Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rock of Ages

Admittedly, I was packing while watching the last film in the Rocky series, so I don't know if the final Rocky movie was actually as bad as I thought it was...

The plot: Rocky returns! Again. Except this time, he can't come to terms with Adrian's death, his businessman son is embarrassed about him, and the online fight community claims he was never the best. To vindicate his record, prove his sport is still relevant, and join Indiana Jones in celebrating elderly sports-action heroes, Rocky fights a much, much younger boxer.

It did wrap up the series neatly, though. I was really only a fan of the first two Rocky films; after the second it all got a little ridiculous.

La Madre has an odd DVD collection, and I found Amazing Grace sandwiched between 3:10 to Yuma and The Pursuit of Happyness. (Strangely, La Madre's media collection gained numerous R-rated films only after Mi Hermana, the youngest sibling, left for college... there were virtually none when I was a teenager.)

At any rate, I thought Amazing Grace was going to be the Merchant Ivory version of the life of John Newton, the former slave ship captain and author of the well-known hymn. Plus, I vaguely remember watching sometthing similar on PBS as a child.

However, the film turned out to be the story of William Wilberforce, the abolitionist MP credited with outlawing the slave trade in Britain.

Unfortunately, the actor who played Wilberforce was also the guy who, many years ago, played Horatio Hornblower in a series which I was sliiiightly obsessed with in college. So in between packing sessions, I kept wondering

The film was the typical rushed period piece. I didn't know enough about Wilberforce, so I read his wikipedia entry while watching parts of the movie. Looks like they toyed with the timeline a bit, but other than that it was okay. I'd recommend it only for its educational inspiration, not its stellar acting or plot twists. (Because the abolition bill eventually passes in Parliament. Not to ruin the ending or anything...)

The one interesting story development, where I actually stopped packing watch, was the discussion on whether or not criticizing one's country was appropriate in a time of war. The irony struck me as timely (especially given today's anniversary, though I watched the film a week ago: my first job out of college, though horribly traumatic, relied on bashing the Bush Administration. Then 9/11 changed political advocacy forever. Gathering signatures for the public comment period on drilling in ANWR suddenly had to stop and be reframed, as did every other legislative or policy issue.

At any rate, the irony comes in the fact that I was packing to finish up a degree in public policy, in the city where I working seven years ago on 9/11 when that whole "patriotic" debate took on new meaning. It was just kind of interesting how Amazing Grace highlighted the same dilemma for a different time, a different issue, and a different set of political organizers.

The rest of the vacay was spent with family and friends. The neffy will be crawling by the time I'm home for the elections!

Lesson learned the hard way #1757 : Shoes are damn heavy!
Especially when you want to take, uh... many, many pairs back to Boston, but end up having to leave some in Seattle. (Side note: many, many pairs awaited in Beantown...) But since the airline luggage limit is now 50 lbs, shoes now rival books as the heaviest things I transport, and are thus the cause of much re-arranging and re-packing. Arrrgh.

Lesson learned the hard way #1758: There can be moments of bliss in old, unhealthy behavior patterns
Last-minute, unexpected relapses could also be indicative of, in the words The Champ, a subconscious but nonetheless determined attempt to be "as dramatic and tragic as possible." Ahem.

Lesson learned the hard way #1759: Your cat allergy is very, very serious
And apparently it's possible to either build up a tolerance to Benadryl, or for the FG's cat to somehow haunt the couch she sold to the The Champ several years ago. (The cover was washed the night I crashed on it, and the anaphylactic reaction I got after sitting on it for a few minutes didn't lessen even when I overdosed on OTC drugs and moved to another room, causing both The Champ and Ms. Tungsten to rearrange bedding options.) Whatever mystery caused the abnormally strong reaction, it warrants a doctor's visit before the end of the year.

Summer days drifted away, indeed....


The Common Man said...

The latest Rocky was not as terrible as it could have been. But it's not a good film. It brings back only a little of what made Rockys I-IV exciting (the training and the big fight, while rehashing and recreating the more troubling aspects of the other movies. Instead of Talia Shire as the wet blanket, his son takes over. And the subtle racial undertones of the series' first three films continues, with brash young African-Americans playing the heavies, their arrogance and their "uppitiness" their overshadowing their natural talent in the face of hard work and "heart."

Add to that the most ludicrous reason for a fight ever (a computer simulation that shows Balboa winning against the new champ pisses off that champ), and it's only worth watching if you're a diehard Rocky fan (which I guess I kind of am).

Anyway, old Rocky just didn't do it for me. On to the next film...Hey, Rambo is in a new movie!

Rainster said...

It wasn't as terrible as it could have been, but it seemed more like a really bad made-for-TV wrapup.

Kinda like "Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story" -- not based on the books at all, with the actors all about twenty years older but the storyline only about five. Why? Why????

Thank you for pointing out the racial undertones in the Rocky series. Damn, that totally went over my head...

fabulous girl said...

Sebastian is somewhere in BC feeling very sorry for you.