In addition to it of course being Christmas season, I’m excited for another reason this December. Rocky Balboa (Rocky VI) will be released in theatres on December 20 and I’ll be one of the first people in line to see it. Before you unleash your venomous attacks of how the series of Rocky movies is nothing but mindless, cheesy dribble, let me explain how wrong you are.

  1. It’s the outright best theme song in cinematic history. When I hear it, goose bumps suddenly appear as if an angel is saying to me, “Push yourself, Alberstadt. If you get knocked down, you better get the hell up.” It should be noted that this angel has the voice of Rocky’s first trainer Mickey, which is why he can get away with saying “hell”. He’s also allowed to mispronounce words, like when I hear him say, “What the hell are ya waitin fer?” He somehow pronounces Alberstadt correctly every time, which is nice. The whole thing is very motivational.
  2. The Rocky character embodies a never-say-die-spirit that is impossible not to appreciate, even by liberals. He has the eye of the tiger, that killer instinct of survival (no coincidence that a band named Survivor sang Eye of the Tiger, you know). You see there…generalizing all tigers as killers normally sets off a firestorm of irrational banter from groups like PETA and Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, but when the Italian Stallion personifies it, it’s all good. He fights and unites.
  3. He eats raw eggs while training. When you’re a germaphobe and uncooked food freak like I am, this is incredibly admirable. He may as well work out on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. There’s so much gastrointestinal bacteria on those things to present a powerful foe worthy of fighting in Rocky VII.
  4. Stallone was dead-ass broke when he wrote the original screenplay. When studios liked the idea but wanted to cast it, Sly put his foot down and said the part was his or he walks. He was broke, people. He couldn’t even afford to eat raw eggs. That’s ballsy.
  5. Rocky helped America win the cold war when he beat the seemingly invincible Soviet Ivan Drago (on Christmas Day, mind you). I honestly believe that East Germany invited Mikhail Gorbachev over one night, and they watched Rocky IV on Proletariat TV’s “Movies for Comrades Who Like Movies”, and decided then and there to knock down the Berlin Wall. In essence, the Stallion sacrificed his body for the good of mankind. If I worked at the History Channel, I’d scrap one of the 85 UFO specials they broadcast and do something on that piece of global significance. (Note: I was reminded of this bit of info by good buddy and fellow comic Jesse Cooper in Indiana. Thanks, Jesse.)
  6. Stallone goes toe to toe in this one with a pro boxer (Antonio Tarver) and there was no fake boxing the whole way through. Similar to Will Smith when he played Ali…these guys were actually hitting each other during much of the fight scene. That’s just damn awesome, especially in this day of green screen, computer-animated fabricated crap that Hollywood doles out weekly.
  7. He’s 60 years old. Why is that included on a list of positive Rocky attributes, you ask? Because it’s inspirational. Go ahead, make jokes about how the crowd going to the boxing match is slowed in traffic by Rocky’s K-car with the left signal constantly blinking. I don’t care. I think fighting at his age is a powerful sign of tenacity, both literal and metaphorical. I can’t yet relate to sixty, but sometimes I can, because today’s generation is way too indolent. The only time they energize themselves to do anything is when another PlayStation goes on sale, and even then they need the help of two or three Red Bulls. Those lazy asses could benefit from watching what hard work and dedication can do.

I will write again next week after watching the movie, and I’ll be more than happy to give you my honest opinion. And in case you’re interested, the rank I give the Rocky films, from my favorite to least favorite are…

Rocky II
Rocky IV
Rocky III
Rocky V

If you have to ask which one Mr. T was in, you should turn in your man license and ask a friend to punch you in the face.

I don’t know where part six (officially called Rocky Balboa) will fit into that list, but I’ll know by around 3 PM on December 20.

Now go see Rocky Balboa, people! What are ya waitin’ fer?

Categories: Columns