When was the last time you watched Rocky 4? I mean, Rocky IV? The one with the Russian? I watched it last night while ironing my husband's dress shirts like the dutiful housewife that I am, and the minute it came on, memories came rushing back to me so fast, I almost felt like I was back in 1985. I was in the 7th grade. We were still in the Cold War with Russia and were forced to endure lectures and outdated videos on nuclear war on a semi-regular basis in those days. I remember honestly thinking that the evil Russians could bomb us at any time. I hated Russia, even though I had no idea where it was. And when Rocky IV came out, and Ivan Drago defeated and KILLED Apollo Creed, all that hate was completely justified.
I remember talking about the movie with my friends at school and being so pumped that Rocky had defeated Drago. He was totally cheating anyway by taking all those steroids. He was a horrible, horrible man. If it wasn't bad enough that he was Russian, for crying out loud, let's just think about the fact that he took Apollo's life. Nevermind that Rocky once fought Apollo and we all hated Apollo then, too. When Apollo and Rocky ran together on that beach in Rocky III and Apollo told Rocky to get the "Eye of the Tiger," you were behind Apollo all the way. I remember being absolutely shocked and devastated when Apollo died. And then again, when Rocky wanted to fight Drago, thinking "What is Rocky thinking?" when he signed up, without Adrian's permission, to fight in Russia on Christmas Day. It was almost too much.
And I defy you to watch the training sequence in any of the Rocky movies without feeling like you need to either sign up for a marathon or at least put down the Twinkies. It's such a rush. And especially in Rocky IV. He's so stinking tough, with his beard and wearing a coat and jeans. Rocky trained in the snow. With logs and his friends in a wagon instead of weights. And running up mountains instead of having some dude increase the incline on your treadmill. You can't beat that.
Now, as an adult, I'm still inspired by Rocky's amazing courage and strength, but I was more touched by Adrian's eventual support of her husband. "No matter what, I'm with you." What an amazing woman.
It's a fabulous movie and I think everyone should go out and rent it right now. It's so inspiring...the song by Journey (or Foreigner, who can tell the difference?) that says "Does the crowd understand? Is it east versus west or man against man?" And at the end, during his victory speech, when Rocky says "We're just two guys killing each other, but I guess that's better than 2o million. And I guess what I'm saying is that if I can change and if yous can change, then we can all change."
That's just good cinema.
P.S. Please don't stop reading this blog because I did a post on Rocky IV. Forgive me, I know not what I do.