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Thema: Rocky I-V

  1. #1
    laertes
    Gast

    Rocky I-V

    Nach meinem langen Rocky-Osterwochenende, an dem ich erstmals alle sechs Rocky-Teile nacheinander gesehen habe, habe ich die Ehre, dieses Topic zu eröffnen und möchte meinen Gesamteindruck wie folgt bildlich zusammenfassen:


    Rocky


    Rocky II


    Rocky III


    Rocky IV


    Rocky V


    Rocky Balboa (Rocky VI)

    Ich bin jedenfalls sehr angetan von der Reihe - die ich mir überhaupt zum erstenmal in meinem Leben angesehen habe, zu abgeschreckt war ich zuvor von den negativen Kritiken!
    Klar ist, dass Rocky kein Raging Bull ist, aber mit dieser Erwartung darf man auch gar nicht an die Reihe herangehen, so unterschiedlich sind die Ansätze. Unbestritten auch, dass Rocky eine sehr amerikanische, sehr männliche Sicht verkörpert, und dass jeder Film einem bestimmten Strickmuster folgt.
    Die Reihe ist aber nicht annähernd so flach wie das von Kritikern immer wieder pauschal dargestellt wird - ganz im Gegenteil:
    Stallones Rocky ist nicht der strahlende, über alles erhabene Held, sondern eine oft an sich zweifelnde, immer auch selbstironische Figur. Ein grundsympathischer Mann, der sich seiner Einfachheit bewusst ist. Der seine Frau zu Rate zieht, sich von ihr sowohl verunsichern als auch motivieren lässt, sie trotz körperlicher Überlegenheit niemals dominiert und schon gar nicht schlägt und sie um Entschuldigung bittet, wenn er einen Fehler einsieht.
    Und ein Sportler, ein Kämpfer durch und durch, der mit seiner Rolle auch hadert, obwohl er das Boxen braucht. So erzählt er Adrian in Rocky I, dass er Boxer geworden sei, weil nichts im Kopf habe, in Rocky IV empfiehlt er seinem boxinteressierten Sohn mit den Worten "Ich kämpfe, damit du nicht kämpfen musst!", nicht zu boxen, und in Rocky V raten ihm die Ärzte dringend vom weiteren Boxen ab, so heftig ist sein Gehirn durch die vielen Schläge (und insbesondere durch Dragos Intensivbehandlung) in Mitleidenschaft gezogen worden.
    Und dann sind da die natürlich die großartig choreographierten Kämpfe: der erste Titelkampf, in dem Rocky die ganzen 15 Runden geht und es am Ende sogar zur Split Decision schafft, ohne zu gewinnen, aber das ist egal, denn während der Ringrichter das Ergebnis verkündet, umarmen sich Rocky und Adrian und sagen sich, dass sie sich lieben, denn das ist das, was für sie zählt in diesem Moment. Der zweite Kampf gegen Apollo Creed mit gleichzeitigem Zubodengehen, der Kampf gegen Clubber Lang im dritten und gegen Ivan Drago im vierten Teil, der Straßenkampf gegen Tommy Gunn im fünften Teil und der letzte große Kampf gegen den jungen Titelinhaber im sechsten Teil, in dem Rocky ganz wie im ersten Teil bis zum Ende durchzieht und wieder die Split Decision, wenn auch nicht den Sieg erreicht, und seinem Gegner am Ende attestiert: "You are a good champ!".
    Hach!, ich könnte ewig in dieser Weise weiterschreiben, so angefixt bin ich von den Filmen, die trotz oder gerade wegen des im Kern vorhersehbaren Ablaufs doch immer wieder zu überraschen vermögen, wenn es oft nämlich doch nicht oder jedenfalls nicht so kommt, wie erwartet.
    Und natürlich liebe ich die Filme wegen Musik, der liebens- und der hassenswerten Figuren, der Locations und nicht zuletzt wegen der Trainingsmontagen, von denen mir das Training aus dem dritten Teil, in dem Rocky von seinem ehemaligen Gegner Apollo Creed gedrillt wird, am allerbesten gefällt:



    Alles in allem ein Riesenspaß! Den ich mir gern mal wieder am Stück geben werde.
    Wer ist dabei?

    [Anmerkung: Das Topic zu Rocky Balboa/Rocky VI im speziellen findet sich hier.]
    Geändert von laertes (12.04.2012 um 21:55 Uhr)

  2. #2
    laertes
    Gast

    AW: Rocky I - V

    Which Rocky Is The Real Champ?

    By Bill Simmons


    It isn't just that Rocky Balboa has been part of my life for 25 years ... it's that I can't remember life without Rocky Balboa.

    As "Rocky" celebrates its 25th anniversary, the five movies in the saga continue to appear on TV on an almost daily basis.

    During the winter of 1976, my father brought me to the theater to see the original "Rocky," one of my first tangible memories as a kid. I was hooked. I remember listening to the "Rocky" soundtrack in my living room and shadowboxing an imaginary Apollo Creed for 15 imaginary rounds, unfurling jabs and uppercuts, dancing in circles, even punching myself in the noggin to complete the effect. And I wasn't alone. Every kid was doing it.

