Beatriz at Dinner (2017)

Beatriz at Dinner has a point, if you know what it is, want to leave me your opinion in the comments? The performances are really good, because everything begins and ends with Salma Hayek and Jon Lithgow. These two seem like bitter enemies yet connect so much you’d think they were bitter ex-lovers. Lithgow is as cocky as you can imagine and Hayek is so quiet and reserved. Put these two in the same room and watch the sparks fly. I’m sure there is a humanitarian aspect of the film that is really the heart and soul of it, but Hayek going off on one guy isn’t gonna change the world. The most frustrating thing besides the actual ending and the pretend ending is the fact we never get to find out how they know each other. We were excited to check this film because of the potential, yet we may be the only two people who think of this as a complete bust.

The House (2017)

Will Farrell just doesn’t make good movies. There I said. Love him or hate him, every project he gets attached to has potential to be a hit or a bust. The House falls into the same silly, crazy, doesn’t make sense Farrell kind of story. As realistic as The House could be, no where in the world could you possibly get away with it. Screaming, ruthless aggression, and racist jokes will not be able to turn this lackluster comedy into a blockbuster. The main reason I can’t get behind this film is the town is so small, wouldn’t people eventually run out of money to gamble?? Trying to imitate Casino and any other gambling movies made is a little bit ridiculous, given the statue of most of those movies. The House could be called a spoof of reality, or just another stupid comedy. Either way, it wasn’t worth the price of my free admission ticket.

Rocky Balboa (2006)

Sometimes people make movies to cash in on the money, it is really that simple. Rocky had been “retired” for almost twenty years, but thanks to modern technology was dragged out to the ring one more time. We didn’t need another Rocky movie, but we got one, and even though our main character is in his sixties, he delivers one of his most passionate performances. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Rocky has and will always be about heart. Just when everyone gets down on him, he guts out another battle with someone younger than his own son. The old man can move and as unrealistic as this story can be, holds his ground to the best of ability. I feel this chapter was the end we all deserved many decades ago. A lot of people will probably remember Rocky’s talk with his son about life and true all his words are. At this point in movie history, Rocky should be done because has nothing left to prove, no one left to impress, and finally deserves to live out his retirement in a happy, peaceful place.

Rocky V (1990)

Rocky V ended a franchise, as well as the career of one of boxing’s greatest icons. This movie could be used a documentary for what it teaches us about the long-term effects of blows to the head, and how trusting the wrong people with investments can cost you everything. Also this story would be the perfect example of bad parenting. Rocky is forced to retire with no money, which causes way too many problems at home. Instead of dealing with these problems, he decides to use his expertise and train a money hungry new guy who just screws him over in the end. Rocky always finds himself in conflicts and this finale is no different. Most of the people I know actually dislike this movie because it is so different to all the previous films. Rocky doesn’t always have to win, he doesn’t always need to be loaded with cash, but he’s always had heart. Whether you think he actually still has one and that he puts it to good use, will be up to decide if you ever watch this film.

Rocky IV (1985)

Rocky IV is by far the most gripping and action packed film of the entire series, that takes us to the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. For the second straight movie an important character dies, thus forcing Rocky to reevaluate everything once again. The reason is this film is so bad ass is because Rocky trains like never before, in places you would never find a world champion training. Instead of making matches based on the world championship, these spirited bouts are about pride, patriotism, and revenge. The fire and passion burn bright in this movie thanks to some great writing, complimented by the franchise’s best soundtrack. At the tail end of a very intense Cold War, these film makers capitalized on the fears and emotions of people from the United States and the Soviet Union. As each country poured unlimited resources into everything they did to one up the other country, Rocky will go toe to toe with mighty Ivan Drago in attempt to turn the tide of the boxing world back to the red, white, and blue. This iconic poster for this movie tells you pretty much all you need to know about the raw emotion you will experience when you watch Rocky IV.

Rocky III (1982)

Rocky III is the first weakest entry into the boxing icon’s franchise. Despite amazing training and sparring sessions, the third film turns the boxers and their profession into a side-show gimmick. Wrestling was only beginning to get main stream attention at this point of the 1980s, so naturally the decade’s biggest star (Hulk Hogan) comes into the movie to set off a chain of events that makes Rocky look weak. His personal life may be at an all-time high, but after the death of his mentor, Rocky personal and professional life spiral out of control. The reason why this film gets such high marks from me is because the friendship of Rocky and Apollo Creed. The former champ has been there and done that, so these two put differences aside to train together in some of the best work out scenes of the series. Rocky will forever be linked with Gonna Fly Now and the epic Eye of the Tiger. Watching the franchises’ two biggest stars run together and train together with the determination of a tiger, finally gives Rocky the tools he needs to be successful in one of most important redemption matches of his career.

