out for my boss.
|Date:||April 20th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC)|| |
Speaking of Stallone films with changed meanings, I was just looking at the Rambo summaries in IMDB the other day.
In Rambo III, John Rambo goes into Afghanistan to rescue his former commander Colonel Trautman, who has been captured by the Soviets. Fortunately, he's able to get support from the plucky Mujahideen rebels.
That isn't a plot you'll see out of Hollywood nowadays.
Nice touch, Ferrett-sensei.
(although my cynical side says you must have done something wrong...)
Nope. When I do something wrong, I don't talk about it on LJ.
|Date:||April 20th, 2007 08:06 am (UTC)|| |
You can't call essays "the Fatal Three" and not expect
to publish them, asshole. If you're not going to publish,
call them the "Mundane Three" or something similar which
doesn't pique the interest. Much obliged.
Clearly, it's a kind and understanding response like this that will encourage me to haul these psychodrama-bombs out.