    When "Rocky II" was released two years later, I remember the sheer pandemonium in my theater when Rocky finally defeated Apollo Creed. I'm not kidding. People were standing and cheering like they were watching a closed-circuit fight. It was the greatest movie experience of my entire life. No lie. We were chanting, "Ro-cky! Ro-cky!" and everything.

    During the '80s, I watched "Rocky III" and "Rocky IV" religiously -- dozens and dozens of times, as some of my high school buddies can attest (they were there, too) -- to the point that my buddy Gus and I would play Intellivision and spout out random "Rocky IV" lines, as if they were part of our everyday conversation. I can't get over the size of that Russian! ... If he dies, he dies. ... You can't win! ... I must break you. In a related story, we were both single at the time.

    Sadly, the Rocky Express derailed for me in the winter of 1991, when "Rocky V"'s impending release made me so giddy that I planned an entire weekend around it. That was my junior year at Holy Cross; I trekked to upstate New York to visit my buddy Jim, a Colgate student, just so we could catch the opening together (since we watched "Rocky III" countless times together in high school). In time, we learned to pretend that "Rocky V" never happened, but I'll never forget walking out of the theater with Jim that night -- we were so depressed and disillusioned that I think I just drove back to Holy Cross, even though it was Friday and I had just gotten there. Rocky carried us from childhood to college; it was like the death of an era.

    Little did we know that the "Rocky" series would live on. And on. And on. Thanks to TNT, TBS, HBO and everyone else, Rocky keeps gaining steam, and like a fine wine, the movies seem to get better with age. How many movies can you watch over and over again without getting tired of them? Maybe five? 10? And yet three of the "Rockys" (the original, III and IV) suck me in at least once a year. I know I'm not alone here, because if people weren't watching, then the cable stations wouldn't be repeating them again and again. So something is happening here.

    That raises an intriguing question: Which "Rocky" holds up the best over time?

    "Rocky V" never happened. You hear me, people? It never happened!

    The first "Rocky" was the finest of the bunch, no question. That was the original. Captured all the Oscars. Put Stallone on the map. Took realism in sports scenes to the next level. Started the jogging fad. Not only was it the most influential sports movie of all-time, it might have been the most influential movie of the past 25 years when you consider all the "Rocky" ripoffs produced since 1976. But that doesn't necessarily mean that "Rocky" remains the most entertaining of the "Rocky" movies.

    That raises another intriguing question: If all five "Rocky" movies were showing at the exact same time, and you could only watch one of them from start to finish, which one would you watch?

    Hmmmmmmm.

    "Rocky V" gets disqualified ... because it never happened. You hear me? It never happened. That leaves the original, II, III and IV. So let's tackle them chronologically. And remember two things:

    1. This is only one man's opinion.

    2. I'm nitpicking because that's my job.

    On to the movies ...

    Rocky

    Plot Rehash:
    How's this for a premise: A down-on-his-lock boxer gets handed an improbable chance to fight for the heavyweight title, dedicates himself to training for his 15 minutes of fame, falls in love and realizes his potential in the process. The end.

    Boom. Doesn't get much better than that. Often imitated, never duplicated.

    A down-on-his-luck boxer standing toe-to-toe with the heavyweight champ for 15 rounds ... what a great script.

    And yet the movie wouldn't work nearly as well without the little nuances. The transcendent soundtrack. The young Stallone, having his breakout movie. Rocky, the lovable loser. Paulie, the alcoholic bum who rates a 9.2 out of 10 on the Unintentional Comedy Scale. Apollo Creed, an angrier, more flamboyant Muhammad Ali. Mickey, the grizzled old trainer searching for one last run at the top.

    My favorite character was the mobster Gazzo's sarcastic driver, the guy who said stuff like, "Did you get the license plate of the truck that hit your face?" and "Take her to the zoo. ... I hear retards like the zoo." That guy kills me (he should have gotten his own sitcom).

    Anyway, it's a smart movie, which reminds me of something: What about the fact that Sly Stallone wrote this thing? It's a complicated, heavy screenplay, with rich characters and splendid dialogue ... and Sly Stallone wrote it? Huh? I always loved the fact that Rocky didn't actually win in the end ... he went the distance. Maybe the finest touch happens when Adrian runs into the ring after the fight, just to give him a hug and tell Rocky that she loves him, and Rocky says, "Where's your hat?" The movie's filled with moments like that. Just a terrific film.

    Nitpicking:
    It kills me to say this, but I watched "the original" this week and it felt ... dare I say ... dated? It's a '70s movie (slow, sprawling and painstaking), which doesn't necessarily lend itself that well to the "MTV/Internet/Now-Now-Now" Generation. I found myself losing concentration a number of times during the first 90 minutes, especially during the agonizing Rocky-Adrian scenes, which usurp a sizable chunk of the middle section.

    Let's face it: 95 percent of the scenes between Rocky and Adrian in the Rocky series just plain sucked. It was Stallone's way of roping a "Chick Flick" angle into the whole thing. Rocky would have been better off marrying a local stripper or something -- at least the stripper would have immediately flown to Russia to see him fight Drago, for God's sake. Did Adrian bring anything to the table? Anything?

