I didn’t want to like Sylvester Stallone’s new movie,
Rocky Balboa. I really didn’t. The last one,
especially, was a stinkeroo.
Apparently there were many more like me who didn’
t want to like it either. Since the flick became
public knowledge, it has become convenient
fodder for comedians and late-night talkshow
My guess is that few other media types who were
invited to screen the new movie wanted to like Sly’
s Rocky swan-song either. There were jokes about
the kind of gifts we would receive or the movie’s
product placement, but I will spare you.
I’ll also save you the build-up. Here’s the unburied lead: Rocky Balboa—get
ready to love it! (Read Suzie's Review)
After you read excerpts from the interview with Sylvester Stallone, you may
understand why I am enthusiastically recommending this movie, especially for
the awesome Seasoned Seniors™ who visit MyBestYears.com.
SUZIE: Let’s go ahead and get past the boxing clichés. Everyone at the screening
tonight says the same thing: “Rocky Balboa scores a knockout and goes the distance.”
That has to feel good for you after all the years of trying to get this motion picture
STALLONE: Absolutely! I’ll admit that it was a long shot. Even I was a cynic about the
idea of a fifty-plus boxer, so I can understand why people still roll their eyes and the
comedians take their shots. I think the response from people like those who screened it
tonight tells me that it worked. I’m very grateful.
SUZIE: Since this interview is for MyBestYears.com, I want to point out that you definitely
made a movie for people of all ages, including those over fifty.
STALLONE: I tried to make a movie the whole family could go to, from young people
through grandparents. It’s definitely PG.
WHY ANOTHER ROCKY?
SUZIE: You’ve talked about older people being moved on this conveyor belt, to get out
of the way. This seemed like a very personal attempt to let people over fifty know that
they can be more excited about life than ever before. Right?
STALLONE: Right! I wanted Rocky to show, to use his words, that he still has “some stuff
in the basement.” I’ve talked about it being a flame in his heart. Too often I think society
tells older people, “Sorry, old guy, you've had your up at bat and it's time to move on." I
think it time we say, "Well, maybe I should move on when I’m ready to move on."
SUZIE: Is this absolutely, positively the final Rocky?
STALLONE: Definitely. I used name Balboa, because I didn’t want a number attached
because that would imply there was another one.
SUZIE: Why another one after V?
STALLONE: The fifth one just wasn’t the one that I wanted people to remember the
series by. I felt badly the way the fifth one turned out. I was just off my game, off the
mark. Maybe it was my lifestyle at the time. I was thinking for myself, rather than for the
audience. Every career has peaks and valleys, and the fifth one wasn’t my best. I had a
lot of time to think about it over the past decade. When I started thinking about making
another Rocky, it was apparent what people thought—“It's over. The last one didn't
work. You’re too old.”
SUZIE: It’s the kind of thing many people over fifty get. Right?
STALLONE: Right. But this is a movie about being too old, yet being willing to take the
humiliation to try to remedy something. Frankly, even when I started talking about
making the movie, I felt there were a lot of people out there besides myself who wished
that they could go back to that crossroad in their life and change things.
SUZIE: What did the industry “suits” say?
STALLONE: No deal! Then six years into the project, MGM was sold and Harry Sloan
came in as the new CEO. I pitched it to him and he was willing to take a gamble on the
story. I’m truly indebted to both Harry and Joe Roth of Revolution who believed in me
and the story when no one else did.
SUZIE: The story is well known about the first Rocky, how you wouldn’t sell the project
unless you got to star in it (the studio wanted, among others, Robert Redford), even
though you were starving at the time and could have walked away with a nice payoff.
Looking back, it was definitely the right decision. The original story of Rocky "The Italian
Stallion" Balboa, who overcomes huge odds to better his life, became a bonafide box
office hit, earning over $117 million in the United States alone, which is more like $400
million in today’s dollars. It also won the Oscar for best film. And it definitely took you
from being a relative unknown to becoming a worldwide star.
STALLONE: You’ve done your homework.
A NEW HUNGER
SUZIE: I mention that to point out that it sounds like you had to rediscover some of that
hunger, that “eye of the tiger,” with the fifth one, too. You were simply too old, right?
STALLONE: Too old for this part, at least. But that has become part of the industry. It
wasn’t that long ago that both men and women had 25 or 50-year careers, people like
Humphrey Bogart, Bette Davis, Tyrone Power or Kirk Douglas. Now if you have a 10- or
15-year career, you’re doing great. It’s just a different world, but that’s another reason
why I felt this movie was important to be made.
SUZIE: But it’s certainly not just for people over fifty, and definitely not just a guy flick…
STALLONE: Absolutely. We are testing very high in the younger demographic. I think
people of all ages will be excited about how it turns out. I’m really hoping that the baby
boomers, my generation, come and support the film. If they do, it will be a great message
to the industry that there are 70 million of us out here!
SUZIE: Hopefully they’ll get that message and make more movies for people over 30.
