Category Archives: Blog-a-thon

The “Box Office Jocks” Blog-A-Thon is here!


Welcome to the “Box Office Jocks” Blog-A-Thon this fine Super Bowl weekend! A special thank you goes out to Dubsism for host his first blog-a-thon. If you aren’t familiar with Dubsism, it’s a combination of two things which usually don’t go together; rabid enthusiasm for all things sport, and an infatuation with classic cinema. I highly recommend checking out and subscribe to his blog.

This blog-a-thon is all about movies featuring actors who used to be athletes at the college, Olympic, or professional level, OR movies in which a famous athlete appears. It is NOT about movies which have a sports-related theme. This is about actors who once were jocks, or big-time jocks who make cameos.

This is fun topic. Thank you for everyone who participated. Please  check out all these awesome articles, and share the love.

 


Dubsism:

  • Mister Roberts, 1955 – Features a cameo as an island tribal chief by Duke Kahanamoku.  If you’re not familiar, Kahanamoku won gold medals in swimming at the 1912 and 1920 Olympics, as well as a silver in 1924, losing to the gold to Johnny “Tarzan” Weismuller.
  • They Were Expendable, 1945 – Before becoming arguably the biggest star in the history John Wayne played guard for the University of Southern California.

Return to the 80’s:

Cracked Rear Viewer:

  • A Lady Takes A Chance, 1943 – Bringing us our second contribution from “The Duke.”

SportsChump:

  • Hooper, 1978 – SportsChump covers both categories with a Burt Reynolds flick featuring a cameo from four-time Super Bowl champ Terry Bradshaw.

Reelweegiemidget Reviews:

Taking Up Room:

  • Prefontaine, 1997 – Before he was “Al Bundy,” Ed O’Neill was a defensive lineman for the Youngstown State Penguins, and earned a tryout with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Wonderful World of Cinema:

  • Dangerous When Wet, 1953 – Virginie Pronovost dives into this Esther Williams classic. Williams may very well have been an Olympic gold medalist in swimming had World War II not happened.

Sat In Your Lap:

In The Good Old Days Of Classic Hollywood:

  • Million Dollar Mermaid, 1952 – Thus completes our Esther Williams trifecta.

Pale Writer:

  • Return to Me, 2000 – Before the X-Files, David Duchovny was an “X and O” guy on the basketball floor for Princeton University.
  • Raw Wind In Eden, 1958 –  She is also bringing the fourth Esther Williams contribution to this blog-a-thon.

It Came From The Man Cave:

  • Into The Sun, 2005 – Here’s a guy looking to win the first Box Office Jocks Heisman Trophy by looking at former Ohio State/Tennessee Titans star Eddie George in this Steven Seagal vehicle.

Love Letters To Old Hollywood:

  • Sun Valley Serenade, 1941 –  Our first tribute to figure skating legend Sonja Henie.

The Midnite Drive-In:

  • Major League, 1989 & Major League II, 1994 – Quiggy from Midnite Drive-In goes juuuuusssst a bit outside going inside the work of former catcher and Hall-of-Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker’s portrayal of the movie voice of the Cleveland Indians, Harry Doyle.

Crítica Retrô:

  • Black Orpheus, 1959 – Le Magalhaes takes us through a tale set in Rio’s Carnival with Brazil’s two-time gold medalist Ademar Da Silva

Mike’s Take On The Movies:

Here’s to some solid reading about Box Office Jocks!

Return to the ’80s Movies – Rocky III


Welcome to my contribution to the Box Office Jocks blog-a-thon, which I am hosting with Dubsism. If you are not following J-Dub, you should check out his awesome blog. Dubsismmainly concentrates on sports, and holds no punches, and tells it like it is, which is very entertaining. So, we combined the sports of Dubsism with the retro of Return to the ’80s, and present to you this blog-a-thon.

In addition to sharing the participants’ posts, I will also share my own article. This blog-a-thon is all about movies featuring actors who used to be athletes at the college, Olympic, or professional level, OR movies in which a famous athlete appears.