    The fight scenes in the original "Rocky" were groundbreaking in 1976, but they haven't aged well.

    One other problem: The fight scenes haven't aged well; you can glimpse empty seats in every closeup of the two fighters, because they were filming in an empty arena. The producers could easily pull a "Spielberg with ET" and make some digital revisions to that sequence (some fake crowd insertions). I know I wouldn't complain.

    Chill Scenes:
    The key to any great sports movie? The quality of the Chill Scenes, those scenes that give you goosebumps on top of your goosebumps. And Rocky was loaded with them:

    1. Rocky chasing Mickey down the street after he yelled at him (when Mickey wanted to train him). Always gets me.

    2. The training sequence (good God! -- a 10.0 on the Chill Factor Scale). Way ahead of its time. Does anyone not get fired when "Gonna Fly Now" kicks in?

    3. The entire fight scene, basically a 10-minute Chill Scene (special emphasis on the part when Adrian walks into the stadium just as Rocky gets knocked down in the 14th, and then Rocky gets up and Creed, astounded, drops his shoulders in disbelief -- another 10.0 on the CFS, as well as my favorite moment in any Rocky movie).

    4. The ending (Adrian and Rocky hugging as the ring announcer screams, "And still champion ... Apollo Creed!"). You run the gamut of emotions with that one. Still gets me.

    Final Watchability Verdict: 13 out of 10.
    Even five years ago, that would have been closer to 20, but I've just seen "Rocky" too many times, and it's just a little too dated. Remember, we're nitpicking here.

    Rocky II

    Plot Rehash:
    Picks up right where "Rocky" left off, with Creed and Balboa heading to the hospital after the fight (accompanied by a jazzier, put-a-hop-in-your-step soundtrack). As it turns out, Rocky can't fight anymore, because of his damaged right eye (which mysteriously heals itself over the subsequent few years). He marries Adrian, buys a Trans AM and a condo, and embarks on a commercial career ... which ends in about two hours because he can't read. After losing a few jobs, Rocky starts working at Mickey's gym, where he gets teased by other boxers as he lugs around spit buckets and picks up bloody towels.

    To make matters worse, Apollo is pushing for a rematch and calling him "The Stallion Chicken." Rocky's going broke, to the point that Adrian starts working in the pet store again. Finally Creed bullies him into a rematch -- bad eye and all -- but Adrian makes him miserable at home for fighting again, so Rocky half-asses it through his training (the lesson, as always: women ruin everything). Paulie argues with Adrian about her treatment of Rocky and causes some sort of medical disaster, in which Adrian gives birth to a healthy baby boy, but lapses into a coma (unfortunately, she eventually wakes up).

    So we're treated to another 11 minutes of riveting coma/hospital sequences before Adrian finally snaps out of her coma, eventually leading to this exchange:

    Adrian: "You can do one thing for me."

    Rocky: "What's that?"

    Adrian: "Win. Win."

    Mickey (getting up): "Well what are we waitin' for?"

    (Quick cut to Rocky doing a one-handed push-up as the inspiring "Rocky" music kicks in.)

    Now ...

    That scene happened about 90 minutes into the movie; coincidentally, that's right around when the movie starts to click. Rocky steps up his training, wins the title from Creed and everyone lives happily ever after.

    Nitpicking:
    It's painful to see Balboa so down on his luck throughout the first half of "Rocky II."

    The first 90 minutes of "II" are nearly unwatchable. Who wants to see Rocky repeatedly humiliated and beaten down like that? And why would Adrian refuse to let Rocky fight, forcing him to resort to the "I never asked you to stop being a woman, don't ask me to stop being a man" routine. Puh-leeze. Nothing worse than a whipped Rocky Balboa.

    If that wasn't bad enough, Stallone plays Rocky for much of the movie like he's mentally retarded, with no real reason given. There's a difference between "punchy" and "retarded." When you're "whipped and retarded" ... well, that's no fun.

    Chill Scenes:
    1. The aforementioned "What are we waiting for?" scene, which immediately makes up for every wretched moment in the previous 90 minutes. The best single exchange in "Rocky" history. An absolute tour de force.

    2. The subsequent training scene, climaxing with Rocky jogging along with every kid in the entire state of Pennsylvania. (Bonus points here, because I actually got chills while I was typing about this.)

    3. The entire fight scene. You knew Rocky was winning ... but the unexpected Double Knockdown was an inspired wrinkle, wasn't it?

    4. Rocky's post-fight speech. Goosebumps galore. Yo, Adrian! I did it.

    Final Watchability Verdict: 9.5 out of 10.
    Put it this way ... if I'm flicking channels and I see Adrian just about ready to snap out of her coma, I'm locked in for the rest of the movie. They should have just turned the last 30 minutes of "Rocky 2" into an extended 30-minute "Deleted Scene" for the "Rocky 1" DVD. Frankly, there's still time.

    Rocky III

    Plot Rehash:
    The most polished of all the "Rocky" movies, with the best storyline and some stunning twists. The opening "Rocky's the champ and kicking butt!" sequence (with Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" pounding in the background) sets the tone. And Rocky's charity wrestling match with Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan, in a career-altering performance) might have been the best 10-minute sequence of any Rocky movie.

