Happy Festivus. That, ofcourse, is the festival for the restofus.
The holiday meant it was time for a "heartwarming" movie, and feel-good times. What better way to celebrate than by cheering Rocky Balboa through one last fight? The first Rocky is an all time favorite of mine. Sure, some people dismiss it as a boxing movie, but though it had a fight as the backdrop, it was all about Rocky's character. You couldn't help liking the Italian-American who lived a rough life, but was basically a good, decent human bullheadedly taking on anything that life decided to throw at him. When Rocky runs across the steps of the Philadelphia Art museum (with that fantastic soundrack behind you), you cheer, and when he steps in to the ring for that fight, you know he's going to win in the end, but you gasp and hold your breath as he falls repeatedly, and keeps on getting up.
Somehow, the sequels lost the plot. Rocky 2 through 5 were terrible, even if they made plenty of money. And when Stallone announced Rocky Balboa, for one last hurrah, I like many others sniggered. The dinosaur was coming back.
But Stallone seems to have proven me and a lot of others wrong in this movie. Sure, there's plenty of cliche moments. You're not sure why he's moping in a restaurant named after his now dead wife (Adrian), and his difficult relationship with is son is a little less than convincing. But this movie rediscovers what Rocky is all about. It's about cheering on a man who will not take defeat, and every time life knocks him down, gets up and slugs it out. Battered, but not broken inside.
Stallone may be some 65 years old, but he still looks in better shape than I'll ever be. And when his film career is long over, he'll be remembered with just two movies. Rocky, and Rambo. But Rocky will remain his best, just because of who Rocky was. And Rocky Balboa is the best sendoff the Rocky story could receive.
And if it isn't the perfect holiday movie, I don't know what is.