Not only did I pick a film that was a sports theme (which was not necessary), but this is a film that features a couple of professional athletes. A lot of people may not know this, but Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed) was a linebacker for the Oakland Raiders in 1971. He also spent two years in the Canadian football league. And of course, Rocky III features Hulk Hogan as Thunderlips. That role gave the professional wrestler national prominence before Hulkamania was born.

I saw Rocky III in the theater when it was originally released…most likely opening weekend. And I saw it many, many times after. It helped that it was in heavy rotation on HBO. However, it has been years since I have seen it. Funny how time slips away from you. I was a little nervous because this was one of my favorite movies in my teen years. I was afraid that it may come off as cheesy now that I’m older. I am happy to say that I still liked it just as much now as I did then, and maybe even more now. So, here is my review.


Starring
Sylvester Stallone
Talia Shire
Burt Young
Carl Weathers
Burgess Meredith
and introducing Mt. T

Rated PG
Runtime 1hr 39min
Released May 28, 1982
Synopsis: After winning the ultimate title and being the world champion, Rocky falls into a hole and finds himself picked up by a former enemy. – imdb

Last time I had seen this? Probably not since the late ’80s.

Summary/Review
As with Rocky II, this movie opens with the end of the previous film’s match. And now that we are in the decade of montages, Rocky III immediately goes into a montage of Rocky defending his title, beating several opponents. Of course the song that is playing, is Survivor’s legendary “Eye of the Tiger” (which was my favorite all-time song at the time that this was released). As this is happening, a mohawked monster of a man is getting angry over each of Rocky’s wins. During the montage, we learn that his name is the perfect boxer name, Clubber Lang. We then see Clubber defeating several opponents, very viciously. Clubber is also very focused on training, which is just as aggressive as his fighting. At the same time, Rocky is having fun, making all kinds of media appearances, including The Muppet Show! So, we get the idea that Rocky is now coasting along, while Clubber is focused on climbing the ladder to get to the top. Hmmm. Maybe “Eye of the Tiger” is Clubber’s song, and not Rocky’s. And we are almost 7 minutes into the film before any dialogue is spoken.

Rocky’s popularity led him to a charity fight against a giant wrestler, called Thunderlips. Thunderlips was played by Hulk Hogan. This was pre-Hulkamania Hulk Hogan. Hogan had been wrestling in the AWA at the time. His scene in this movie, is what brought Hogan to the national stage. This was a fun match to watch. But, it wasn’t too fun for Mickey, as he started having problems with his heart when Rocky was getting tossed all over the place. This was a little foreshadowing of what was to come.

Next up, there is a statue dedication for Rocky at the iconic stairway by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where Rocky announces his retirement. Clubber Lang was in attendance, and lost his shit at that announcement. He was able to goad Rocky into finally getting a shot at the belt.

Rocky doesn’t take his training too seriously, as he makes it a public event, and even selling merchandise, and taking pictures, and receiving kisses from adoring women, much to Adrian’s chagrin. In the meantime, Clubber is training ruthlessly, just as Rocky did in the previous films.

Just before the big fight, Rocky and Clubber get in an altercation backstage. Clubber pushed Mickey, which caused Mickey to have a heart attack. Rocky was tempted to cancel the fight, but Mickey talked him into going out there.
Well, it turned out to be a bad day for Rocky. He got destroyed within 2 rounds. And Mickey died in front of Rocky.

After a mourning montage, Rocky’s old frenemy, Apollo Creed shows up, and convinces Rocky to not retire, and to work on getting that “eye of the tiger” back. Of course, there are strings attached. Apollo offers to train Rocky in exchange for a future favor. What favor? Apollo said, “You’ll see”. But in my mind, all I heard was “Ding. Ding.”

So Apollo takes Rocky to train at Apollo’s no frills gym where he once trained, Tough Gym in Los Angeles. Things are slow-going, as Rocky is still having a pity party, and training half-assed. I don’t know which was worse…the pity party, or Paulie’s racism. Of course, it took a talk with Adrian to pull his head out of his ass, in one of Talia Shire’s greatest scene’s ever. And that’s really saying something about The Godfather vet.

