When I first heard there was going to be yet another movie in the “Rocky” franchise, I said in this space that I was really angry, because if there’s one collection of films that does NOT need another addition, it’s “Rocky.” I was mad, I was annoyed … and then I saw the trailer, and immediately wanted to see the film.
Michael B. Jordan as Apollo Creed’s son? Stallone as the old, grizzled trainer helping him get to the top? Sign me up, please.
The wife and I saw “Creed” on Saturday night, and it was fantastic. Really sensational stuff. Not four stars, in my book, but a solid 3 or 3.5.
First of all, the story is really well-told: The illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, who never met his dad, throws away his regular day job to move to Philadelphia, desperate to connect with his father’s legacy and meet the man’s greatest rival and friend, Rocky Balboa.
Michael B. Jordan is, typically, fabulous in the role; I truly think he’s the next Denzel Washington. So confident, so poised, and so able to tap into any emotion a scene needs.
The script by Ryan Coogler is also terrific, the boxing scenes themselves beautifully shot, and the direction is excellent. As a longtime Rocky-phile I also appreciated the many nods to the previous movies, especially ones involving a chicken.
The one flaw in “Creed” for me? The boxing storylines were so over the top and ludicrious, as in, this could never in a million years happen this way. I won’t ruin any plot points but there are at least 3-4 times where something occurs and you’re just incredulous, knowing how silly that storyline is.
But the real revelation in the movie is Stallone’s acting. He steals the movie, and probably should get an Oscar nomination. Since the first two “Rocky” films Sly has pretty much been a terrible actor, really bad.
But in “Creed” he gets back to his roots, tapping into his iconic character perfectly. We see the charm, we see the facial tics, but we also see a poignancy and deep soul that I didn’t know Stallone had in him. He makes Rocky a wonderfully human character, fading away but energized by this kid.
“Creed” deserves the love it’s been getting from critics. Go see it. You’ll end up cheering in the final minutes even if you never do that sort of thing.
**Next up, like the greatness of Steph Curry or traffic in New York City, I tend to take the wonderful satirical newspaper “The Onion” and its brilliance for granted. It’s usually so consistently funny, and biting, that sometimes it takes reminding how great it is.
This week I saw two Onion headlines, one that cracked me up beyond all reason, and another that made me laugh so hard and yet hate myself for laughing at it, because it’s so, so wrong.
The first is was this one:
“Members of Twisted Sister Now Willing to Take It.” which of course plays on the classic 1980s song.
And then there was this one, which screams “too soon” and borders on offensive but was so damn funny (and accurate) I couldn’t help laughing.
Frustrated Gunman Can’t Believe How Far He Has To Drive To Find Nearest Planned Parenthood Clinic
God bless The Onion.
**Finally today, I love pointing out and mocking ideas so bad, you question the sanity of those who came up with them. “Friday Night Lights,” the TV show, is an all-time classic, one I’ve waxed poetic about numerous times on here. It’s in the pantheon of the greatest shows ever, and so of course, being a classic, it’s bound to spawn some attention after it’s dead.
But this … “Friday Night Lights” is set to become a musical, with Scott Porter, who played Jason Street on the show, playing Coach Eric Taylor in the starring role?
Come on, people, don’t do this! Don’t massacre a legend. “FNL” is a lot of things. A LOT of things. It’s poignant and smart and funny and brilliantly acted and beautiful. But it is NOT a friggin’ musical! Do not do this, Scott Porter, do not go down this road. You are Jason Street, you are not Coach Taylor, no matter how many “let me tell you something’s” you may utter. I do not want to see Landry and Matt Saracen boogieing around Grandma Saracen’s house. I don’t want to see Billy Riggins crooning his heart out to Mindy.
Please don’t do this. It will absolutely be awful.