In my opinion, the Rocky franchise is the greatest movie franchise there is. I even like Rocky V, but I can say that now because there is a sixth. When Rocky V was the final one? Not the best way to end a series.
"Dad! I'm getting beat up at school!"
"Oh, that's great! What's that behind your ear? A quarter!"
Knowing the story alone is enough to love Rocky. Stallone had no money at all. He sold his wife's jewelry to keep the heat on because he didn't want to get a job and take away from his acting career. She left him (which makes sense) and it was just him and his dog. He saw the Chuck Wepner/Muhammad Ali fight (which the first Rocky is based on) and went home and wrote the script in twenty-eight hours. He tried to sell it and people wouldn't buy it if he wanted to star in it. He was offered two hundred and fifty thousand dollars NOT to star in it, and he refused. Then he was offered thirty thousand for it and they agreed to take a chance on him starring in it – and it won best picture of '77... that alone! THAT ALONE! Huge. Just huge. Not too many other movies have that back-story.
"I didn't really like You Don't Mess with the Zohan."
"Yeah, but did you know that Adam Sandler made a whole lot of great movies before that one?"
"...Yeah. That's why I didn't like it."
As a series, people put Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and Star Wars up against the Rocky movies. Better than Rocky?! Let's take a look.
Indiana Jones – Very cool story. Very cool man. Has a whip and a gun. He traveled to exotic lands. Is this a better franchise than Rocky? No way. Why? Rocky would win in a fight every time.
"Welcome everyone to the Fight of the Century! Rocky Balboa, the Italian Stallion, vs. Colonel Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones, Jr., Ph.D., an archaeology professor. Strange attire to box in – a hat and leather jacket – but we'll see what he can do."
"And there's the opening bell! Rocky starts to the center of the ring and OH MY GOD! Indiana pulls out a whip and is instantly disqualified! I can't believe it! Rocky wins due to disqualification!"
In Indiana Jones time, if Rocky had been the boulder that chased Indiana in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he would have got him. Or if Rocky had been the man who gets shot in that scene by Indiana, the bullet would have been absorbed by Rocky’s never-give-up-attitude.
"How are you still alive?!"
"Well, ya know, Mick used to say, “'Don't let no bullet, throw in your towel', so I just, ya know, don’t."
Back to the Future – great series of movies. I like all of them. I love the second one. If Rocky had been in these movies? Biff’s 1985 never would have happened.
"Oh, no! Biff took the sports almanac back in time to his younger self!"
"Hey... yo... just point me in the direction of this Biff guy, and ya know, I'll straighten him out, like."
"We can't! The flux capacitor needs 1.21 gigawatts!"
"Yo... I don't know about a giga-what's-it, but I'm gonna run up this here mountain, yell Biff’s name so loud he'll hear it, and if he's, ya know, any kinda man, he'll get in the ring."
Star Wars – now people may think, "There's no way Rocky could beat someone who has a lightsaber. Lightsabers cut through doors!" Well, lightsabers never had to cut through something as hard as Rocky's abs. Rocky III and IV? He pooled all of the abs in the world. Other men at that time didn't even have stomachs because Stallone took them all – the way Shang Tsung takes souls. He looked like a shark in boxing trunks. Any woman who had sex with Stallone at that point in time also had her soul washed on his abs. If he had sex with an eighty-year-old woman, it would have ironed the wrinkles out of her.
"Oh my, this is insane! I feel younger!"
"Yo... you are. These abs turn back time. Your spirit-ality."
A lightsaber? It would have snapped in half had it met those abs!
"What?! Just this morning I cut an AT-ST in half! How did it break on your abs?!"
"Yo, I've been training with Apollo. He's real good, you should, ya know, meet him."
Another great thing about the series is that none of the actors change! Over thirty years! Adrian is Talia Shire the entire time. Paulie is Burt Young! For thirty years!? If they did change, it would have been with famous people. Do you know how terrible Rocky VI would have been with Tracy Morgan as Paulie?
"Yo, Paulie, what happened to your eye?"
"My eye? I still look handsome, I look good. I'm the ooh child. Somebody gonna get pregnant."
Some people were angry about Rocky VI coming out. Rocky VI is great for too many reasons. For one, it's loosely based off of actual events! It's the story of George Foreman. To sum it up quickly, George Foreman fought Muhammad Ali in the Rumble in the Jungle. George was younger and stronger, so the odds were in his favor. George lost, and went through a ridiculous depression for the next ten years. Ten years! When he went back into boxing, he was in his forties. People laughed at him. Nobody thought a man in his forties could beat people in their twenties. But when he was forty-five, he won back the heavyweight title! Forty-five! Won it! That's incredible, and that is what Stallone based Rocky VI on.
I've met a lot of women who don't understand the Rocky movies. "Why do men like them so much? Because he punches people?" The Rocky movies are to men, what movies like Dirty Dancing and The Notebook are to women. Women watch those to live out a fantasy, we do the same. Only difference, our fantasy could beat the hell out of your fantasy. Also, those movies rev you up for challenges. If you were running a marathon, you wouldn't watch "Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked" to get motivated.
"I've got thirty five miles to run tomorrow. Come on Chipmunks! Be cute!"
When I meet a man who doesn't like the Rocky movies, I assume he has no ambition or drive at all.
"I didn't like the Rocky movies at all. So stupid. All right, guys, if you'll excuse me, I have a big day planned. I have to re-tin foil my windows as I'll be in the house all weekend hot boxing...woo, that took the wind out of me. Can someone carry me to the door?"
The soundtracks are enough to make you want to do something with your life. Do other soundtracks have that? Star Wars’ soundtrack is great, Jurassic Park’s is amazing, but does either one of those make you want to finish that deck you started last February? Nope. The Rocky soundtrack would make you tear down your house just to build a better one.
"What are you doing?!"
"I'm tearing this ol’ house down and building a house with a tennis court! Yo Adrian, I'm doing it!"
"Who the hell is Adrian? And you don't have to tear down the whole house to add a ten..."
Also, Stallone wrote ALL of the Rocky movies and directed four of them! Do you know how incredible that is for a series? Did Michael J. Fox write Back to the Future? Did Harrison Ford put the whip down and get behind a camera? Nope. They just had the one job. Act.
"Stallone, we need you to stand here. Oh, look at that, I'm talking to myself. Also, we need a re-write. Yep, that's me as well. What the hell are you other guys doing here!? Get out of here Carl Weathers! I'm gonna Eddie Murphy this whole thing."
I think Sylvester Stallone has brought enough to this planet. Rocky was enough, but then he did five more. Sylvester Stallone should be exempt from worrying about global warming. He has done his part.
"Umm, you can't just dump that gasoline in the sewer, Mr. Stallone."
"Oh, yeah… well I wrote a series of movies that inspired you to get out of bed this morning to fight for this planet."
"...Umm, yeah. I guess you're right! Can I have your autograph? You can sign it in gasoline."
The Rocky movies have inspired people for generations, and will continue to do so. When a man gets any kind of success in his life because a DeLorean went back in time, I'll change my mind. Remember guys, Rocky stopped the Cold War and brought down the Iron Curtain with his bare hands! Okay, Rocky IV is a little over the top – Boom! Stallone pun in a sentence about Rocky IV! – but it is entertaining.