Sunday, April 28, 2013


"His whole life was a million to one shot" was the tag line. Which audiences knew could be said for Sylvester Stallone at the time and this his first flick. I remember the audience getting to its feet and cheering in the movie theater, as if Rocky or Stallone could actually hear them. Or just out of pure exuberance over the ending. An old style Hollywood-musical type ending, at the peak of the emotional and musical crescendo (rather than the usual arc ending with a coda that brings it all back to the new normal the plot was aiming for, which in this contrary case made a sequel inevitable and even necessary).

The series may have gotten away from Stallone and everyone involved. Stallone may have gotten away from himself (though the last in the series is actually pretty good and is based on the idea of Rocky and Stallone coming back to their roots), but this first flick was better than I remember. I watched it tonight with my oldest son visiting from the Berkshires and we both were struck with how really moving this flick is.

Stallone made a lot of tough choices with the screenplay, especially the counterpoint of sentiment and raw, almost exaggerated, disappointment. Heightened realism you might say. It worked, and still does. A treat to watch.

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