- Film Festival
I've always been sort of proud, in a strange way, that I've never seen Rocky. 1) It's a classic, and 2) it's set in Philadelphia. How could I have never seen it?! Frankly, I never cared if anyone found my ignorance of Rocky offensive, because I never actually had any interest in seeing it in the first place. However, since I've started this blog, I've committed myself to seeing everything that might be shown in a Film Appreciation class. As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised.
Last week, as a part of its filmadelphiaCLASSICS On Location series, the Philadelphia Film Society showed a screening of Rocky at South Philly's Asylum Arena, where the epic fight scene of Rocky Balboa was filmed. Seeing a film in a historic location is definitely not something that should be passed up, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally see Rocky. With a boxing ring set up in the middle of the arena and a pre-movie Q&A session with a professional boxer, the stage was set for an authentic and atmospheric screening.
I'm not normally a fan of boxing or sport movies, and the whole down-on-his-luck-but-lovable-hero-finally-succeeds-in-the-end plot has always seemed a little tired to me. However, since Rocky more-or-less perfected this formula (this may not be true, but for the purposes of this blog, I'm making it true), it's become a classic American tale about triumphing over extreme obstacles, which is Apollo Creed's idea when he decides to give an amateur boxer a shot at the title. As underdog stories go, I couldn't help but like it.
I've never thought much of Sylvester Stallone as an actor. I'm a film snob and pay no attention to silly action flicks that are fueled by pure testosterone and explosions. However, the character of Rocky is so unlike anyone I've seen Stallone play, and it was refreshing to see where it all began. Rocky is a simple man, but he's kind, humble, and dedicated - the kind of guy you can't help but root for. I even found him attractive, which definitely weirded me out. Plus, I give credit to anyone who's gotten an Academy Award nomination, as surprising it may seem after looking back on a 35-year acting career. Like I said, I'm a snob.
Although I've seen the plot a million times before, I'm glad I finally saw Rocky and got to experience it in such a unique way. I can't promise that I will see the other 12 Rocky films, or however many there are, but I at least enjoyed the original. I think that's what matters most.