Friday, September 28, 2012

Top Five Things I Love About The Rocky 4 Training Montage

I love Rocky movies.  All of them.  Well, with the exception of 5 and 6.  But aside from those, I love all of them.  The best part about Rocky movies?  The training montages. Easily.  High energy moments put to  perfect music in an effort to prime the audience for the respective films' climactic fights.  And it works everytime.  Do I ever cue one on YouTube when I either need a pick-me-up or a laugh?  You bet I do.  And my favorite montage?  No doubt the training montage in Rocky IV.

Rocky IV is hardly just another Rocky movie. It's one of the last, great vestiges of Cold War propaganda.  As we all know, Rocky IV kicks into high gear after the blonde Russian beanpole, Ivan Drago, murders Rocky's friend, Apollo, during an exhibition bout. Then, in front of a crowd of thousands, he says ...

If he dies...he dies. he's done it a thousand times before. Oh Ivan, you silly heartless, Commie prick.  (By the way, because of this film, I thought most Russians were blond and blue eyed.  Little did I know Dolph Lundgren was a Swede, as was his on-screen wife, Brigitte Nielsen.  I also figured all Russian's were robotic and up to no good.  Though I suppose that's what living in America during the Cold War was all about.)

Anyway, to avenge his friend's death, Rocky agrees to fight Drago for no money and, for some reason, eschews US training facilities that are available to, ya know, the heavyweight champion of the world, and decides to rough it in a barn somewhere in what must be Siberia.  Because, ya know, why not put yourself at a further disadvantage in the name of ... what exactly?  On a side note, wouldn't this fight have made for the absolute greatest HBO 24/7 of all time?  The contrast of Drago's high tech training, and Rocky's old world style, would have been much more interesting than watching Manny Pacquaio run up a hill somewhere outside Vegas.
Now, I haven't watched Rocky 4 in its entirety for some time, but I've certainly watched this...

six thousand times.   And it's beautiful. There's SO much I like about this.  Pretty much every frame.  But since I have to follow my own rules,  here's my Top 5 favorite things about THE ROCKY IV TRAINING MONTAGE.

5) Rocky Hits A Speedbag ... As Guy Milks A Cow (0:51 seconds)

Yeah.  I wish I had something more to say here, but "yeah" is the only thing that comes to mind.. I think the image speaks for itself.   

4) Rocky Outruns A Mercedes (2:49)

You know how you know you're ready for the fight of your life? When you can outrun a Mercedes driven by a couple of dudes in Russian Hats, cause them to hit a snowbank, and then be all..

..without losing your balance on the same icy road. Not to mention, it appears that Rock might be running in a pair of jeans, which seems like an odd choice of athletic gear in general, let alone while training in a Russian winter.  I can't remember the subplot that lead to this moment, or why he was being coveted at all, but I wish it just existed as a random event to prove that Rocky was ready to defend America's honor.   

3) Rocky Stumbles Up A Mountain And Shouts "Drago."

I've seen the movie 128 Hours.  You know the one about the hippie who goes hiking alone, only to cut his arm off using a dull knife after getting trapped in a crevasse.  Well, knowing that, Rocky stumbling along the top of a steep cliff in the name of cardio is one shit idea. Probably a bit unnecessary to cheat death when a simple jog would have done, but since his last run involved a car chase, I guess he had to up the ante. Though why Rocky would risk breaking a limb and dying from hypothermia when he had a fight only days later is unknown.  He's just that much of a badass.  Either way, I bet if Stallone remastered this print, and re-released the movie, he would CGI some hungry wolves chasing him, only for them to fall off the edge before shouting the signature "Drago!" 

And how much you willing to bet this was the moment where Sly concepted Cliffhanger?  That's probably why he's so inspired by the end.  It's a vast expanse of dollar signs. 

2) Rocky's Crazy Ab Workout Thing (1:15)

I'm kinda convinced Stallone created Rocky IV just to show off that he can do ...

...that.  Why do I think this?  Because this shot basically lasts for 16 seconds.  Yes, count that to yourself now, I'll wait.  Long time, right?  Oh wait, I lie, because the shot is actually intercut with the other reason I think Stallone assumes this is the most impressive thing in the world.

C'mon, Adrian's staring at him like she's a tiger and he's fresh meat.  Now, remember, Stallone directed this movie.  So he told her, "Yo Adrian, now what I'm doin' here, this is the most impressive thing you've ever seen.  Make a face that suggests that this is the most impressive thing you've ever seen. Or I'll find someone who can."  I can picture him shooting this moment about 600 times in an effort to capture the perfect expression. 

And finally...

1) The Drago Picture (2:28)

You know those old movies where a woman has a black and white photo of her soldier boyfriend that she keeps attached to her mirror?  And she'll look at it longingly, then at herself in the mirror with some sort of self reflection?  "Oh, how I miss him so?"  "What will I do without him?" "This is the man of my dreams, I wonder what he's thinking right now?" Well...what's on Rocky's mirror?

