Welcome to the Weekly Movie Thread, your place on the Avocado to discuss films with your fellow commenters. Want to make a recommendation? Looking for recommendations? Want to share your opinions of movies, both new and classic?
This week sees the release of Michael B. Jordan’s directorial debut, Creed III. It is the latest film in the longest running Rocky franchise. The film sorta represents a break from the franchise that birthed it. gone is Sylvester Stallone. The opponent is someone from Donny’s past, not a callback from a previous Rocky film. This is Adonis Creed’s story.
Boxing remains a popular subject in film. They go back as early as 1901, when Thomas Edison’s company filmed a couple of lady pugilists. Beyond this curiosity, boxing would surface in the Golden Age of Cinema. Michael Curtiz would direct Kid Galahad. Wallace Beery would play a has-been in The Champ. Errol Flynn would take his turn as Gentleman Jim. Alfred Hitchcock himself would take his turn in 1927’s The Ring.
Oftentimes, it’s better there than in the actual sport. The rhythms in the ring can be molded to a miniature plot. You can see how the time slows down from the perspective of one of the boxers. You can have your expectations deflated with one lucky shot.
And then there’s the backstage drama. How do you even know if someone isn’t throwing the fight? Isn’t the moral victory of a fair fight between opponents far better than some monetary game? At least… I haven’t seen a movie where the protagonist takes the bribe money and it’s seen as a good thing. You know he is the good guy when hr rejects the money and lets the fight play out fairly.
Since the 1970’s, though, the path of boxing films has gone through one Rocky Balboa, which goes to show you how impactful that film was. For almost 50 years, it is the shadow that boxing films cannot fully escape from. Sure, Cinderella Man was up for three Academy Awards. But what is that film but Rocky set in pre-War days?
Today’s bonus prompt: what is your favorite boxing film?
Bonus bonus prompt: what is your favorite film in the Rocky franchise?