Then we really get back to basics, with a montage featuring Bill Conti’s classic, “Gonna Fly Now”. And now Rocky has earned my respect again.

This brings us to Madison Square Garden for the big rematch. Clubber’s interview before the fight, has two of the best quotes of any of the Rocky movies: “I pity the fool”, which of course, became Mr. T’s trademark line, and was one of the most iconic lines of the decade, and:

Interviewer: What’s your prediction for the fight?

Clubber Lang: My prediction?

Interviewer: Yes, your prediction.

Clubber Lang: Pain!

I suppose I’m confusing all my Rocky fights, but I didn’t realize that this did not last too long. As with all the final fights in all of the Rocky films, if you don’t get all pumped up, and feel good inside, then you are dead inside. Of course, Rocky has his eye of the tiger back. He put Apollo’s training to good use, along with his own boxing smarts, to wear down the champ. It was a very entertaining fight, and I loved the trash talking. There were just some parts that were distracting because it was visible that the punches were not landing. This seemed to happen with Stallone’s punches on Mr. T. Mr. T’s punches looked pretty real. It doesn’t matter though. It was just great seeing the underdog come out on top.

And now it was time for Rocky to pay his favor to Apollo. The favor was a rematch, which was their own private fight. The punch each other into a freeze frame, closing out to “Eye of the Tiger”. We don’t find out until 2015’s Creed.

Worth the Return?
Yes! The Rocky series had become a running joke with all the sequels. I personally loved all of them. But, I understand how it could get that long-in-the-tooth reputation. But, this film was just a strong as the first two movies. You witness Rocky’s fall from grace, and then rise from the ashes. I am not a professional film critic by any means, but I feel that every single performance was outstanding. It is definitely worth a re-watch, especially if you haven’t seen it in a while. I also saw it with a little different eyes this time. Clubber Lang wasn’t as evil as I had remembered. He was an angry dude. However, he was hungry for the title, and did come after it honestly. I could understand his frustration of not getting a title shot, and why he went about getting the title shot like he did. Apollo trash talked in the previous movies just as bad as Clubber did in this one. The only thing that made Apollo the antagonist was his cocky attitude. Clubber had the attitude, and was a more dangerous opponent for Rocky. However, even though I understood Clubber a little more now, I still found myself rooting for Rocky again at the end.

Rating:

4 Eyes of the tiger

Does the movie stand the test of time?
Considering they are still making these movies (in the form of Creed), I would say yes.


What did you think of this movie? Which Rocky movie is your favorite?

**Reminder** “Box Office Jocks” Blog-a-Thon coming up!

Just a reminder that Dubsism and I are hosting a “Box Office Jocks” Blog-a-Thon. Entries will be posted this Super Bowl weekend (February 2 and 3, 2019).

This blog-a-thon is all about movies featuring actors who used to be athletes at the college, Olympic, or professional level, OR movies in which a famous athlete appears. It is NOT about movies which have a sports-related theme. This is about actors who once were jocks, or big-time jocks who make cameos.

Please let me know if you would like to submit a blog article, or podcast for this event.

You can email me at Returnto80s@gmail.com. If you send me something after this weekend, I can add it. So, don’t be shy.

Some possible actors include (but certainly aren’t limited to) John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Buster Crabbe, Johnny Weissmuller, Esther Williams, Sonja Heine, up through people like Beau Bridges, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, or the recently departed Burt Reynolds. Also, these do not need to be 80s movies.

Here are some places where you can look up other actors/movies if you don’t want to cover any of the actors listed above:

Actors who once were College or Olympic athletes:

Pro athletes who either made cameo appearance or became “straight-up” actors:

So as I said, you can email me at Returnto80s@gmail.com, or you can even comment below.

Return to the 60s Movies: Where Eagles Dare (Richard Burton Blog-a-Thon)

My good friend Gill from ReelWeegieMidget Reviews approached me about participating in her Richard Burton Blog-a-Thon. Burton was not a big ’80s star. His only major movie role in the ’80s was Nineteen Eighty-Four. The thought of covering that film gave me chills as it reminded me of being made to read the book in school, not to mention that watching it today would be more of a disturbing true life documentary.
However, when I hear Richard Burton’s name, the first thing that comes to mind is the awesome World War II film Where Eagles Dare. It may not have been released in the ’80s, but the first time I saw it was in the ’80s. We rented the VCR tape from Movies & More, which was the big video store before Blockbuster came on the scene.

