So it's midnight on Friday night, and I'm watching Rocky III.
I've written about the Rocky series before, notably the fact that Rocky IV is not a good film (though highly entertaining) and then I had the brilliant idea to put a spiritual spin on the whole thing. But Rocky III?
The Lovely Steph Leann was out tonight at a scrapbooking crop at Valleydale Church (an sbc fellowship), so after I finished getting Campbell to bed, some household chores and then catching the last half of "Django Unchained" on EPIX2, she finally came in. She went to get ready for bed, Django finished his killing cycle, and I flipped channels only to find nothing on... well, there's Rocky III.
She sat on the couch, and then we had this exchange:
Me: You know, Rocky I thru IV are really hard to rank because...
The Lovely Steph Leann: ...because they aren't very good
Me: What? Rocky I is good.
The Lovely Steph Leann: I know. I've seen it.
I had to explain... and when I had to explain, I was really talking out loud, because though The Lovely Steph Leann loves me and loves talking to me, hearing a monologue on the Rocky films probably tested her tired patience.
Nonetheless, I had to explain... the Rocky films are difficult to quantify...because the original Rocky is a really good movie. It's got a great story, great performances and the ending is heartwarming... but it's just so slow. Rocky II is the extension of Rocky I, so while it's also slow, it's not as slow, but the story also suffers because it's really a retread of Rocky I... with the same ending, except a slight difference in the winner of the match.
Rocky IV is probably the most entertaining, but really... the story is so ludicrous that it's hard to even fathom how it could happen.
We could talk about Rocky V, but it doesn't exist. It's on the mythical shelf with Caddyshack 2, the Ring 2 and every Police Academy after part 4... movies that you have only heard about, but aren't actually there.
Granted, "Rocky Balboa", or Rocky VI was actually a pretty decent story and a good wrap up to the entire Rocky saga... but it was more pleasant than anything.
That leaves Rocky III. Perhaps the greatest of all Rocky movies. You have a fantastic villain, Clubber Lang (played with vicious glee by a hugely popular in 1983 Mr. T)... you have the emotion odds, as our hero Rocky admits his fear... you have the overcoming odds, as Rocky has to learn a new way of doing things by going to his former enemy... you have the most annoying character actually bearable for one film, that being Adrian (Talia Shire, who wasn't good in any of these)... and heartbreak, as Mick takes a tumble to the great ring in the sky.
What's not to love. Plus, in watching it back tonight, the ending match is just great. And somewhat believable. If you can believe that.
That's my thoughts on Rocky III. Strangely enough, The Lovely Steph Leann already went to bed.
By the way, when I caught "Django Unchained", it was the scene where Schultz and Django are on the hill, about to take out the criminal who is farming, and Django is having trouble shooting him as the guy is with his own son.
In the time it took to finish this movie, finish Rocky III, chat with The Lovely Steph Leann, catch the beginning of "Django Unchained" on EPIX3 as it came on, it's now back at that same scene. This is my cue.
What's my prediction for the next few hours? Sleep.