    You want surprises? What about Mickey dying before the first fight with Clubber Lang? (Nineteen years later, and I'm still blown away by this one. People in the movie theater were reeling when this happened; nobody saw it coming. Mick? Mick? Mick?) Or Rocky getting knocked out by Clubber? Or Apollo coming out of nowhere to train Rocky? Or Adrian unveiling the first of her irritatingly enjoyable "You can't win!" speeches? Or that really awkward hug between Rocky and Apollo after Rocky finally wins the beach sprint, when they just show a little too much affection for two grown men?

    Even the gimmick ending worked here -- after Rocky recaptures his title -- with Apollo and Rocky lacing up the gloves again for the impromptu, no-crowd exhibition, capped off by a freeze-frame "both opening rights landing at the same time" ending. Who won? We'll never know.

    Best of all, how 'bout Mr. T as Clubber Lang? Was there a better villain in sports movie history? "Hey, woman! Hey, woman! I bet you go to sleep every night wondering what it's like to be with a REAL MAN!!!" I've mentioned this before, but have you ever noticed the eerie similarities between Clubber Lang and Mike Tyson? It was like Mr. T was ripping off Tyson's gimmick before Iron Mike even got started.

    Of course, Stallone is the key to everything. From his wailing/speaking seizure at Mickey's bedside after the first Lang fight ("Ehrhhshngh Mick! Aw sjsjshshgwge Trrrhsshh! Awrrtttt doin' jsjsfdgdgdfdfdf! I can't Ahjhdhsgsfsfeurjdjsiaj") to his confession to Adrian on the beach ("I'm afraid! All right! I'm afraid!") to the final fight scene with Clubber ("You ain't so bad! You ain't so bad!), Sly reached his absolute apex here. In the history of American cinema, no actor has been as alternately cheesy, hysterical, likable, ludicrous, inspiring, laughable and endearing ... sometimes even all at once. He's a first ballot Hall of Famer, no questions asked.

    Nitpicking:
    None. I wouldn't change anything about this movie ... not even the incredibly awkward beach hug between Apollo and Rocky. I might have tossed in a gratuitous sex scene with Adrian, because she was looking so frisky in "III," but that's about it.

    Chill Scenes:
    1. Rocky convincing Mickey to train him one more time for the first Clubber fight. Come on, Mick. One more. I loved that scene.

    2. The final training sequence, when Rocky finally regains the "Eye of the Tiger."

    3. Clubber saying to Rocky before the second fight, "I'm gonna bust you up," and Rocky mumbling, "Go for it."

    4. Rocky regaining the title. Good times ... good times.

    Final Watchability Verdict: 16 out of 10. Hasn't gotten remotely stale even after the 575th viewing.

    Rocky IV

    Plot Rehash:
    This wasn't exactly an intricate plot: Apollo makes a comeback, gets subsequentally destroyed by Russian Olympic hero Ivan Drago -- partially because Drago forgot that this was supposed to be a damned exhibition and partially because Rocky forgot to throw the damn towel -- which means that Rocky needs to avenge his buddy's death. And he does, in an improbable Christmas Day fight in Russia, for which Rocky receives no money and gets knocked down approximately 330 times before winning the Russian crowd over and vanquishing Drago.

    Somehow, this remains my favorite Rocky movie, mainly for the way it straddled the balance between "absorbing action" and "unintentional comedy galore." There are 10-minute sequences without any dialogue. There's Dolph Lundgren as evil, monosyllabic, steroid-frenzied Drago (who has six intelligible lines of dialogue all movie -- "I cannot be defeated," "You will lose," "I must break you," "If he dies, he dies," "Until the end" and "You're dead"). There's Brigette Nielsen (Sly's woman at the time, but Mrs. Drago in the movie) with a gawd-awful Russian accent, saying things like, "You think you Americans are so berry berry good, and we're so berry berry bad."

    There's Apollo's shocking in-ring death, capped off with Barry Tompkins saying, "What started out as a joke has turned into a disaster!" as Warner Wolf feigns horror. There's Adrian with her standard "You CAN'T win!!!!" speech as Rocky contemplates fighting Drago (could somebody shoot her please?). There's Stallone hopping in his Lamborgini after Apollo dies -- as Robert Tepper's "No Easy Way Out" blares in the background -- and having a flashback driving scene where he goes 140 mph, shifts at least 40 times into at least the 35th gear, and never looks at the road once.

    There's Survivor trying to recapture their "Eye of the Tiger" magic with "Burning Hearts" ("Was it East vs. West? or man against ma-annnnn?"). There's Stallone (unbelievably ripped in this one), pulling out his old beard from "Nighthawks" for the training sequence, which concludes with him climbing a 40,000-foot mountain in Russia and screaming "Dra-goooo!!!!" There's the comical training sequence which juxtaposes Drago's new-age training with Rocky's back-to-the-basics training (hmmm ... what was the director going for there?). There's Duke (Apollo's old trainer) entering the Sports Movie Pep Talk Pantheon (more on this in a second).

