When a book would have been better than the movie

On the basis of nostalgia and recommendations, I finally got around to watching the movie ‘Creed’. Nostalgia for me in this case has two roots – one being my childhood in the Philadelphia area, and the other being the time I saw the original Rocky movie when it first opened – dubbed into Spanish in a movie theatre in Quito, Ecuador.

I liked the original Rocky – who didn’t? – and managed to avoid seeing any of the sequels, until now. I thought the movie began with great promise. The background of the main character had a lot of potential – black kid orphaned as a kid, raised in poverty in foster homes and juvenile detention centers, a kid with fighting in his blood as well as his environment, rescued from this obscurity by the wealthy widow of a former heavyweight world champion. He is subsequently raised in opulence in Los Angeles, but still has the fighting in his blood thing, only now that he knows he is the son of a legend, the blood thing has become literal and concrete.

Here is some psychological complexity that could be delved into. He doesn’t really lose his “inner ruffian” but at the same time, he sort of does. Everyone knows he’s rich and just slumming. He has no real credibility, other than this chip on his shoulder that is out of place in his new world of financial independence and white-collar career. He should be having some internal struggles, which the movie attempts to portray at times, but this should also be externalized. He should be continually challenged. Every time he puts on his mean face there should be people scoffing at him, mocking him, saying “go on back to your palace, fool”. The movie shows this only one time, at a nightclub when a performer calls him “baby creed” in a tone of affection, which he takes the wrong way and lashes out inappropriately, but this should have been all over the movie, and would have been all over the book.

Instead, the movie wastes a huge chunk of time on a boring romance with a manic pixie dram girl whose main attribute is to look a lot like Rihanna. Every time she’s on screen you’re thinking, man, if she only had green eyes, she would look more like Rihanna. She’s a singer going deaf so she’s helping that along by playing music super loudly and hanging out in nightclubs, and aside from that, she is nothing, really. She has no history, no friends, no other interests besides being beside her man when he needs her the most.

The main thing about the movie is that Sylvester Stallone is actually good in it. He’s too good, in fact. Whenever he shuffles off screen the quality level of the script drops way off. It’s not really interested in the Creed kid. It wants him to “win” and by win I mean winning the Marco Rubio way, by coming in second, but attaboy, maybe next time. Ya showed heart, kid, and that’s what really matters. You dug deep down and it turned out the boxing thing really is genetic, and everyone is assigned a role at birth whether they know it or not, and it is what it is and you can either dig deep and express your genes, even if the sole expression of your genes is simply to look a lot like Rihanna, or you can be a loser like everybody really is.

The kid doesn’t miss out on his fate. Destiny won’t be denied. Is there any doubt that in Creed 2 he will become the champion of the world? And then the other genes of his forefathers will come into play. You know, the demon ones! Women! Rum! Poker! Getting fat and lazy! Some other octogenarian will have to whip his ass into shape, but whipped into shape that ass will surely be, just in time to spring up off the canvas and deal a mortal blow to the opponent who has no genetic royalty, is just another working class tattooed scumbag whose blood is ultimately worthless.

Cheesesteaks. Yes.

North Philly Shithole. Yes.

“You can’t get to heaven on the Frankfurt El ’cause the Frankfurt El goes straight to Frankfurt”


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