‘Films that changed my life’ is a segment talking about the movies that influence us the most. Screenqueens accepts submissions for this segment, email firstname.lastname@example.org to pitch your idea!
I don’t remember the first time I watched Rocky. I’ve watched it so many times since it’s become a bit of a blur. My level of enthusiasm has remained at the level of fanatic adoration usually associated with One Direction fans, so it’s difficult to distinguish between the first and the 20 other times I have watched it. All I can say is like anybody who watches Rocky, I listened to the soundtrack on repeat day in and day out, the gradual build up throughout the movie with different variations of the song ( I’m not a musical expert…or novice… so I’ll just say they got louder) were like a metaphor for my life and progress, to quote The Fault in Our Stars “slowly and then all at once”.
From the opening scene you can tell it’s going to be good. Rocky in his leather jacket and hat, bouncing the ball down the sidewalk late at night and Sylvester Stallone’s name just fades in the bottom left hand corner. It’s that kinda thing that makes the difference between a good and a great film. The film shows all sides of life that are usually ignored. Adrienne isn’t your typically pretty ‘reward’ for the male character, she’s shy, and as she says “it doesn’t bother me either”. She shouts and screams at Paulie, she likes ice skating but she isn’t amazing, it shows you all the in-between stages that you don’t usually get to see. I think films often make you forget about people, like … real people. The film shows you a more diverse cast than a lot of movies today age, race, gender. Although the film barely passes the Bechdel test, Adrienne is given a story and emotions and the revelation that her thoughts and voice are important is quite a pivotal part to the movie.
I have been told on several occasions that I compare life to movies too much, and I am all to aware of wishing I could just cut to the scenes were I get my A*’s at the end of the year, some clips of me running faster – perhaps throw in some martial arts training and dance, me at the premiere for my first movie, me signing my first book, me sipping champagne at the Oscars with Beyonce, Edward Norton and Natalie Portman. But that isn’t how life works as Rocky aka my personal life coach taught me.
If you’ve seen the film you might remember that when he begins training he wakes up at 4am …. 4 in the morning. He proceeds to drink a glass of raw eggs and go for a run in the pitch black before the rest of the city wakes up. Most people’s idea of hell. But at the age of about 12 this had a big impact on me. Rocky probably didn’t want to get up at that time either; the process probably wasn’t that enjoyable for him. I think I was lucky watching this film at quite a young age because my exposure to gender role bias was limited, so I never came away thinking that was only something boys can do, or that girls couldn’t be that dedicated to something – especially as Adrienne plays quite a house-wife style character. I didn’t really make the link between that and the fact she was a girl. This is also when I stopped accepting my excuses for why I couldn’t do something or why I wasn’t as good at something as some-one else. If you want to do something, do it, no matter how difficult it is or how little time or money you have. Sometimes this hasn’t worked out great for me, especially as a teenager it turns out you need to sleep, but overall my effort is probably my biggest selling point.
I remember reading an article that said watching a film you’ve already seen is more relaxing than watching one you haven’t because you know what to expect. That’s true for Rocky except I could probably remake the film and play all the characters. There are six movies ( due to be a seventh) and I love them all but I seriously recommend the first two, they’ll provide you with all the motivation you need to keep doing what you need and want to do.
Words by Robyn Guthrie
Illustrations by Claudia Etherington
Robyn is a 17 and 3/4 year old, sleep deprived, caffeine loving, work-a-holic whose favourite movies include Rocky, Fight Club, Leon the Professional, The Moulin Rouge and Submarine. If she could eat one food for the rest of her life it would probably be white chocolate and raspberry cookies. She blogs over at The Frappe Life or you can follow her on tumblr or twitter @RobynSGuthrie.