|Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone view Philadelphia from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art near the end of Creed.|
|Sylvester Stallone as Rocky in the original Rocky.|
Movies then opened on Wednesdays. Years later, they switched to Fridays. A good thing about Wednesday night was that there would be few people at the show, which is at a small theater near the Loser that has a decent screen. The Loser, a film snob even at that age, prefers small audiences. He doesn't eat popcorn while watching movies—too crass—and he sits in the fifth row, from which the screen fills the frames of his tortoise-shell glasses. He sits, leans back, and waits for Rocky to begin.
It started with the word "Rocky," huge, from top to bottom, scrolling from left to right, with the brassy opening bars of the theme, Gonna Fly Now. The Loser, a cripple, dislikes sports of all kinds and he's never thrown a punch in his life, but he loves this movie and defends it to this day.
The sequels were abysmal. The second was a less a sequel than a remake of the first. The only memorable characters in the subsequent ones were Clubber Lang (Mr. T) and Drago (Dolf Lundgren), both cartoonish and played for laughs. Stallone over chiseled his body and seemed to be catering to a gay audience.
These movies existed only to give the masses more of what they'd liked in the first. They were fabrications, corporate-made movies with no heart or soul and with a poor ear for real dialogue. The plotting was obvious, childish and redundant.
Now there is Creed, which opened Wednesday due to the Thanksgiving holiday. Again, the Loser heard good things about it prior to its release. The magic words to him were that it was neither written nor directed by Sylvester Stallone.
Again, the Loser had money and a car. He did not have school the next day. His parents are away because they're dead. The theater that he saw Rocky in closed years ago. The Loser went to see Creed on Thursday before going to a relative's for Thanksgiving. There were no more than eight others in the theater.
The magic is back. It's a very good movie. No movie will have the surprise that Rocky had for the Loser, but that would be like expecting an orgasm to feel as good as the first one he had at age fourteen did. But it comes as close as any other movie with similar themes ever will.
|Sylvester Stallone as Rocky pounds beef for practice.|