Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A very pleasant surprise

Back in 1976, I was a high school senior. When my boyfriend (now my husband) wanted to go see "Rocky", I was a bit hesitant. Boxing was not my idea of entertainment.

But, I was Philly girl. Well, close enough to a Philly girl since I was raised just outside the city limits. And everyone was talking about 'our' movie. You see, "Rocky" belonged to Philly. More than any other Hollywood-ized ideal of what Philadelphia was, "Rocky" was ours. So, after hearing all the buzz, I knew I had to see it.

I remember the first time. (I'm not sure, but probably saw it half a dozen times in the theater). It just blew me away. And, of course, there were several instances of running up the art museum steps just because we could!

"Rocky II" was great, but it wasn't the same. "Rocky" was the perfect underdog. Once he was "top" dog, it just wasn't the same. The gritty Philadelphia-ness of the movie was replaced with slick Hollywood ideas.

When I heard that there was going to be yet another "Rocky" sequel this year, I cringed. As a parent, and your child is putting himself on the line for a goal, you pray that all goes well and that they succeed. Or at least manage to walk away with some pride. That was how I felt about this latest "Rocky" movie. I approached it with the dread of a parent, because "Rocky" is Philadelphia's son. And we don't want to see him fail or make a fool of himself.

So over this Christmas vacation, my husband, my two teenage sons, and myself headed to the Alamo Drafthouse to see Rocky Balboa. (by the way, the Alamo Drafthouse is by far the coolest place to see a movie. Order dinner, beer, drinks.... while you watch a movie. It's one of the great things about living in Austin!)

We got there about an hour before the movie started, ordered our dinner while scenes from all the previous Rocky movies played on the screen. I was wearing a Philadelphia Flyers sweatshirt because it is a Philly movie after all! Watching the scenes from the prior Rocky movies was great fun and brought back lots of memories. But how was Stallone going to pull this off? "Rocky" must be, what, 60 now? Or pretty damn close. Was this going to be a huge mistake and ruin the legacy of Philly's favorite underdog? Was I going to be hugely disappointed?

I must say...... all my fears were unfounded. Stallone did an incredible job. He took it back to the streets of Philly. It was as though he remembered how it all started. This movie was probably very expensive, yet it had the feel of the low-budget original. Gritty, and honest.... and I LOVED it. He brought back the old "Rocky". And the streets of Philadelphia. And he respected the character, the story, and the history. He done good! "Rocky" has come full circle. And I am still proud of him.

No comments: