Rocky Cuts A Deal With AARP
Wednesday - October 26, 2005
Unable to get financing for Rhinestone 2, Stop or My Mom Will Shoot, Again or Another Party at Kitty and Stud’s, Sylvester Stallone has decided to mimic Cortez and search for the fountain of youth. Or at least the drinking fountain of middle age. Sly, 59, is bringing Rocky back one more time to drag his theme music, workout-highlighted body into the ring against another 5-foot 4-inch opponent with a ridiculous nickname. This time, it’s Mason “The Line” Dixon.
Once at the height of fame, rich beyond his wildest dreams, Rocky was cheated out of millions yet somehow never got upset about it. He ended up in the same old gritty neighborhood he grew up in and is now reduced to wondering where his life has gone and where it will go from here. His beloved Adrian has died. His son, Rocky Jr., has pulled a sequel disappearing act and just no longer exists. But fortunately for Rocky, he always has Paulie. The only man to go from self-destructive drunk to qualified fight trainer to a live-in unemployed drain on society.
Together they walk the dirty streets of Philadelphia in search of meaning and a 2 p.m. early bird special. Not finding the same accomplishment feeding pigeons as he did by warming the hearts of the icy Soviet Politburo with his famed, “If I can change and you can change, then we can all change” post-Drago speech, he decides to take some low key fights in the area to make some money and to give himself something to do.
When an invitation comes along for the former champ and current AARP member to fight the title holder, he figures it’s time to get busy.
Back into training he goes. Fueled by six raw prunes and some dry toast, city landmarks fly by to the tunes of the Andrew Sisters and Tommy Dorsey. Creammy Custard, Tape Mart and Benny’s World of Orthopedic Shoes provide the inspirational backdrop as he begins his early morning training at the Main Street Mall. Punctuating his workout with a lap around the coffee kiosk and up the long number of stairs, seven to be exact, he raises his hands in triumph in front of the Senior Performing Arts Center. A crowd gathers. Then security. Rocky’s off his meds again.
Fight day arrives. Rocky hasn’t felt this good since he passed a stone three months ago. That was around the same time Paulie’s niece got married to that nice Jewish boy from Chester. His family lived just down the street from Sarah’s boy Ryan just before he went into the Army. He’s a dentist now. Though he drinks a bit.
Hopping into his ‘74 Valiant, Rocky has to hurry. The 20-minute drive to the arena is 45 minutes away and he still has to get a blessing from Father Carmine at Our Lady of the Hopelessly Lost Film Career. He floors it, hitting 35, the left blinker on the entire way.
Bounding from his car, dressed to the nines in his sacque suit and bowler hat, Rocky enters the same arena where it all began nearly 30 years ago.
Paulie’s temper is short as he waits for Rocky in the dressing room. His anger boils with the thought that after more than 110 film and TV roles he’s only recognized as the short, unshaven pudgy friend of a broken down boxer with English skills worse than a doped up Russian pugilist.
Finally taped and ready to go, he enters the ring wearing his traditional red, white and blue trunks pulled up to a point just three inches below his chin. His old white boxing shoes with black socks that reach his knees are securely fastened.
Showing the grace that made him a champion in the ring and at the community center’s senior ballroom dance night, he glides about the ring. Smooth, determined, slow.
E-mail this story | Print this page | Comments (0) | Archive | RSS Comments (0) |
Most Recent Comment(s):