Thursday, October 13, 2005

Hopefully Rocky dies at the end

A long time ago, there was a hungry young actor who wrote a screenplay about a washed-up, journeyman boxer who as a publicity stunt was given a shot at the heavyweight championship. It was a great script, but the actor was unknown, and when he sold the film on the condition that he play the lead, the producers offered him $150,000 to let one of the biggest stars of the day play it instead.

He refused. But his troubles weren't over. When the film was being shot, he had to fight to keep in the movie's most pivotal scene, in which the boxer admits to his girlfriend that he can't beat the champ, but that all that matters is that he goes the distance. Production was running behind, so he had to do it in one take.

The film ended up being one of the greatest of all times. It won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film's four stars each were nominated for Academy Awards, and the screenplay also netted a nomination.

So what did this actor do next? How many other cinematic masterpieces did he unveil?

None. Instead, he cashed in. He made sequel after bad sequel. He made a sequel with Mr. T. He made a sequel that was thinly disguised propaganda. He made a sequel with Tommy Morrison. And now, at 60, he is going to make another sequel.

Why? Was the first film a fluke? Did he sit down at his typewriter, try to write another Oscar winner, and realize that his talents were fleeting, that he could never do it again? Was it greed? Was it fear that led him to take the easy road? Is he proud of what he's done?

Of course, one great film is more than most people have in them. Every time I watch "Rocky" I can almost forgive Sylvester Stallone for everything that came after.


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Blogger zoe p. said...

Thank you for blogging on this important topic. I totally agree and have never put this into words . . . well, maybe angry, confused, hurt incoherant words, but you told the sad sad story of betrayal well.

My only addition, you've got to give credit to Philly itself. The location brings a lot to the script, makes it sadder, stranger, weirder, richer . . .

7:51 AM

Blogger Jonathan Barnes said...

Yo, Adrian!
Who is this guy Potts, talking down on me?
He don't know. I coulda been a contender!

Stallone only had one good one in him. He's really an actor, not a writer, I think.

12:56 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

You make some valid points about
"Rocky II." Unfortunately, it had a cheesy Hollywood ending that Stallone had studiously avoided in the first film.

Thanks for the tip about "Paradise Alley."

5:45 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

You can't discuss homoerotic themes in Stallone films without mentioning the scene in "Rocky III" in which Rocky and Apollo Creed dance in the ocean.

I thought Stallone turned in a respectable performance in "Copland." Unfortunately for him, the more accomplished actors in the film--Harvey Keitel, Robert DeNiro and Ray Liotta--read their lines as though they had all taken too many sleeping pills the night before. Speaking of "Weekend at Bernie's", DeNiro was about as animated as a corpse himself in "Copland."

10:41 PM

Blogger Sherry Pasquarello said...

maybe, (and i'd pay to see this ending) rocky will be lifted bodily up into the heavens, to a chorus of angels playing eye of the tiger on golden harps,then, cannonized by the pope?? of course, there would be some confusion at first between veneration of st. rocco and st. rocky until his statues and holy cards come out. then we can tell the difference because st. rocky will be clad in red, white and blue depends and orthopedic boots.
hasn't stallone made enough money?

2:19 PM

Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

After most of a year that features such flaccid remakes such as "Bewitched", "Dukes of Hazzard", "Bad News Bears", "The Honeymooners", and "Guess Who". I am sure I have missed a bunch. What else do you expect?

Enough money? Hollywood is littered with people that do not get out at the top and instead go a bridge too far.

12:10 PM

Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

"Longest Yard", and "War of the Worlds" too.

How could I have missed a chance to bash a Tom Cruise movie? Selective amnesia is my only excuse.

12:25 PM

Blogger Amos_thePokerCat said...

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".
See Tom Cruise reference. Now all I need is a remake this year by Keanu Reeves, and I win a trifecta of movie banality.

"Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" Ack!

"Amityville Horror"

12:36 PM


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