Today is the DVD release of Rocky Balboa, the sixth and final installment of the Rocky series (It is the final one right Rock? I mean the last thing I need to see is Rocky on a respirator being rolled on a gurney into the ring to battle a rickety Mr. T in a bling encrusted wheelchair…pity the fool!)
I love Rocky and will miss him greatly. He has been with me since I was in seventh grade. I’ll never forget seeing Rocky (the first and the best of the bunch…Academy Award Winner for best movie in 1978 by the way) for the first time at Westminster Mall. I watched the movie alone and was so inspired I ran around the outside of the mall and all the way home thrusting my fists like I was in a fight and humming the Rocky theme song the whole way. There’s something about the music, “Dum, dum, dum, data, dum, da dum, data, dum…” that gets me going still. Sound dum (I mean dumb) to you? Then maybe you need to re-watch the original Rocky. If you don’t tear up when Rocky yells out for Adrian after his gut wrenching fight with Apollo Creed then you may be the only living heart donor on planet earth.
I remember some of the great and not so great moments in the Rocky series:
- Rocky’s loss to Apollo Creed in movie #1. He lost the fight but doesn’t care. The only thing he cares about is that he stood toe to toe with the world’s greatest fighter for fifteen rounds and endured (GREAT!)
- The talking robot that was a gift to Paulie in Rocky IV (NOT SO GREAT!)
- Mr. T’s appearance on the news after defeating Rocky the first time. When asked his prediction for his rematch fight with Rocky he curls his lips, furrows his brow and looks straight into the camera while uttering one single word, “pain” (GREAT!)
- Tommy (“The Machine Gun) Morrison’s acting in Rocky V (NOT SO GREAT)
- Ivan Dragov’s “I must break you” countered by Rocky’s “Go for it” in Rocky IV (GREAT)
- Survivor’s other songs (ie. not “Eye of the Tiger”) for Rocky IV (NOT SO GREAT)
- Rocky’s final fight of all time in Rocky Balboa and his matching awesome line “I didn’t come here to lose” uttered to his much younger, much faster opponent (GREAT!)
Call me a sap but these movies have inspired me over the years. As I watch them from time to time over the decades to come I’m sure they will rekindle the youthful enthusiasm that first inspired me in the shopping mall movie theater thirty years ago.
I don’t know why I love the Rocky series. Maybe it’s because I love the underdog.
And maybe that’s why I still believe in youth ministry!