Rocky III (1982)

Rocky III: An American Tradition

After the recap of the fight from the previous movie, Rocky III opens with a montage which begins with fireworks and giant light up sign of Rocky as if to say “Welcome to the 80’s!”; a decade when everything was larger than life. The song of choice is Eye of Tiger, the montage is edited like an MTV music video and Rocky even appears on The Muppet Show; and all that merchandise, me want!

Rocky III is ridiculously entertaining while still managing to have thematic substance. Rocky is no longer struggling with fame. A man who couldn’t film a simple commercial in Rocky II is now making all sorts of endorsements. He could barely drive a car in Rocky II, now he can now drive with ease. Rocky has also become a more intelligent man instead of the dum dum he was in first two movies. Not to mention does he looks different, very handsome I might add and in such physical shape. I think Stallone looks like Al Pacino here, especially when wearing a suit.

Rocky III brought the series in a different direction, distant from the first two movies. But despite Rocky’s wealth and fame, Rocky III is not a movie which cheapens out. The primary theme of the movie is about Rocky’s fame making him soft or as Mickey puts it, “You got civilised”. Once Rocky discovers Mickey has been hand picking fighters his seemingly perfect bubble of a life is burst; “You wake up after a few years, thinking you’re a winner, but you’re not, you’re really a loser”. This continues the series theme of being semi-autobiographical of Stallone’s own life as the movie examines what fame and fortune can do to a person. Adrian’s role is smaller is time round although her character still sees an evolution as the famous lifestyle has taken away her shyness and made her more outspoken and pretty hot too I might add. Just listen to the words of motivation she gives Rocky on the beach; a far cry from the Adrian in the first movie.

Even when Rocky discovers Mickey has been hand picking fighters prior to his first fight with Clubber Lang, Rocky is training in the most superficial gym. It’s full of photographers and visitors, musicians are playing and merchandise is being sold.  Unsurprisingly he gets the worst beating of his life at the hands of Clubber Lang. The solution to Rocky getting his so-called “eye of the tiger” back; get away from the superficiality of his wealthy lifestyle and back to the nitty-gritty. As Apollo Creed puts it, “Man, when we fought, you had that eye of the tiger man, the edge! And the only way to get it back is to go back to the beginning; you know what I’m saying?”. I stick by these words as some of the wisest words I’ve heard uttered in a motion picture. Whenever you lose your mindset of determination whether physically or mentality, go back to where you first started in order to reclaim it. Rocky III humanises Apollo Creed with Rocky and Apollo becoming friends being a great spin on the story. I always think of his intense shouting of “There is no tomorrow!” whenever I need some motivation.

The hypnotic, uneasy music which plays when Rocky is training poorly under Apollo and stuck with the threat of living with failure reminds me of Bernard Herman’s score to Vertigo in possibly the most uneasy scenes in the series. Likewise, the scene of Paulie in the arcade has to be the most surreal scene in the entire series in which he throws a bottle pinball machine in slow motion complete with odd sound effects; it’s an image which doesn’t leave your head.

Mr. T as Clubber Lang, oh man! What a beast! A true larger than life villain with outbursts of immensely entertaining lightning fast dialogue; he sure has a way with words with such a violent temper and high levels of anger. You do not want to be stuck in an elevator with this guy. Which raises the question; is Clubber responsible for the death of Mickey by pushing him to the side? Yet even close to death Mickey can still inspire with scenery-chewing words of motivation; his death being one of the series most emotional moments. The boxer vs. wrestler charity fight on the other hand between Rocky and Thunderlips (Hulk Hogan) has nothing to do with the rest of the movie but dam is it entertaining. It’s so over the top with such intense pain on display. The referee and police officers are thrown to the side, the audience is assaulted and even Paulie gets in on the action (I do love those bits of humour Paulie provides).

The final fight in Rocky III is the only in ring fight in the series which takes place in real time until Creed.  Meanwhile, the final scene of the movie is such fun, with Rocky and Apollo playing off each other which along with the training montage gives off some homoerotic vibes along the way with sweaty, shirtless, muscular men in tank tops as well as men hugging and jumping in the sea.

Also, the film’s trailer refers to Rocky III as an “American tradition”. What’s the tradition? Hollywood sequels?

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The Dreaming (1982)

Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie!

The Dreaming is a very hard album to get into. I won’t blame you if your initial reaction to this album is “what the hell is this?!” There’s no instantly accessible pop hit from the album such as Wuthering Heights or Babooshka. I was in doubt at first that I would ever get into The Dreaming and that I would consider it an album that I would happily come back to listen to again and again. Well after much persistent listening, I now find my aforementioned comments hard to believe. Admittedly I wouldn’t even play any of these songs in front of my relatives; they’re just that weird and would probably turn them off Kate Bush. This is the last Kate Bush album I would recommend for newcomers, despite it being a masterpiece.

Sat In Your Lap is the Kate song I relate to the most, a real “This was written for me” track; a song which deals with humanity’s pursuit of knowledge and the unwillingness to devote the effort required to obtain it. My own further interpretation of the song is the belief that obtaining knowledge will make you happy and give you a high, yet this only leads to eventual dissatisfaction as you see it’s just a foothill for a bigger mountain of knowledge behind it, yet we keep doing it again and again. Talk about story of my life. Whenever I feel like I can’t go on with a task (such as writing this very review), this song helps inspire me to finish it.

There Goes a Tenner is initially off-putting with Kate singing in a Cockney accent but the thing which helped me eventually fall in love with it was the moment I deciphered this lyric: “You are Bogart, he is George Raft, that leaves Cagney and me (what about Edward G!)”. While Kate is generally not an angry artist, this is a great album to vent off anger, with the title track, in particular, a song about the destruction of Aboriginal homelands by white Australians in their quest for weapons-grade uranium. Who writes stuff like this?! Kate does! Get Out Of My House (aka the song in which Kate makes donkey sounds) is terrifying, not to mention they sure saved the weirdest song for last. Like many Kate songs, if anyone else did this it would be moronic but because it’s Kate, it works.

The Dreaming is an album which is overlooked by critics and the public but is widely considered among Kate Bush fandom to be her greatest work.  My personal favourite Kate album is either The Dreaming or The Red Shoes. Kate has never made an album more bonkers than this, which unleashes the weirdo in all of us.