Bebe Ballroom on Rocky (1976)
"No one ever told me how beautiful Sylvester Stallone was in 1976. Sunken-in eyes, almost able to make out the skull beneath the skin. Big, permanently wounded doll eyes, surprisingly smooth skin, face like a basset hound. How Adrien’s features complemented Rocky’s perfectly—fair skin, black hair, deflated cheeks—as if her skull were the female version of a pair, Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.
Like Inception’s dream within a dream within a dream, Rocky is an underdog within an underdog within an underdog. Rocky lives in a small rundown apartment, wins or loses fights for small change, and is mostly alone. When he warns a teenage girl about the consequences of hanging out with the “coconuts on the corner,” he does so with a seasoned tongue, like he’s been one of those coconuts. “They don’t remember you,” he tells her, “they remember the rest.” He’s southpaw without a trainer who’s been kicked out of his gym of ten years. In a time when calling someone a bum was an insult that carried significant weight, much of the film is people telling Rocky, directly to his face, that he’s a bum.”
This is an excerpt from the current August issue of Bright Wall/Dark Room magazine. To read the rest, purchase a copy of the issue for $2, or subscribe annually for $20.