Tuesday, August 06, 2013

if I can change: thoughts on rocky IV part 1

Usually I don't spend two posts discussing a movie... but I have a lot to say about this one...

Let's be clear about something... "Rocky IV" is not a good film.  Its just not.  Its poorly acted, the premise is ridiculous and the "Change" speech from Rocky at the climax is overdramatic and preposterous.  And yet, here I am at 1104pm on a Monday night, unable to look away at the wonderful craptastica before me.

I won't even go into the plot of this movie, other than to say that Ivan Drago, the Russian, challenges the American, Apollo Creed, to a fight, kills him in the ring, then is challenged by Rocky Balboa to a fight, in Russia, on Christmas Day.  Or some silliness like that.

Anyway, here are a few random thoughts I had while watching tonight...

So, Apollo and James Brown are close enough that JB will perform at Apollo's match... yet JB can't show up for the funeral?  Sketchy.

Rocky didn't stop the fight.  Rocky, a seasoned fighter, someone who knows the immediate results of such injuries and beatings that Ivan Drago is laying upon Apollo, hesitates not once, but TWICE... first, between rounds, when Apollo begs him to not interfere.  Okay, I get it, your bestie wants to keep going.  But when Ivan is pounding Apollo's face to a bloody pulp, Rocky should have thrown in the towel.  More is not made of the fact Rocky watched as Apollo Creed essentially was beaten to death. 

By the way, Apollo Creed had no business in this fight.  None.  He was an old fighter who basically bullied his way into the fight against a dude who was bigger, stronger, and coming from Mother Russia, had been taught to hit people and not show emotion.  Ivan Drago didn't kill Apollo Creed.  Apollo Creed killed Apollo Creed.

"You can't win!" is Adrian's cry to Rocky.  When she showed up in Russia, I would have told her to take her doubting tail home.  Biggest fight of my life upon me, my life possibly in danger, I don't need her kind of negativity.  Worst wife ever.

David Hasselhoff didn't need to be on the Berlin Wall.  Survivor did.  They sang the soundtrack that ended the Cold War.

Speaking of Survivor, sometimes late at night, when I have a lot on my mind, I like driving around really fast, blaring "Burning Heart" and thinking about my life.  Usually the last three movies worth of my life, anyway.

If I could go back in time, I'd punch my 9 year old self in the gut for thinking Brigette Nielson was pretty.   Back then, she was a looker.  But I'd show my young self a picture of her with Flava Flav from 2007. "See!  See little d$!  This is what happens!"  Of course, I'd have nightmares from then on, which I guess in a paradoxical way would be giving me nightmares now.  Perhaps its best that I don't time travel.

Bottom left front of Paulie's awkward robot.  I do believe there was a CD player there.  In 1984.  Never noticed it.  Maybe while I'm back in time horrifying my young self, I'll point this out to lil me, and explain. 

Finally, I'd like to give you the oldest email in my inbox, something I held onto until I could share it.  It was written by my friend Scott Latta, submitted to me on July 3rd, 2007, and it was his description of the true legacy of Rocky IV.  He says:

In high school, I was this close to writing an essay titled, "If I can change: How 'Rocky IV' did more for US/Russian relations than the Reagan Administration." There's an inside joke among fans of "Rocky IV" that the fourth installment in Sylvester Stallone's epic series was what actually put an end to the Cold War (That, and "'Rocky V" never happened), and the truth is, "Rocky IV" is so ripe with Cold War innuendo that's it's hard to believe the Reagan Administration didn't at least watch the movie at some point during the affair. Take for instance: The Russian Express, Ivan Drago ("Death from above"), comes to America and promptly challenges Apollo Creed, American icon, who ends up getting killed in the fight after a showboat entrance to the ring in Las Vegas where he dons a Founding Fathers wig and dances to James Brown's "Living in America" (An atmosphere not unlike Valleydale's "Celebrate America" Sunday).  (d$'s note... looking back, I only now at this very moment understand and appreciate how freakin' funny that last line is...) 

Rocky then challenges Drago in Russia, on Christmas, for no money, in an East vs. West fight that ends with the Russian crowd changing their evil Communist ways and one of the most heartfelt, teary, and unintelligible speeches ever given by the Italian Stallion. Along the way we see the evil Russian take steroids and get to experience the fake accent of Brigitte Nielsen ("You think that you are so veddy good, and that we, are so veddy bad."), who was actually married to Sly Stallone during production. All in all, a tour de force of American cinema.

Tomorrow... a little spiritual application, how Ivan Drago is like the sin in your life, and how you, YOU are the one now... no, I'm not kidding.

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