Rocky II (1979)

Rocky would have always been a hero with or without a sequel or franchise. His journey to the championship bout and his one shot at glory was always gonna memorable and inspiring. We would have all been fine if he never got another shot at redemption, but here we are with Rocky II. The best part of this story is not Rocky’s struggles with fame and family, it is Apollo Creed’s burning passion to destroy everything Rocky was and stood for. If you’ve seen the first film/fight, you already understand who Rocky was as a person and as a boxer. To be the perfect antagonist, Creed had to hit below the belt and go to the extremes to be the bad guy. Sports are “never personal” but always end up stirring up emotions to become very personal. Emotions are a huge part of who Rocky is and what he does. When he stands bruised and battered and yells “Yo, Adrian, I did it”, there shouldn’t be a dry eye in the house. This was the defining moment not only for Rocky but for Stallone himself. His dream, this character that he poured his heart and soul into, turned out better than he could have ever imagined. These first two instalments are really moving, thanks in large part to a loveable character and his passion for life. This journey should inspire ordinary people to set goals and try to achieve impossible dreams. Some people would say Rocky was in the right place at the right time, but I would argue that Rocky was always there giving everything he had, while waiting to show the world what he was capable of.

Rocky (1976)

If I asked you what movie won Best Picture in 1976, you may have to think about it, and I almost guarantee that Rocky wouldn’t cross your mind. It won several Oscars that year and is considered the greatest boxing movie of all-time because Sylvester Stallone gave all the blood, sweat, and tears he had for the role. Stallone actually wrote this amazing story about an ordinary man chasing his dreams in the ring and with his future wife. Little did he know that he would bring to life an American icon. Today, people who don’t like boxing or sports in general are familiar with the song “Gonna Fly Now” and associate it with Rocky. I know when I hear that song it makes me wish I had the energy to run across the streets of Philadelphia and up the stairs of Independence Hall, where I could raise my arms in triumph. Personally I wish I had the drive, passion, and determination Rocky has. He took his one in a million shot and turned into one of the most emotional stories ever written. It is so rare that a movie, let alone a loveable loser, would have such an impact on society. People can mock Rocky all they want, but he is far from the rags to riches story we’ve all become accustomed to these days. No one believed in him. He didn’t even believe in himself. Yet when it came time, he used the limited resources he had and wore his heart on his sleeve in the ring. Stallone’s brilliant writing allows for Rocky to be a hero, the kind of guy who doesn’t need a belt or money, but winner of life. If anyone ever looks into the creation of Rocky, you’d be amazed to know that Stallone gave everything he had to make this movie possible. This guy was broke and completely flattened his knuckles by actually punching the raw meat in those fridge scenes. It’s these little things that Stallone brought to the film that made it just feel so authentic. If you have never seen Rocky, you should find sometime and enjoy a brilliant film that isn’t just about sweaty guys punching each other, but about an ordinary guy who did everything he could when given the shot of a lifetime.

The Book of Henry (2017)

At first glance The Book of Henry is about a boy, his illness, and his family. You would never imagine that there are so many different layers to the characters, that their personalities and actions can bring you to tears a few times over. I didn’t cry, but the girlfriend couldn’t stop since the subject material is heart breaking. These sorrows are brought to life by some pretty great performances from Jaeden Lieberher, Naomi Watts, and even Jacob Tremblay. The main reason I can’t give this film a higher rating is because I wanted the ending to go down a different path. We were presented with an option, an opportunity to make everything right, but instead we were taken down the easy path (which was probably was the right call). Watts’ character transformation is probably the biggest thing that happened in the movie, because if it wasn’t for her son Henry who knows how life could have turned out for everyone. Films of this nature often get a limited release. Given how good it was, kinda sad to know many people are missing out on one boys determination to leave the world a better place after he is gone. 

Baby Driver (2017)

Baby Driver is exactly like every heist movie ever made, with the exception of the getaway driver. Ansel Elgort is brilliant here, but I just never got deeply invested in his character, his problems, or skills. I felt more connected to Kevin Spacey’s character because he is flat-out as ruthless as they come, and he just plays those particular parts so naturally. The rest of the cast including Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx, and Eiza González are great as thugs, even though they bring tons of baggage and problems which over complicate the plot. If you go into the film expecting it to be non-stop crazy driving stunts, you’ll be disappointed since there are only a handful of those stunts and not a whole lot about cars. (Remember, this isn’t the Fast and Furious.) I get the whole point of the movie is a good guy stuck in a bad situation, who would do anything to get out of it, but to hype up this movie as not stop action flick is a tad bit misleading. These days movies are pumping up out amazing soundtracks to get people invested in the story. There are some great songs and some unusual ones to supplement the action, it will be up to you to decide whether it works or not.