We all know how it is. You’d like to get out to see a new movie this weekend, but you can’t find a babysitter or you are the babysitter or you know that the gorgeous weather most of the U.S. is promised for this weekend means you won’t want to do anything but sit on … more…
Forget everything you know about the joke that Rocky Balboa has become in the three decades since he made his screen debut, and just think back to that first film, to its raw power and surprising sensitivity and hard beauty.
Oh, but this is a sucker punch of a movie, harsh and sere and so thoroughly unsentimental that it seems to have active contempt for lesser movies that pander to the audience’s desire to walk out of the theater feeling good and happy and that all is right in the world. This is like winning the lottery and getting hit by a train on your way to cash in your ticket. This is not for anyone who feels the need to escape real life at the multiplex. This *is* real life, as real as film gets. You are warned.
That teaser trailer — you know the one I’m talking about — with the fat old ex-superhero struggling to get into his spandex costume? It left such a bad taste in my mouth whenever I contemplated the film that must go with it. I imagined a gang of former masked crusaders called out of happy retirement, reluctantly huffing and puffing their way back into action, replete with very unfunny cracks about getting fat and old, and probably with an even more unfunny getting-into-shape-a-la-*Rocky* sequence thrown in for good measure.
The other great movie about boxing, Martin Scorsese’s *Raging Bull* is as dismal as *Rocky* is triumphant, as hopeless as *Rocky* is hopeful.
It comes as a bit of a shock to be reminded that, after so many years of movies the likes of Daylight and Oscar, that our man Sly got his start not only as the star of this superb movie but also as its screenwriter. This tender movie, on the surface about the most violent of sports, is really a Marty-esque romance about two lonely people reaching out to each other.