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January 15, 2007

Georgia Sports Blog at the Movies: Rocky Balboa

I recently saw Rocky Balboa. On my Rocky Scale (One = Best picture and Five = horsesh*t), this one is a Two. If you loved the first one, but you thought Rocky V = Phantom Menace, this movie is for you. It's been out for a little while now, but you if you haven't seen it yet, it's worth a trip to the theater. Others reviewed the film here.

I have to mention that one of the previews was for a Nicholas Cage movie called Ghost Rider, in which his head catches on fire and he rides a motorcycle and stuff. What is up with Nick Cage? He's a great actor. He's an Oscar winner for crying out loud...and he can't pick a script lately to save his life. The gawd-awful trailer prompted me to make the following observation to PWD: "I think Brian Van Gorder must be Nick Cage's career coach."

Rocky Balboa dramatically exceeded my expectations, which is more of a comment on my expectations than anything. The film is a throwback to the grittier first and second films, rather than the over-the-top cheese fests of the third and fourth flicks [sidebar: even to this day Rocky IV is a sublime guilty pleasure. RIP, James Brown. No political system could withstand an assault by Ronald Reagan and Rocky].

To its credit, the movie confronts the age issue head on, instead of pretending a mid-fifties Rock hadn't lost a step. In fact, one of my favorite scenes is when Apollo's former corner man Duke tells Rock his only chance is "blunt force trauma...heavy duty punches that will rattle his ancestors," followed by classic training montage (c'mon you know you love the training montage...flying high now!).

I defy you to visit the Philly Art Museum and NOT run the steps. It CANNOT be done I tell you!

I hope people will give it a chance because Stallone, who wrote and directed, put together a well-paced, often quiet film that includes many knowingly self-referential moments as a treat to franchise fans. The fight sequence is almost beside the point because the movie is the most character driven since the first. The fight is handled realistically, Rocky once again an underdog from the streets of Philly whom no one gives a chance.

Rocky Balboa is the movie the fighter deserves to retire with. Check it out.

Other Georgia Sports Blog at the Movies reviewed here.


Anonymous said...

judging from your jab, I assume you'd love to hear there is a rumor floating about Van Gorder possibly joining Bobby Petrino's staff on the Falcons as a positional assistant.

Anonymous said...

BVGs already called a team meeting to announce. Talk about never being able to set foot in a town again...

Dawgnoxious said...

I thought Van Gorder's move to Ga. Southern was the decision of an impatient and short-sighted man. The GSU job was a poor fit for him, and the hasty jump to Jacksonville that preceded it seemed inexplicable.

Rolling into the first town to offer you a head coaching job, scrapping their traditions and offensive identity in order to install a pro-style offense that will make you more marketable to bigger programs down the road was not a slick maneuver.

He ended up running an offense ill-suited to his talent and remarkably poorer in statistical output than the previous season's edition. One prominent Ga. Southern booster commented to me: "we scrapped this triple option for this shit?"

He pissed off alums and produced one of the worst seasons in school history all because he couldn't manage his career strategically.

Astronaut Mike Dexter said...

In VanGorder's defense, six of his eight losses were by a TD or less, but yeah, his was not an especially adept move. (On the other hand, one year from now we can start talking about bringing him back to UGA.)

In Cage's defense, "Lord of War" was a pretty awesome movie I thought, and "Matchstick Men" was pretty good, but yeah, other than that he hasn't been in a lot of movies I've been rushing out to see.

DAve said...

Ghost Rider looks bad, huh? Will it live up to the unintentionally comedic genius of The Wicker Man?

Anonymous said...

First of all, Paulie is one of the greatest characters in American Film History for my money... he just feels like a member of your own family or something. But yeah... Balboa was better than I thought it'd be. Although they did straight up steal some of that restaurant stuff from the Sopranos... back when it was good.

2nd, how dare you badmouth Ghost Rider... between that, Spidey 3 (2 SUCKED!) and the live action Transformers comin out this year, the geeks of my generation are gonna be set for awhile. : D

Anonymous said...

GDAWG- Come on man you sound like a Tech fan. GDAWG when you go see those movies if you can bare it put on a Tech hat you will fit right in. What did Nick Cage win an oscar for?

Yeah, boy do I long for the days of the Soprano's. Before they decided to make it gay friendly.

PoconoMom said...

i actually saw the movie last night. it made me feel sad for him at first, but then i realized and was actually thinking about this today, sly stallone probably felt great making these movies and wanted to just put closure on the character.

using your scale, i would rate it a 3...can't wait to see spiderman 3, ghostrider and transformers. love seeing all these characters coming to life and sharing with the kids. their comic book heroes on the big screen.

Unknown said...

I'm pretty sure Cage earned the Oscar for Moonstruck. He deserved it for Raising Arizona. To be honest, I haven't been a fan of most of his films. I'm even a comic book fan myself (and Spidey 2 did suck) but I'd rather see a good Nick Fury movie or maybe even an X-Men movie that's really about the X-Men instead of just being about Wolverine.

Back to the topic at hand, there were only 4 rocky movies. I once saw a movie called Rockyv that was about boxing but it was about street boxing and there was a Don King stereotpyed character and a Stallone lookalike and it was pretty pitiful. It was almost as bad as Supermaniv starring Chris Topherreeves, Margo Tkidder, G. Nehackeman, and John Crier.

And I still think Rocky II could've been better than the first one if they hadn't thrown in the second stupidest ending in movie history (but thankfully most of you haven't seen the end of The Keep which was very cash and time strapped and as a result omitted most of the plot-explaining elements of the story so they could concentrate on special effects).

Dawgnoxious said...

Cage won the Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas in 1995 (Cher won for Moonstruck). Although, I have to say that I preferred Honeymoon in Vegas to Leaving Las Vegas. If you have to choose between death by alcoholism to Sarah Jessica Parker and skydiving Elvis impersonators in light-up jumpsuits, I think the choice is clear.

Rocky III deserves credit for bringing us perhaps the greatest line of all six films (even better than Drago's "if he dies, he dies"). When Rocky decides to fight Clubber Lang, Mick tries to change his mind by growling "He'll kill ya' to death, Rock!" Classic.

Dan said...

My favorite Rocky line comes from the second worst Rocky movie, Rocky II (and it's the worst if you think Rocky V never happened.)

Duke: He's all wrong for us, baby. I saw you beat that man like I never saw no man get beat before, and the man kept coming after you. Now we don't need no man like that in our lives.

Anonymous said...

Well, I dont know if we're turning this place into Siskel and Someone at the Movies, but what the hell. It's the off season.

Personally, I prefer Rocky III to all the other Rocky movies. Where Apollo Creed was a touch arrogant, he was also charming and not at all unlikeable. He was impressive without being threatening.

Mr T., on the other hand, was the perfect foil for Rocky. His insane focus. His overwhelming work ethic (which, by Rocky III, our hero had lost). Plus (and this is a big plus), who hasnt secretly admired the Mr T mohawk?

The best line in Rocky III (again, it's just my opinion) is when they ask a snarling Clubber Lang if he has a prediction for the upcoming fight with Rocky. Clubber looks at his inquisitor, sneers, and growls: "My prediction? Pain. Much pain."

Mr. T became a bit of a cartoon figure in The A Team, but his performance as Clubber Lang, full of fury and menace, was pretty damn good, even if he was just being himself.

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