Here we have a great film.
From an actor with whom I was so lucky as to work on one occasion.
It was an honor.
And yet, I didn’t really get it.
That this movie, Rocky, was so central to the American dream.
But it’s more than that.
It’s the backdrop of Philadelphia.
The iron gates you gotta kick open.
And the screenless door you gotta reach around.
It’s the machete stuck in the wall.
And the black leather jacket to hang over the handle.
The knife stabbed into the wall.
And the black fedora that hangs on it.
But most of all it is Talia Shire.
To offset the brutality of boxing.
A shy soul.
In kitty cat glasses.
It’s the pet store.
The failed jokes.
The parakeets like flying candy.
And Butkus the dog.
You know, I don’t hear so well…because I got punched too many times…taking my best shot at music.
And so I’m a bum…but I got into the arena for a good 15 years.
And those final four…when I was a contender.
When I met Sylvester Stallone.
I was standing next to greatness.
A great actor. A great figure in film history.
We are taught to denigrate our American movies.
That they could never be as good as the French.
But the American films inspired the French.
It was Truffaut and company took Hitchcock from novelty to pantheon.
But it’s shy Talia.
Telling a story. A real love.
Getting up in years. And maybe she’s retarded.
Maybe he’s dumb.
But to him she’s the prettiest star.
And he perseveres.
However many rounds it takes.
Because fate has called him to one woman.
Why does he fight, she asks.
It’s a big obstacle.
For Rocky and Adrian to overcome the awkwardness of their collective insecurities.
For them to communicate.
But it’s such a beautiful story.
When Pauly throws the Thanksgiving turkey out into the alley.
It’s dysfunction. Dysfunction everywhere.
Abusive meat packing desperation.
Always an ass pocket full of whiskey.
And just a favor to the loan shark.
I can break thumbs.
But you don’t wanna do that.
In the world of crime, but not of the world of crime.
Poor, simple icebox. Some cupcakes.
Never enough beer. Anywhere.
And the genius of spectacle comes along.
Carl Weathers. Like Clyde Drexler.
Reading The Wall Street Journal.
Like Trump…thinking big…and juxtaposing entities.
To speak to the sentimental. Sentimental.
Because you don’t wanna be known as a whore.
It’s that reputation. A hard lesson.
Big brother to a little sister.
You don’t wanna smoke.
Make yer teeth yellow.
But you gotta work.
To stay in this game.
Train. Train. Train.
And maybe you get one shot.
It all comes down to this.
Burgess Meredith like Rod Marinelli.
The wisdom of hard knock cracks.
But we like ice skating.
$10 for ten minutes.
When you give life back to a prisoner of home.
When you give love to a lonely fighter.
Rough around the edges.
Desperation of poverty Pauly.
Makes us all a little crazy to be so trapped economically.
But God has called you to greatness.
And will you answer that call?
Can you imagine the career?
Is anything at all clear?
We only know tenacity.
Fighting till the very end.
Hospital and next day Pentagon basement.
Be an expert for your country.
So many skills needed for a nation to flourish.
Go the distance is not just Field of Dreams (another great sporting film).
Going the distance. Till the very end. Tour of duty.
God, please get me back home.
We’re so close now.
You’ll have to cut me so I can see.
“When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez” and you only want to hear her say “I love you”.
And she you.
You made it.
You lost by decision. But you proved it to yourself.
That you could go the full fifteen rounds with the best.
The best and brightest.
That you could be the shy, awkward bum to overcome.
Don’t say that.
You’re not a bum.
We want. Need. That positive reinforcement.
When the whole world tells us we’re losers.
You won by keeping going. Every day.
I love this film. I saw it on cable the first time. Saw it 5 times since. I still love it.
It really is an excellent piece of cinema. Thank you! –Paul