STALLONE: Wouldn’t that be great?
SUZIE: And there’s even a love story!
STALLONE: Right. Mainly, it’s a movie about staying true to your dreams, even when
everyone lets you hear about all the reasons why you can’t do something.
SUZIE: I don’t want to give away the ending, but I understand that you shot it two very
STALLONE: Very different ways.
SUZIE: Why? And why did you decide on the ending that people will see in theaters?
STALLONE: Both will be on the DVD, but because of the budget, we had really one shot
at this. I didn’t want to have to go back and re-do it, so I shot just the opposite ending
than what I originally planned. So many times in films, you think you have it, then you go
into the editing room and realize that it simply doesn’t work like you thought it would. I
just felt like we needed to shoot it both ways, but I’m glad it turned out the way it did with
the original ending. I think you saw how people responded. I’m glad.
SUZIE: You’ve had some memorable opponents in each movie, from Apollo Creed to
Mister T and Dolph Lundgren who played Captain Ivan Drago in Rocky IV. You did it
again with Antonio Tarver, Mason “The Line” Dixon.
STALLONE: Thanks. Yeah, Antonio
SUZIE: What a perfect name for a
SUZIE: Antonio definitely looked
sinister and seemed to have
extraordinary fighting ability.
STALLONE: He was really like an old school fighter, and I think it added a lot to the story.
SUZIE: Absolutely, and the battles with him truly pointed to the message about the battle
that people must face in themselves.
SLY’S NEW DIRECTION
SUZIE: Let’s talk about your faith. It’s apparent throughout the movie, but you also
caused waves in the industry by openly marketing the movie to people of faith. Is this
reflective of what’s going on inside of you?
STALLONE: I hit rock bottom after my second marriage, and I realized my career wasn’t
heading where I wanted. I realized that I needed Jesus in my life. I began worrying less
about what other people thought than what was coming from my heart that was placed
there by God.
SUZIE: There has always been a religious thread through your movies, but these seems
like a lot more.
STALLONE: Well, when you are young, you often think that the world spins around you.
You think you can do anything, can take the world on your shoulders. Life often changes
that, and after you’ve been knocked around and knocked down, and after you’ve seen
what being selfish does to you, I think there comes a time when you realize that you
need God in your life, God’s Word, and the spiritual guidance that only He can give. For
me, like others, that realization is just the beginning of the most important journey you
SUZIE: You seem so different than ever before—there’s a peace.
STALLONE: Once I stopped trying to always do everything my way, and once I asked for
God’s help, things have truly gone a different direction. My wife is such a part of this. My
children. It's still amazing to me what God has done.
GO SEE ROCKY BALBOA!
That “different direction” comes through loud and clear, not just in Sylvester
Stallone’s new movie, but in his life, as well.
His whole life has seemed like a million-to-one shot. Today, at 60, Sylvester
Stallone is in a class by himself. Unlike some of his showbiz contemporaries, he
doesn’t look plastic. Like Clint Eastwood, he has just enough weathering to
seem real. It doesn’t hurt that he has spent so much of his life staying in great
physical condition, and it is clear that he took the conditioning for the movie
every bit as serious as a boxer would tfor the shot of a lifetime.
If you are as old as I am and can remember how it felt to attend the first Rocky
movie back in 1976, you will recall how the audiences from Pomona to Philly
cheered at the end. You will also have a good idea what’s in store for you when
you see Rocky Balboa. Don’t be surprised if you become part of the movie’s
“legs,” as you drag other unbelievers to see it with you again.
It’s insightful, thrilling, funny, warm, nostalgic and inspiring! The beginning,
admittedly, is a tear-jerker, but the depth of relationships and meaning
throughout the motion picture is a testament to Stallone’s writing abilities.
Chalk up the depth, also, to his courage in sticking to his dream for a final
sequel through 16 years of ups-and-downs in his own career.
The fight scenes are fantastic. Round
one is a single, uncut take (a first for
fight flicks). The final round is the
most exciting boxing you will ever see,
real or celluloid.
Whether you have followed Sylvester
Stallone’s career or not, take my
clear-cut advice: Go see the movie!
Better yet, go see the movie today!
Don’t wait for it to come out on DVD,
though you will want to see it then, too! You've got see it on the big screen
with other people. That's half the fun of a Rocky movie, especially this one.
This is one feature film that every Seasoned Senior™ should enjoy at the
theater, especially if you want more movies made that are produced for people
over 20 (years and IQ!).
Best of all, get ready to be excited about life and to go the distance, no matter
your age or what people have told you that you can or can’t do. That is the true
message of Rocky Balboa!
positively the final Rocky.
Photos © 2006 Sony Pictures. All
rights reserved. Used by
|"Once I stopped trying
to always do
everything my way, and
once I asked for God’s
help, things have truly
gone a different
direction. My wife is
such a part of this. My
children. It's still
amazing to me what
God has done."