Rocky ★★

I mean ... I just ... THIS is the template-setting classic of the genre?

I get the appeal on paper, the nobody who goes the distance with the greatest champion in the world. And I enjoy the (realistic) touch that he doesn't win (spoilers!), he just hangs in there long enough to run down the clock. James Crabe's cinematography makes Philadelphia look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland, which is an interesting thematic touch, especially given all the talk about how patriotic the fight is, and the contrast with Apollo Creed's lifestyle. Oh, and Bill Conti that score works.

But the fight choreography is shit, Stallone isn't the least bit charming or engaging (and, tired jokes aside, he really is nigh unintelligible at times). Rocky the character really doesn't have much of an arc. His "date" with Adrian goes from "astonishingly awkward" to "rape o'clock" in sixty seconds flat. His best friend is even more pathetic and irritating than he is. The most interesting character is Burgess Meredith's, and all he does is yell a lot.

Flying high now, my ass.