Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday Fun Links: ranking every Rocky montage

Sex. Eating. Drinking. Sleeping.

Rocky montages.

All are basic human needs. We don't know about you, but we'd fast for a day or pull an all-nighter if it meant a nice dose of Rocky montages. The SOJP team analyzed and ranked every single Rocky montage. The task was a marathon, but we punched lots of meat, ran up tons of steps, climbed a mountain and even hopped around on the beach in jubilation to get it done.

Here is the list, from worst to best. Worth noting: There are no Rocky V clips listed and you won't find any online. The universe has an unspoken agreement to never discuss or watch Rocky V again. Let's keep it that way.

With that, let's get it on:

12. Rocky IV (1985) - No easy way out

The first and worst of four montages in Rocky IV -- the movie had roughly 40 minutes of dialogue; the rest was filled with montages -- not that we’re complaining. Rocky cruises through the streets of Philly, struggling with his decision to let Apollo Creed keep fighting Ivan Drago, which ultimately led to Creed’s death. Cheese factor is at an all-time high as Drago lurks in the shadows while Survivor reminds us "We’re not indestructible" and "There’s no easy out."

11. Rocky II (1979) - Rocky/Apollo rematch montage (5:10 into clip)

Two rounds of mayhem pass, then the montage starts as the announcer calls the fight "World War III." Pretty epic. Highlights: Rocky spearing Creed, Creed rubbing Rocky’s head to taunt him, NEITHER FIGHTER BLOCKING A SINGLE PUNCH, slo-mo shots of Rocky’s face getting pummelled, Adrian telling Rocky to "Hit him back!"

The fight is intense and full of hatred, but not particularly inspiring.

10. Rocky Balboa (2006) - Building some hurtin’ bombs

Largely as a tribute to the first film, Rock pairs with Apollo’s old trainer, Duke Evers, one last time. Duke reminds Rock he’s old, slow and brittle. The solution? Build some "hurtin’ bombs." While Mason "The Line" Dixon dances around like a fairy in his multimillion dollar training complex, Rock goes old school, pumping iron, eating raw eggs, sparring with large pieces of frozen meat, jogging up large flights of steps in Converse hightops with no arch support and smashing kegs while Paulie drunkenly shouts "Getting stronger!" in the background.

9. Rocky III (1982) - Rocky and Clubber train… in Spanish?

We could only find a bootlegged clip of this gem. Bootlegged in ’82? Camcorders existed then? Apparently they did in Mexico. Note (a) the Spanish subtitles and (b) how the movie is just as good if you don’t understand English.

Nice contrast between Rocky’s hotshot training in front of fans and Mr. T’s intense solo training in a dark room. The saxophones are a bit of a nightmare, though.

8. Rocky Balboa (2006) - Rock’s final stand (3:00 into clip)

The Italian Stallion digs deep. Rock calls on fallen friends for inspiration, thinking of Adrian and Mick while trading major-league blows with a much younger and faster Dixon. The montage loses points thanks to a lack of Apollo among Rock’s thoughts, though it does a nice job portraying Rocky’s underdog status.

7. Rocky IV (1985) - Rocky battles Russian terrain, inner demons

An intense but contemplative Rocky trains alone in Russia. Is he preparing to fight Drago or his own inner demons? We don’t blame you for Apollo’s death, Rock -- neither should you. Either way, he isn’t happy; that stinkin’ commie better like the taste of leather.

6. Rocky IV (1985) - Rocky avenges Apollo’s death

After Drago is busted open in the first round we realize he isn’t a machine after all, but merely a man. Rocky, on the other hand, is another story. "He’s not human…" glowers the big Ruskie. "He is like a piece of iron."

Five minutes of pure chaos ensues as the two sluggers pound the piss out of each other. With Adrian and smug Russian government officials looking on, the Moscow crowd turns on Drago, which on a 10-point scale of improbability is roughly a 74. The net result? The end of the Cold War. Another day’s work for Rocky Balboa.

5. Rocky III (1982) – Intro montage

Rocky III signals the end of the "serious" Rocky movies when it starts with a montage. This one is absolute sensory overload: Rocky destroying guys with haymakers, juxtaposed with clips of suddenly decked-out Paulie drinking and Rocky on magazine covers, all while Clubber Lang, a.k.a. Mr. T., watches angrily in the background? Heaven.

Oh, wait, that was just the first minute and a half. We also witness Mr. T. absolutely eating various anonymous boxers’ souls while Rocky sells out with boatloads of ads and telethons. And we see Rocky opening Christmas presents while sitting on a motorcycle in his house. And Rocky and Adrian rolling around in a field, making out. Dear Lord. Did we mention all this Rocky goodness is cued to "Eye of the Tiger"?

4. Rocky IV (1985) - Rocky calls out Drago from a friggin’ mountaintop

With Adrian’s arrival, Rocky is reassured he’s doing the right thing and his true training begins. He and his nemesis are juxtaposed as Drago trains by using more freaky toys than a Russian fetish porn. Philadelphia’s Son, meanwhile, sticks to splitting wood and good old fashioned American heart. And calling out Drago from a mountain top? One order of goosebumps, please.

3. Rocky III (1982) – Rocky and Apollo’s homoerotic adventure

Where do we begin with this one? Between Rocky and Apollo’s sweaty foot-shuffle exercise -- during which they pretty much grind -- the close-ups of their bulges and thighs as they run, and the immortal beach frolicking scene, we have arguably the gayest three minutes of heterosexual film ever created.

If the homoeroticism isn’t enough, you can love this sequence because it’s cool that Creed helps Rocky think outside the box and develop speed to beat Clubber Lang.

2. Rocky (1976) – Rocky vs. Apollo (3:10 into clip)

Rocky gets the shit beaten of him for 10 rounds before Creed drops him in Round 14. Bill Conti’s violin tugs at your heartstrings as Adrian watches Rocky struggle to get up. The "You have got to be fucking kidding me" look on Creed’s face when Balboa rises is one of the most memorable moments in sports flick history. You’ll be ready to ejaculate from pure inspiration as Rocky hammers Creed’s ribs to close out the round while the rousing "bum-bum-bum-bum" of drums plays in the background. Wicked.

1. Rocky (1976) – How it all began

The one that started it all. Where would movie montages be without it? It’s simple but brilliant. Punchin’ meat, takin’ shots to the gut – a manly man doing manly things. And don’t tell us you don’t tear up when he finally reaches the top of those steps.

1 comment:

Mark P said...

Mason Dixon dances like a ferry? Really? Like Danny Ferry, or was he merely imitating a large boat that carries cars across bodies of water?

Aside from that, great list.