… on rocky balboa (at 11 months)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is the raw photo of the champ. Eventually it will make its way, in black and white, onto a full-blown movie poster. There will be big, white capital letters standing out on a nearly-black background and they will announce:




And then there will be the photo above, probably with some really dramatic filter or lighting or something applied (is it now absolutely clear that I have never used Photoshop?).

How did this happen you ask? Well

Fade in to a dank, seedy fight club.

A small-time German (Shepherd) fighter named Rocky gains another quiet victory over a mangy tennis ball of a challenger and collects his meager winnings.  He makes his way through the mean and urine-burned pathways that masquerade as streets, stopping along the way to chat with neighbors including Grampa Monty and his beautiful-but-shy sister Blaze-drian. He stops by the pet store to grab himself a few raw egg bully sticks and some turtle food for his turtles, Cuff and Link (which is weird because our Rocky is a dog and does not often wear a tux).

It turns out that Rocky’s day job involves working for a small-time loan shark (and bird food-stealing criminal) who is most likely in the terrifying gang known as the Grey Squirrels. When Rocky – who is secretly a pacifist – won’t bark-up the workers down at the Rock Wall Docks, the Squirrel Gang criminal gets mad because Rocky won’t break anyone’s paws. Rocky thinks he should break all the paws of the Squirrel Gang instead and he makes sure they know it by barking very loudly and chasing them up trees.

Sadly, the next time our hero arrives at the gym for a workout, his locker is all cleaned out and his custom-made pawing gloves are nowhere to be found. He approaches Freddy, the gym owner about this and Freddy says that Rocky could have been so much more than a two-bit fighter and lowly enforcer for the Squirrel Gang.

Dejected, Rocky wanders back along the mean paths of his city and comes across Blaze-drian. She pays him no attention so he heads off to a local watering bowl to drown his sorrows.

IMG_3737Cut to a scene of World Champion Apollo Creed (The photo to the left is Apollo in his early days when he was known as Thor-the-Great-Pyrenees. Notice his fearsome, technically astute fighting style). Apollo is discussing the fact that his next opponent has dropped out of a big fight. Rather than lose out on millions in prized freeze-dried liver treats (let alone endorsements), Apollo decides to give a lowly, unknown fighter a shot at the championship collar. He likes the sound of fighting Rocky, because Rocky’s nickname is the German Gelding.

So Freddy the gym owner calls Rocky down to the gym and tells him that he has a shot at the title and, because there is food involved, Freddy is totally up for  being his trainer. 

In one of the film’s most inspiring sequences, Rocky – flanked by an ever-growing group of chipmunks – ends his workout by fighting his way up a local hillside and, once at the top, turns and throws punches while paw-pumping music plays. From somewhere.

The night before the fight, Apollo Creed is super cocky, while Rocky is just thinking that – if he can hang in there for the duration of the fight – he may not get any liver treats but might get a belly rub and ongoing bragging rights.

 The fight begins.

 It is dramatic.

Apollo turns out to be overly confident and Rocky wins lots of points and even knocks Apollo down. Apollo is stunned and begins to take the fight much more seriously. He is a much better finesse fighter – and really knows how to nip at Rocky’s back legs. But Rocky, it turns out, is better fit to absorb Apollo’s punishing shoulder pushes and false face-bites.

At one point, Rocky finds himself in his corner. Freddy is looking at him with great concern. Rocky’s eye is nearly swollen shut. The music swells and Rocky demands, “I can’t see nothin’! You gotta open my eye!” and Freddy looks like he might be sick and says he can’t do it. But Rocky says, “Cut me, Mick, cut me!” (which is weird that he thinks Freddy’s name is Mick but Rocky is so hurt that he can be forgiven for the error (also, the movie poster photo at the top of this page is clearly taken from this very scene.)) SO…

Freddy gives in and disgustingly slits open Rocky’s swelling eye and Rocky goes on to finish the fight and, though he doesn’t win he is very excited and sweaty and begins to scream BLAZE-DRIAN! and Blaze-drian makes her way to the ring for the final embrace and – we could assume – eventual marriage and babies (however with a name like the German Gelding, this is highly unlikely).

 The end.

 Credits roll:

 Marshal Dillon Dingle………………………………………..Rocky

Blaze …………………………………………………………………Blaze-drian

Grampa Monty ………………………………………………….Himself/Paulie


Thor………………………………………………………………….Apollo Creed

 Okay. You got me.

The part about the chipmunks following Marshal up the hill wasn’t true. Marshal has been far too effective at terrorizing chipmunks. They never would have gotten that close.

The reality is that the entire credited cast was here this past week. The human ‘crew’ spent quite a bit of time producing and directing as well as devoting a lot of time to cinematography. Craft Services was very popular.

Prior to people (and Thor) arriving, Marshal Dillon Dingle decided to chase a chipmunk. And he decided not to stop when it ran under a rose-bush. Marshal is not as short as a chipmunk, and this did not occur to him as he dove headfirst into the roses. The good news is that he turned his head at the last-minute. The bad news is that the roses were hosting a bee convention that day. So between thorns and stingers, Marshals beautiful face looked freakishly like Rocky Balboa before Mick cut him. I swear to you that the dog didn’t even yelp, so intent was he on finally bagging a chipmunk.

We took Marshal to the local animal hospital where he barked up the entire waiting room as well as the clinic cat (Marshal has Pervasive Veterinary Anxiety Disorder. It’s an official thing). Once brought into the exam room, he readily accepted copious amounts of cookies from Dr. Domeyer (Marshal is also a nervous eater), who pronounced his cornea scratch free and sent us packing with Prednisone and Cefpodoxime.

He is already looking much better and intends to return to his acting career as soon as he is head-shot ready.

Thanks for readin’.

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