I watched Rocky for the first time in my entire life the other day. Apparently , it’s a staple movie that everyone must watch at least once. I was unimpressed. And once again, I found myself comparing the movie to a book.
About ten minutes in, I realized that if I were reading this instead of watching, I would have stopped. There was no immediate hook. I suffered through a forever long bad fight scene. I get it, you’re trying to show me how terribly he fought before showing me that he’s good. But why did that opening fight last twenty minutes? Oh, it was only five. Well, it felt like twenty. Then we spend an hour and a half wandering around Rocky’s uninspired life. Then we finally get something in the last thirty minutes with the big title fight.
This is a perfect example of starting in the wrong place. The offer of fighting what’s his name came in the last thirty minutes of the movie, but that was the turning point for Rocky. Up until then, he does nothing with his life. But that offer made him realize that he can be something more, so he starts training. Why would I want to watch an hour and a half of him aimlessly roaming the streets of Philadelphia. Yes, in that time he gets fired and finds a girlfriend, but none of that was exactly compelling. If it didn’t inpire the character to change, why would it inspire me? But the offer, now that changed everything. He started training seriously, reconciled things with Mickey, and let Adrain move in with him. That’s the part I’m interested in.
Most of you are probably wondering at this point why I even finished the movie. Well, aside from being a masochist, I turned it on just before sitting down to scrapbook. So I was sitting on the floor surrounded by piles of memorabilia and the remote was on the other side of the room.
Anyway, I think most writers have figured out that the beginning of the book has to be the strongest part. When a reader walks the aisles of the bookstore and they happen to pick up one. They need to be pulled in so strongly that they’re unable to put the book back down and must go straight to the register to buy it. If the reaction isn’t that powerful, odds are they’re still roaming the aisles looking. Maybe they’ll even carry the book around for awhile debating about whether or not to buy it. But if they’re debating, they could still put the book back.
Okay, now I’m just rambling. Seriously, they made six of these. I understand, they were made in the 70s, but I’ve seen plenty of old movies that were far more remarkable. Why is this one so popular?