I love the Academy Awards and last year I realized how few of the “Best Picture” winners I’d actually seen. So I made it a goal to see all 83 winners and blog my thoughts about them along the way.

Why did it win? Should another movie have won instead? Has it become a beloved classic or do many of you not even recognize the title? I invite you, my friends and guests, to comment along with me. Do you agree/disagree? I should be fair and place a SPOLIER ALERT on this blog since I’ll be writing about various parts of the movie. So read at your own risk…

I have often told people that I have movie amnesia… I can see a movie and forget all about it years later. So for that reason, I am re-watching the 27 I’ve seen before. That said, if no one visits or reads my blog and I basically perform the online equivalent of talking to a brick wall, that’s fine; if for nothing else, it’ll be my own reminder. Enjoy!

And the Oscar goes to…

Friday, September 21, 2012

Rocky, 1976

Rated PG

You may remember that I’m not a fan of boxing from my previous post “Million Dollar Baby”… I find no appeal in it whatsoever, so I wasn’t particularly looking forward to seeing this film for a second time. (My husband made me watch it shortly after we got married when he discovered I hadn’t seen this classic.) I ended up enjoying it more this time around but it’s still not one I need to rush back to.

Oscar’s first sports film Best Picture winner features “The Italian Stallion”, Rocky Balboa, (played by Sylvester Stallone) as South Philadelphia’s underdog/has-been boxer from the slums. Rocky explains that he was simply told, “You weren’t born with much of a brain, so you better start using your body.” But he’s what the field calls a “southpaw” meaning he’s left-handed. This can throw off a boxer’s timing so proper training is even more crucial.

Apollo Creed, the heavyweight champion of the world, decides to challenge somebody from the town and picks ‘a nobody’: Balboa. Rocky accepts the challenge to “prove he’s no bum”. And therein starts the infamous comeback.

Intertwined with the boxing drama, of course, is a love story. Rocky falls hard for the local shy girl, Adrian. Their opposites complement each other; in his words (when defending their relationship to her brother): “It fills gaps, I guess. She’s got gaps. I got gaps. Together, we fill gaps.”  It’s not as memorable a line as “He completes me” from “Jerry Maguire”, but it has the same meaning. He talks too much and she doesn’t talk at all. In time, he brings her out of her shell and she goes through quite a transformation.

My dad (who’s a BIG fan of this film franchise… I believe there’s six of them now) brilliantly pointed out to me (how did I miss this??) that the Disney/Pixar movie “The Incredibles” is a cartoon version of this story… the has-been comes out of “retirement” for one last hoorah, trains night and day, and becomes the hometown hero once again. Wouldn’t you guess, my dad’s favorite Disney movie is “The Incredibles”. J
My hubby and I visited some friends in Philadelphia a few years ago and stopped inside the Philadelphia Museum of Art. No, I didn’t run up the stairs and reenact Rocky’s triumph like hundreds of tourists do each year, but I did remember that scene from the movie. Nearby the museum, there is even a statue of Rocky.
This fighting film was up against “All the President’s Men”, “Bound for Glory”, “Taxi Driver”, and “Network” and big surprise here, I haven’t seen any of those. This very low-budget film had an impressive ten nominations and walked away with three awards including Best Director and Best Film Editing. I did not know that Sylvester Stallone also wrote this film (in a three-day time period)! He was nominated for two awards, Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay, putting him in the same group as Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles- the only other two people ever to have been nominated for those two awards. Stallone was an unknown, unemployed struggling actor trying to catch his break. Boy did he. After writing 32 previously-rejected scripts, he demanded he play the title role in this film if it got picked up.


Rocky and Adrian’s first kiss is pretty romantic and I can see how the filmmakers appealed to the women in the audience with this love story.

Another emotional scene was when the old boxing coach comes around asking to be his manager for the big fight. Rocky gets infuriated that this man wants this respectful job when he never had any faith in him. But he changes his mind and chases after him in the street.


When Rocky starts his heavy training, he wakes up before dawn and immediately cracks six eggs into a glass and drinks it. I, meanwhile, audibly gagged. You couldn’t pay me to do that.

Another scene that grossed me out, but is a scene that’s famous in this film, is when Rocky starts hitting the hanging slabs of meat in the butcher’s refrigerator like a punching bag. Just yuck.


Whatever you decide to do in life or whatever goal you make for yourself, put your whole heart into it.

Rocky imparts some of his wisdom when trying to convince the local “gangster” girl to go home and stay away from the riffraff. He plainly states, “You hang out with smart people, you get smart friends, you see? It’s simple mathematics”.

Adrian: “Why do you wanna to fight?”
Rocky: “Because I can’t sing or dance”
Always choose to sing or dance.