    Best of all, there's the ridiculous 20-minute fight-to-the-death scene (can you imagine the CompuBox numbers on that one?), which ends with the Russians turning on Drago and cheering Rocky -- the biggest stretch in movie history, bar none, and for the love of God, I will not argue about this -- Rocky winning in the 15th round, and Stallone giving his Cold War-altering "If I can change, and you can change, everyone can change!!!" speech.

    What a ludicrous, awful movie. I loved it.

    Nitpicking:
    I would have made one change: When Adrian changed her mind right before the Drago fight and decided to fly to Russia, I would have had the KGB shoot down her plane. But that's just me.

    Chill Scenes:
    1. Rocky cradling an unconscious Apollo, as Drago sneers at him and tells reporters, "If he dies, he dies" and eerie, evil '80s synthesizer music drones in the background.

    2. Duke's pep speech in Rocky's cabin, which was so phenomenal that I can actually remember it without cueing up the DVD: Apollo was like a son to me. I raised him. And when he died, a part of me died, too. But now you're the one ... you're the one who has to make sure his death didn't go for nothing. You're the one. Do it. Do it.

    3. The entire training sequence, capped off by Rocky climbing the mountain. Bonus points here for the TREEEEEEEEE-mendous soundtrack (reason No. 4,745 why you should own a DVD player).

    4. The 15th round, when Rocky knocks out Drago and avenges Apollo's death. He's chopping the Russian down!

    Final Watchability Verdict: 18 out of 10.
    Along with Cheese-Its, Sour Patch Kids and "Miami Vice" re-runs, "Rocky IV" remains one of those guilty pleasures that I can never resist. It's still the most watchable "Rocky" movie for me, even after all these years. If all four Rockys were showing at the same time, I would choose "Rocky IV."

    And even if you don't agree, well ... if I can change, and you can change ...

    (Quelle: ESPN.com)

  3. #3
    laertes
    Gast

    AW: Rocky I - V

    Six little-known truths about 'Rocky'

    By Ralph Wiley


    Got a call from a Mr. Dubin at The Inquirer, wanting my reaction and perspective on the 25th anniversary of the release of "Rocky." Didn't know what to say to him -- at least, what to say that he'd want to hear. Been on a few movie sets. Seen a dozen or so boxing movies. Been to maybe 100 title fights. So what do I know?

    I only know what I've seen, heard and felt. Keeping that in mind, here are six items about "Rocky" that maybe you didn't realize.

    1. Apollo Creed was an actual actor!

    When people are dissecting this movie, or, more accurately, their feelings about it, they always mention Sly Stallone when talking about the character Rocky Balboa; sometimes, they will mention Burgess Meredith when talking about the character Mickey the Trainer; occasionally, they mention Talia Shire when talking about the character Adrian the Frumpy Love Interest. But when talking about the character Apollo Creed, who was to "Rocky" what Hannibal Lecter was to "Silence of the Lambs," they just say ... Apollo Creed. Like he's a real guy. The ultimate compliment to an actor.

    Carl Weathers once asked me -- rhetorically, of course -- if I thought anybody else deserved a Best Actor nomination from "Rocky."

    Carl said it with meaning, knowing the film truism: Great villains make great movies. So I said, "Well, you sure did, Carl. But your muscles were too big." Carl looked at me quizzically, which is hard to get Carl to do. Carl's a guy with a boatload of confidence.

    "You know what they say, Carl: A black dude holding a gun will never win an Oscar. Look at Sam Jackson in 'Pulp Fiction.' Easily as good a turn as the one Johnny Travolta put in. And ... nothing."

    "Hey, man, I wasn't carrying no gun," Carl protested. "Actually, deep down, I was a good guy. Easily as good a guy as Stallion."

    "Muscles, Carl," I said. "In the trades, they call them 'guns.' "

    See, I knew Carl from the days when he was a 'tweener with the Oakland Raiders. My old editor Bob Valli pointed him out to me. "See that guy, Carl Weathers? Chief, he's gonna be a great actor one day." OK, so Bob didn't really say "actor," but he did say he was going to be great at something. Carl just gave off that kind of aura. Had big-time winning ways. But as far as the Raiders went, physically he was caught in limbo between being a linebacker (not quite big enough) and a DB (not quite fast enough). He was smart and engaging and handsome enough to go Hollywood, which he did, following the example of somewhat more famous football players like Jim Brown, Woody Strode, Bernie Casey, Fred "The Hammer" Williamson, Fred Dryer, and of course ... Apollo Creed.

    2. Earnie Shavers was almost Clubber Lang in "Rocky III" instead of Lawrence Tureaud ("Mr. T").

    Once I visited ex-heavyweight contender Earnie Shavers down in Martinsville, a burg near the North Cacalackey-Virginia border. Some former backer had taken pity and put Earnie up in a janitorial supply business. Earnie's eyes were going bad. He had slowed down plenty, but he still hit like a mule; the punch is the last thing to go, and you could ask both Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes about that or anybody who ever fought George Foreman about that.

    Earnie Shavers hit Larry Holmes so hard with a big right hand that I thought Earnie had killed him. But Holmes got up, somehow, then beat Earnie pretty good, so Holmes was nothing to play with. Couldn't just construct a p.r. rollout and then say "Boo!" and hope to stop Holmes, Ali's former sparring partner.