A black and white photo of the ever-cut, handsome Ivan Drago, of course. Which makes me wonder if this is a story about avenging a friend's death, or one about a jilted lover (he is handsome, after all).  But the best part is Stallone angrily ripping the picture off the frame only to reveal his own stern face in the mirror.


You can just picture Rocky explaining this in a 24/7 documentary:

"You know, I just put the picture up to remind me, ya know?  Who I'm fightin, what I'm fightin for, ya know?  But I got so angry lookin' at it, I had to rip it off so I could stare at my sweet beard."

And sweet it is. 


I want to blog again!  Now, I know what you're thinking...

Yeah, yeah.  thanks. But I missed writing something daily (that's beyond copy lines), and felt the blog muscle needed a little exercising. 

So when I was thinking about how I'd want to frame the blog, I could only come up with a singular idea

Yes. Lists. I love lists. 

I love everything about them.  I have little order in my life, so I make lists to create some.  Lists are tidy.  Lists are easy to read.  Lists are fun. 

But I especially love "Top 5" lists.  I love the aspect of building expectation.  Even if it's something as simple as the "top five reasons I love my coffee table (ooh there's an idea)," I'm immediately curious to see why each installment is greater than the last. 
So I want to dedicate this blog to "Top Fives."  From everything to relevant/current news, to things I've loved about my childhood.  Now, last year, I blogged within the framework of what a particular date meant to me.  But as time wore on, I realized I was just writing about what was on my mind, and the relevancy of the date was either arbitrary or non-existent.  But I'm gonna give it my best shot to write within top fives, and time permitting, I'd like to do it as often as possible.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the upcoming lists!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SO neglecting the blog!

There are a number of things that I'd like to write about, but when I sit down to actually do so, the subjects become overwhelming, and then I just punt it for some later date that I may or may not get to.  So, I figured I'd make a list of things I'd LIKE to write about, and hopefully will do in the near future.

1) I just entered a contest to be a Pambassador.

They advertised this as a chance to hug a Panda bear.  Sounds fun, I'm in.  A few years ago I considered taking a trip to China to do just that.  Well, that and clean up after it (ie shovel shit?).  Anyway, apparently you'd also have to become some sort of spokesman for Panda preservation, which I have little to no interest in doing.  Panda Bears actually have little interest in self survival and we continue to ensure it because it makes WWF a lot of money (probably partially true).  But they are adorable and are peaceful to look at, so I'm all for hugging one. 

2) I get to root for Peyton Manning.  How cool is that?

Very cool, Brett

That was a clinic on Sunday.  Yes, I loved watching Tim Tebow QB the Broncos, but the second we signed Peyton, fucked up neck and all, I was ecstatic for this season.  How awesome was it to see Pittsburgh try to disguise their blitzes only to have Peyton step back from the line like an annoyed parent waiting out a screaming child?  He's all...

Done yet? You're just wasting your time, and now I'm gonna miss that episode of Breaking Bad because you won't stop.

 Very awesome. 

3) Bavarian Countryside.

Why does no one ever talk about this place when discussing Euro vacations?  I really need to write more about this.

4) Meme Generators

I'm gonna have so much fun?

5) Worst pic of me of all time?

Uh yeah...

Talk about awful timing on that. 

5) New Book!

It has a beginning, a middle, and an end....and it's coming slowly but surely.  Hopefully it'll be done at some point before the year 2080.  And promises to be much diff from the last one. 

Anyway, hopefully more to come soon! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Another Edition Of Why We Can't Have Nice Things

I haven't blogged in a bit, as it's been a bit busy, but now that the American presidential race is heating up, there's so much bullshit to go around, it's hard to keep my mouth shut. 

Now, of course, it's political tradition to not step on the electorate's toes.  It's why every speech sounds like a canned version of bullshit that's filled with pandering and reminders that America is the "best nation in the world."  But then every so often you are treated to a special kind of bullshit.  A bullshit so shit that it's stink wafts from sea to shining sea.

Yes, we had to hold up the Democratic convention to vote whether or not we consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel.  All because Mitt Romney (who lets face it, is just an egotistical maniac who is running for office in order to fill a personal goal) needled the Democrats into doing so after the original Democratic platform had no mention of this, or of God at all.  My best guess is that both President Obama and Mitt Romney don't really care about this subject at all, but are pandering to the religious that may or may not.  They just put on their serious face, and speak to reporters in tones that suggest that this subject is as serious as unemployment, but we all know it's not, and just makes our government look like a room full of fools. Which they probably are.  In fact, it annoys me that Israel is ever a subject at all considering our government is not founded on Christian ideals, no matter how many times Michele Bachmann may suggest the opposite. 

The whole thing is one pile of "who the fuck gives a shit," and will have no bearings on the election results.  Can we please get back to something that resembles a real issue?