Stallone Month: Rocky IV

This film is, without a doubt, peak Rocky. Gone is the working class Joe with the wicked left. In his place is a warrior for not just the American way, but for the Reagan era. It’s a stunning character transition, and also makes for spectacle of the highest order. Just sit back and say “wow” whenever it feels appropriate. But first, viewers must endure Paulie’s birthday party scene. Continue readingStallone Month: Rocky IV”

Stallone Month: Rocky III

It’s time to confront the truth, all you Rocky revisionists out there. Rocky Balboa was not a great fighter. He was raw and explosive, with a head hard enough to last against a champion who didn’t take him seriously. As Apollo Creed himself said to Rocky, “You fight great, but I’m a great fighter.” Also, great fighters don’t get KO’d in the 2nd round. Continue readingStallone Month: Rocky III”

Stallone Month: Rocky II, or, Mediocre Rocky

Hollywood legend is replete with stories of Sylvester Stallone’s efforts to get Rocky made. Part of the fable is that Sly wanted to direct, but eventually had to agree to hand directorial duties over to someone with experience. Sly kept the starring role and Rocky was his screenplay, but John G. Avildsen sat in the director’s chair. The resulting film won Best Picture and Director, plus Best Film Editing, at the Academy Awards. When it came time for a sequel, however, Sly used the capital he had earned to secure the directing gig in addition to starring and screenwriting roles, after Avildsen declined to direct due to a scheduling conflict. The result is a film identical in theme, plot, location, and stars to Rocky, but which is inferior in execution. Continue readingStallone Month: Rocky II, or, Mediocre Rocky”

October Horrorshow: Jaws

I couldn’t say how many times I’ve seen Jaws. It’s been so many times that the film feels like a familiar presence in my life. My first viewing was so long ago that it’s mostly faded back into the ether, consisting of little snippets that have been distorted by time. I remember that I was young, maybe five or six years old, and that my old man was there to make sure I covered my eyes during the gory bits. Was it irresponsible to let someone so young watch a movie featuring such gruesome scenes of death as Jaws? Well, it was rated PG, for Parental Guidance, and that’s just what I got. I was too young for the gore, but there were about 120 minutes of really good movie that wouldn’t cause nightmares, and that I got to see until I was old enough for the rest. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow: Jaws”