    "Well, I almost had him there, din I?" Earnie asked me. "Yeah, you did," I said. Earnie didn't sound like a killer, had a voice so light it made Mike Tyson's Tweety Bird pipes sound like Darth Vader's.

    Earnie's voice would've stopped him from being Clubber Lang in "Rocky III," even if a sparring session with Stallone hadn't.

    This was the way Earnie told it to me:

    "Got a call and went out to try out for this part in 'Rocky,' the Mr. T Rocky, I think. Got out there and got put up in a good hotel for a change. Then got in the ring with Mr. Stallone. He's not a real tall fellow, is he? Well, it don't matter. Anyway we were circling; I was pulling my punches. He said, 'Don't hold back, Earnie. Hit me.' I said, 'I can't do that, Mr. Stallone.' I could've, but I wanted that job, and I didn't think that would help me get it. But he kept on pushing me, saying, 'C'mon, show me something,' and sort of hitting me, sort of. Finally, I said, 'OK,' and I give him a little one under the ribs, where the livers of boxers are. Don't know about actors. If they got livers, they probably are in the same place.

    If Shavers hadn't pounded Stallone in his audition, Rocky Balboa might have been fighting a real heavyweight in "Rocky III."
    "Anyway, Mr. Stallone called time -- he didn't say nothing, just kinda doubled over a little bit and sort of just waved his hand -- and then somebody helped him out of the ring, and to this bathroom or somewhere, and he sent word out later that they couldn't use me. It was like what they call an audition, and I guess I blew it."

    I told Earnie he hadn't lived until he'd blown an audition. It would give him something to wince about and ponder over in his old age.

    "Yeah," he said. "But do you know, young people, they like fighters, only now, when I go somewhere and get introduced, or when people recognize me, they children will ask, 'Mr. Shavers, you're a heavyweight boxer?' When I say, 'Yes,' they always ask me the same thing: 'Mr. Shavers, you probably could knock out Apollo Creed, but do you think you could beat Rocky?' "

    The look on Earnie's face was one of sheer helplessness. His mighty fists were no match for the magic of the movies.

    3. Director John Avildsen broke code on the indefinable quality that made "Rocky" great.

    Never will forget this. For "Rocky III," when it turned out that Rocky's foil was another black dude, a much worse black dude than Apollo Creed had been (and as an actor, Mr. T was no Carl Weathers), John Avildsen called this, "simple dramaturgy to help the audience identify." It's a phrase I use myself now, whenever I see someone manipulating one audience at the expense of another.

    The other quality that made "Rocky" the original so great as a story was the script. Period. The script is everything, even though usually, in the movies, the writer is not everything. Ever hear the one about the aspiring Hollywood starlet who was so stupid she screwed the writer? Nevertheless, this much is still true:

    The script is everything.

    Once I went out west to the set of a Steven Seagal movie. Seagal was upset that nobody took him seriously. What was the problem, he asked? "People accept that you might be able to kick a little ass," I said to the Akido practitioner. "But as an actor ... say, is that smoked turkey you've got there? And pumpernickel ...?"

    On the set playing a small role in the Seagal movie was a little-known actor/writer named Billy Bob Thornton. Pulled me aside, said he knew what the Hollywood honchos thought of him, then went into a perfect impression of a redneck retard that made me laugh -- that's what he was going for. "That's what they see when they see me," Billy Bob said. "I know how they think."

    A few years later, Billy Bob had taken that stereotype and made it heroic, riveting and, in the end, somehow noble, in a script he wrote that is very much like the original "Rocky," called "Sling Blade."

    And "Sling Blade" won the Oscar for Best Screenplay too, just as "Rocky" did, and propelled Billy Bob into the stratosphere, much as "Rocky" did for Stallone. I'm not going to get into comparing their careers and women since, but ... let's just say Billy Bob ain't hurting too bad. As for Steven Seagal, the less said the better.

    4. The real "Rockys" were ...

    Too many to list here. There were several (or, several million) "real Rockys." His Slyness says Chuck Wepner inspired the character. Stallone wrote the script, so that's that. Having watched Chuck Wepner fight Ali, let's just say Stallone must have one hell of an imagination. Ali carried Wepner. Had Chuck been so unwise as to call Ali out of his name (see hospital records, Ernie Terrell), it might have gotten ugly. Jerry Quarry fought Ali, too; fight was stopped on cuts. Quarry later died a vegetable. Any studio suit will tell you, that's not the ending they're looking for. Back to Wepner for inspiration, officially. Unofficially, Rocky was ...

    Joe Frazier. He was the quintessential, the proverbial Rocky, the real-life Rocky, only Joe, poor Joe, he didn't have the requisite "simple dramaturgy to help the audience identify" going for him, except as a villain. The goodfellas in Bensonhurst and the Far Rockaways weren't gonna get their swagger on because of Joe. Now, if he'd been named Joe Campanella, that might have been another matter, maybe, as long as he beat "Alley," as Don Dunphy and others used to call the champion Ali. As long as Joe won ...

