‘Creed’ delivers: Michael B. Jordan, Stallone, make great team

Creed

Rocky Balboa is back — as a supporting character in a boxing film. While that may sound strange to long-time Italian Stallion fans, they should rest easy: Ryan Coogler’s Creed is a welcome addition to the Rocky universe.

Creed Balboa

For movie fans who have been living under a rock, Michael B. Jordan stars as the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, Adonis Johnson. The young man never met his father, who died in the ring during Rocky IV at the hands of Ivan Drago. Johnson’s mother also died when he was a boy, but Mary Anne Creed (played by Phylicia Rashad) took him in as her own.

It isn’t surprising to see what kind of themes are explored as Johnson attempts to define himself as a man while working his way out of his father’s shadow (e.g., abandonment, coping with death, letting go of the past, the importance of family). What is surprising is just how well Coogler pulls it all off — not for any lack of talent on his part, but because he is trying to succeed while tinkering with the “Rocky” brand. 

Rocky Apollo

Perhaps the easiest way to explain the movie’s worth to the franchise is to rank it in terms of the other films.

A convincing case can be made that Creed is the second-best movie featuring Balboa, if Oscar-contention is used as part of the litmus test. Coogler has given fans a drama. He has given them a tale of two men who slowly realize that if we become a prisoner to the past then we risk losing any number of potentially-beautiful futures.

Rocky Creed

Creed is not a movie for people who want to see larger than life characters like “Clubber Lang” or popcorn-movie gold like Rocky IV. It’s an tale that respects the source material, particularly 1976’s Rocky, but at the same time is very much its own film.

And for those who want to know how Johnson’s love interest, Bianca (played by Tessa Thompson), matches up with Adrian (Talia Shire), the answer is the same: Rest easy. Bianca is a welcome addition the the “Rocky” universe.

In short, everything in Creed feels natural. Nothing seems awkward or forced, which is good because the accomplishment has paved the way for a sequel if the creative team wants it.

The only way Coogler could have done a better job is if he invented a time machine and stopped Rocky V from ever happening, or Michael B. Jordan from signing on for Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four.

Conservatives, Rocky Balboa, and Spider-Man: Lessons to Remember.

Now that the Health Care bill has passed and all those nasty little details Americans would have liked to know about beforehand are turning up, conservatives have a large task ahead of them. Some of them have been mumbling to us, and some of them, like Paul Ryan, have been downright inspirational. However, I’m a little concerned about the mumblers,

Listen to Spidey: “Anyone can win a fight when the odds are easy! It’s when the going gets tough–when there seems to be no chance–that’s when it counts!”

and the affect they’ll have on people who are primed for action if someone would just speak clearly. And, since I suppose the mumblers are only going to grow in numbers over the coming months, I think the answer is to dismiss them outright and concentrate on the following: Comic Books!

People make fun of comic books all the time, but there are a lot of life lessons one can glean from them if they look in the right place. Take Amazing Spider-Man #33, for instance. For those of you who are not nerds, I’ll break it down quickly and easily for you:

  • Spider-Man is trapped under tons of metal and his Aunt’s life depends on success in freeing himself from the rubble and getting medicine to her that is just out of reach. Period.

Faced with seemingly impossible odds, it’s always easy to give up and just live with the consequences (or perhaps die with the consequences…) How many times during your life have you felt the weight of the world on your shoulders and wanted to just throw your hands in the air and call it quits? How easy is it to just walk away? Years ago I was listening to Rush Limbaugh talk about bookstores and the rows of self-help sections on how to become a more positive person—and the complete and utter absence of books on how to tone it down and become more pessimistic. That’s because nothing is easier than looking at a problem and coming to the conclusion that the odds are too long. It’s hard to look deep down inside yourself, find that mettle that you never knew you had, and charge forward with the grit and determination needed to make it through life’s long slogs.

If conservative leaders aren’t leading—forget them. Find new leaders, become one yourself, or encourage the grassroots to take matters into their own hands. The time for finger-pointing and in-fighting is over. Take off those mind-forged manacles and realize that you and your friends and family have much more power than you realize if you just have faith, patience, persistence, and a positive attitude.

Now get there and win this thing… cause Mickey loves ya!

“If you ever get hurt and you feel like you’re going down, a little angel is going to whisper in your ear, ‘Get up you sonofab*tch!—Cause Doug loves ya!'”

Going “Clubber Lang” on Christopher Buckley, Meghan McCain

Christopher Buckley needs to stop this Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed bout with Megan McCain for liberal cocktail party circuit, pet conservative, undisputed champion of the world.

Buckley plays the quick and nimble Apollo, albeit a bizzaro Apollo without the charisma or goodwill (you know it would be cool to see Buckley thrown into the ring with Ivan Drago, provided someone threw in the towel a few seconds earlier…)

Meghan plays uncoordinated upstart without much of an education but a heart of gold, albeit without the hard-knocks upbringing or Balboa work ethic (somehow I don’t see her going to Russia to train anytime soon).

Either way, here’s the million dollar question: Why do these two seem to exist primarily to air the conservative movement’s disagreements and dirty laundry? The liberals who love them on camera and in print loath them in reality. Hacks like Arianna Huffington need all the help they can get, which is why they jump at the opportunity to leverage Meghan’s insecurities manifested in weird claims about Twitter followers or Buckley’s desire to keep attending parties where people say “Harvard” while thinking Haaaarvard.

Sure, Meghan’s intellectual circles include Whoopie “It wasn’t rape-rape” Goldberg, while Buckley’s includes men and women of NRO prerequisite educations, but their blathering is equally deleterious to the conservative movement.

If Buckley had an issue with leading conservatives and his cousin, Brent Bozell, signing The Mount Vernon Statement, he has the resources to take issue with them privately. If Meghan McCain is concerned about the future of conservatism, there are plenty of venues available to her to have discussions with tomorrow’s leaders today.

If they want to continue currying favor with liberal media clowns and “intellectuals” that’s their prerogative, but bloggers have every right to rhetorically go Clubber Lang on them.

Does this post scare Arianna? I hope not. I’m really one big cuddly Thunderlips.