Movies: Rocky Balboa
I'm an unabashed "Rocky" fan. Many decry the movie, complaining that it beat "Network" and "Taxi Driver" for the Oscar for Best Picture. I disagree - I like all three movies, but of the three, only "Rocky" continues to inspire audiences, and only "Rocky" has submerged itself into the popular consciousness.
I approached the final sequel, "Rocky Balboa," with the trepidation of a diehard fan. While Rocky II, III, and IV were uneven but mostly entertaining, Rocky V had a mediocre story and atrocious acting. Sly is now 60 years old, as well - not the formula for a winning film.
I'm glad to say the latest "Rocky" is good, and a fitting end to the series. There's a healthy amount of nostalgia, but Stallone, who writes and directs, manages to build up the characters enough to maintain the movie's momentum going into the final fight.
The fight itself is a bit of a disappointment, if only because Sly cheats here (you'll see what I mean - let's just say Balboa is aided in the fight by a peculiar circumstance), but ultimately, the film feels more honest and realistic than pretty much any of the Rocky movies since the original.