    Who could relate to Joe Frazier? Not even Joe could relate to Joe. Like Rocky, Joe doesn't exist unless he beats Muhammad -- which partially explains where Frazier got the wherewithal to do it. The beating a side of beef training thing? -- Frazier all the way. The Philly fighter thing? -- Frazier all the way. The fighting the real-life Apollo Creed, losing, and also winning? -- Frazier all the way.

    Joey Giardello. Another Rocky-- Yo Roc-co! -- only he was from New York State. But Giardello was in Philly the night he beat "Hurricane" Carter in '64. Carter was the original Clubber Lang.

    Rocky Marciano was the original Rocky. He beat Jersey Joe Walcott and Ezzard Charles. The Charles fight was better than any re-creation-Rocky -- the real Rocky getting outpointed by a master boxer, coming back and winning via desperate KO. Rocky also beat Joe Louis. I don't care if Joe was sitting on an embalming table at the time, fact remains, Rocky beat him, then cried in remorse after he'd done it.

    Somebody should've put that on film. In a way, Stallone did.

    Somehow, Stallone distilled all these guys down into himself in this script. He caught the wave. Two rules of journalism, screenwriting, all good writing -- (1) know your subject; and (2) simplify it.

    Takes some doing, and some Ego, but that's what filmmaking is all about. Doing Ego. The script was only half the battle of filming "Rocky." For if not for Apollo Creed -- sorry, Carl Weathers -- to give Rocky Balboa a foil, a charming rogue of a foil and villain, a reason to be, you don't have a movie, you don't have a franchise.

    Finally, we have Rider of the Storm herself, the one who hit the Italian Stallion in the solar plexus, broke him all the way down to "Cobra"; Yo Rock-ette, let's call her. Brigitte Nielsen.

    Stallone worked Her Airheaded Way into "Rocky IV," playing the leg, er, love, er, flack interest of Russian Drago (Dolph "I Come In Peace" Lundgren). Drago was so profoundly soulless he didn't tap his foot, do The Madsen, or laugh out loud when Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) came out in his Uncle Sam striped gear and top hat, dancing with James Brown, as he sang "Living in America."

    We all know by now that Nielsen knocked out Stallone, then fought to a controversial draw with Mark Gastineau, who never fought again, and who, we must all admit here, looks very much like Rocky, only with a mustache, and on Human Growth Hormone. (Yo, Adrian. Pick me up. Over here on Broad Street, some dump called da Heartbreak Hotel. Yo, Adrian. Um. Real sorry. She din mean nuttin', Adrian. It was ... just a ting.)

    Finally, the "real" Rocky was everybody who ever felt like a loser, felt like he was being dumped on, who ever compromised himself, who ever felt overwhelmed and underskilled. For everybody who ever played Lotto. "Rocky" was everybody, because only a few people ever get to be Apollo Creed or Muhammad Ali. That's the genius of it. The character is so relatable to, because he mirrors all of our secret weaknesses and inadequacies, lets us believe, however erroneously, there's a scenario whereby we can overcome them.

    5. Time magazine put "Rocky" and at least one (out of millions) Rocky Wannabe on its cover.

    In the words of the late Carl Sagan in another context, there were "billions and billions" of Rocky wannabes. Only one made the cover of Time, posing side-by-side with "Stallion," as Stallone was first called in the "Rocky" film franchise by -- Carl Weathers.

    (I'll get Carl Weathers his props out of this if it kills him.)

    But it wasn't Carl Weathers (remember Carl Weathers as Dillon in "Predator" with Ah-nold and that great ensemble cast of unleashed and diversified testosterone? Remember "Action Jackson"?) who made the cover of "Time" with Stallone. No, it was Gerry Cooney.

    Cooney was about to fight (if that's the word) the heavyweight champion at the time, a dour workman named Larry Holmes. If Tim Burton's "Mars Attacks" had come down from outer space, they would have taken the chiseled form and flinty eyes of Stallone over the doe-eyed, sloped-shouldered Gerry Cooney as the real hard heavyweight contender on that magazine cover.

    And Stallone might have done as well as Cooney did against Larry Holmes. Cooney beat the hell out of Holmes' protective cup, at least. Remember seeing Ryan O'Neal and one of his sons ringside. They started off giddy, throwing air punches. Hella disappointed by the end of the fight. The service Sly gave them was they could go to Blockbuster, rent "Rocky," and act like Cooney never happened.

    By the early '80s, Sly Stallone had become world-famous as the title character of the great franchise of "Rocky" films. He traveled to fights with a would-be heavyweight named Lee Cantalito. Muhammad Ali probably would've called Lee "The Cantaloupe," because of the name, and because he hit about as hard as one.

    Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini was in his salad days then as world lightweight champion. When Ray outfought and killed the Korean, Duk Koo Kim -- Ray killed Kim to keep Kim from killing Ray -- in Vegas, I was ringside. In the 15th round, passions and bloodlust ran high; the fighters were going at it toe-to-toe full-bore, flat-out, literal mortal combat, no bull. One of my sterling colleagues (who later apologized and said he'd had "a Korean War flashback") kept yelling, "Kill that gook!" as that fire got hotter and hotter. Stallone was around; him or Cantalito or both were at some of Mancini's title fights. Lee studied this whole possible death scenario, and decided that maybe acting, or stunt work, or even driving a FedEx truck, was a better career option.

    Larry Holmes, right, might have gotten more of a test from Rocky Balboa than he got from Gerry Cooney and others.
    Haven't seen him since.

    Ray was hoping Stallone could use him or his story, somehow; I often wish Stallone would've found a way. I always liked Ray. He was authentic, likeable, a good athlete, the no-doubt star of his otherwise mostly black gym in the depressed economic center of Youngstown, Ohio. His old man, Lenny "Boom Boom" Mancini, is where Ray got the punch. But the style was Ray's. Had a gift for dialogue, kind of like Ali, only different. Always remember what he said right after the Kim fight, while soberly, painfully fingering a monstrously swollen purplish region that used to be his right eye:

    "Why? Why do I do this to myself? I'm the one who has to wake up tomorrow and look at myself."

    Ray didn't know then that Kim was dead.

    Yeah. "Rocky" was great. I guess. But Ray -- Ray was on the real.

    6. As a feel-good movie, "Rocky" rates "A-plus." As boxing movies, "Rocky I, II, II and IV" rate "third."

    "Raging Bull" was a better boxing movie than "Rocky." Why? Well, film appreciation is the most subjective reviewing process known to man. There is really no way to keep score, other than box office receipts and awards won, and that really isn't a good way to go. Most people just go with how they feel. Probably the best way.

    "Raging Bull," like "Rocky," wasn't really about boxing. Sly Stallone isn't Robert DeNiro or Martin Scorcese, much less both at the same time. But "Rocky" is a simpler good movie, and it's not that much of a stretch to call it great; with all its sequels, it's a great franchise. Is "Rocky" better than Rod Serling's "Requiem for a Heavyweight"? Yes. But not better than his "Twilight Zone" episode about a washed-up fighter named Boley Jackson (Boley was portrayed by Ivan Dixon, who you either know as Kinch from the old TV sitcom "Hogan's Heroes," or the love interest of Abbey Lincoln in a good movie, "Nothing But A Man.")

    Boley befriends a boy who can fold space and time, and who changes Boley's fate of being knocked out by a victorious younger foe into Boley's hand being held high over a fallen, younger foe. The boy thought Boley would be happy about what he did. Boley made the sobbing boy -- who I think was played by Rodney Allen Rippey, or a young Carl Weathers --change things and fate back to the way they'd been -- the way they should be, in the fullness of time.

    There's also a film called "Hard Times," starring Charlie Bronson, Jill Ireland and James Coburn that was a better study of a boxer than "Rocky II, III, IV & V" combined. No Oscars or retrospectives for "Hard Times." In case Bronson is disappointed, there might be more life ahead for his closet version of "Rocky," which is not "Hard Times," but "Death Wish," and its sequels and franchise.

    You can slap me silly and call me Sergeant Schultz and say I know nothing and it's all too true. But I'm still thinking that "Hard Times" is as good as four of the "Rockys," just lacks that special (commercial) something. Carl Weathers? Don't laugh.

    "Simple dramaturgy to help the audience identify."

    Remember all that, Roc-co. As if you could forget it.

    Ralph Wiley spent nine years at Sports Illustrated and wrote 28 cover stories on celebrity athletes. He is the author of several books, including "Best Seat in the House," with Spike Lee, "Born to Play: The Eric Davis Story," and "Serenity, A Boxing Memoir."


    (Quelle: ESPN.com)

  4. #4
    laertes
    Gast

    AW: Rocky I - V

    "what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man..."


  5. #5
    laertes
    Gast

    AW: Rocky I - V

    blasphemie! du willst doch wohl nicht carl weathers mit billy dee williams vergleichen...?!

  6. #6
    Tet
    Tet ist offline
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    AW: Rocky I - V

    Was? Ich weiß nicht wovon du sprichst...

    (jaja, fiel mir dann auch auf/ein)

    KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK - Mugon no kuukan o daite
    Kabe o tataite wa mogaku yo - Daiji na serifu nani mo ienai mama

  7. #7
    laertes
    Gast

    AW: Rocky I - V

    du filou! mal eben schnell das gif gelöscht! schlingel!

    aber ich hätte dir ja recht gegeben: der tanzende lando calrissian sieht apollo creed durchaus ähnlich...

  8. #8
    Tet
    Tet ist offline
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    AW: Rocky I - V

    Hatte gehofft unbemerkt zu entkommen... aber du ...

    KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK - Mugon no kuukan o daite
    Kabe o tataite wa mogaku yo - Daiji na serifu nani mo ienai mama

  9. #9
    laertes
    Gast

    AW: Rocky I - V

    keine chance. gotteslästerung ist eine cineastische straftat.

    und DAS HIER ist besonders verwerflich, also schäm dich!:


  10. #10
    Tet
    Tet ist offline
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    AW: Rocky I - V

    Ach, die sehen doch alle gleich aus.

    ()

    KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK - Mugon no kuukan o daite
    Kabe o tataite wa mogaku yo - Daiji na serifu nani mo ienai mama

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