In the ’80s, of course I loved getting the newer movies that were released. However, no matter how many copies they had, they would be all out. Nothing was more disappointing than moving the cover and finding no cassettes behind it. You would just be holding an empty movie cover box. So, you would have to resort to older movies. But, that could also be fun, as you would see fun, cheesy horror movies, or old school war movies. I loved both. As far as war movies went, I loved The Guns of Navarone, The Great Escape, and Bridge On the River Kwai (starring the young Obi-Wan Kenobi, Alec Guinness). And of course, Where Eagles Dare stood out for me. I came for Clint Eastwood, but stayed for Richard Burton (and of course Clint Eastwood). Up to that point, I had never heard of Richard Burton. I didn’t know about his other awesome movies, or his relationship with Elizabeth Taylor. So the fact that his performance really stood out to me all these years later, when I had never even heard of him before watching this movie, is really saying something. So, let’s get into it and see if it is as good as I remember.


Starring
Richard Burton
Clint Eastwood
Mary Ure

Rated PG
Runtime 2 hours 38 minutes
Released March 12, 1969
Synopsis Allied agents stage a daring raid on a castle where the Nazis are holding an American General prisoner… but that’s not all that’s really going on. (imdb)

Summary and Review

Just like most World War II films, this one begins with a briefing on what the mission is. In this case, U.S. Army Brigadier General George Carnaby has been captured and needs to be rescued. Why is he so damn important!?!?!? Well, he is one of the designers of the Western Front, and the allies need to retrieve him before he gives up any information. He is being held at the Castle of Eagles, which we are told is well named because only an eagle can get to it. A team of Allied commandos, led by British Major John Smith of the Grenadier Guards (Richard Burton) and U.S. Army Ranger Lieutenant Morris Schaffer (Clint Eastwood), must parachute in behind enemy lines. Mysteriously, one of the commandos is dead when he lands. Also, shortly after the commandos jumped out of the plane, a woman, named Mary Ellison (Mary Ure), comes out of the shadows of the plane, and parachutes out to a different area.

You get the idea that some shady shit is going on, as Smith secretly meets up with Mary afterwards, and he is also secretly updating Colonel Turner (Patrick Wymark) and Admiral Rolland (Michael Hordern) of MI6, of their status.

The film gets very exciting from this point on. The thing I love about this is that it is a combination of an action war movie, a mystery, and a spy thriller. There are three major stages of this movie, when only one by itself would be awesome. But, with all three, you remain glued for 2 hours and 38 minutes. Once the commandos have landed, they need to get to the captured General from the heavily guarded castle, which can only be accessed by helicopter or by cable car. Once they are able to get up to the castle, they need to get the General away from his interrogators. And even after that’s done, they need to escape from the castle, which is even more dangerous than arriving there, because their presence is known. There is barely any dialogue during most of the last hour of the movie. It is flat-out action that really keeps you on the edge of your seat. And there is a huge twist at the very end of the movie that made me go back and watch the movie again with different eyes.

Of course, Clint Eastwood is great in this movie. He’s not some invincible superhero. He is definitely a badass, but is also vulnerable. And he is very confused as to what is really going on behind this mission, and we see it through his eyes.

As huge as Eastwood is, it is Richard Burton who is the big star in this movie. We have no idea what his motive is. Is he who he claims to be? Or is he a double agent? He keeps us guessing through the whole movie. He is also suave, and he is just as much a badd-ass as Eastwood. He and Eastwood also have great chemistry, and there is a lot of humor.

Rating
5 “Broadsword calling Danny Boy”‘s

I m so happy that I Returned to this movie, and even watched it twice despite it’s long run time. It doesn’t even feel that long because the movie moves right along. I highly recommend this.

Thanks again to Gill from ReelWeegieMidget Reviews for running this Blog-a-Thon. Please check out her awesome site, and see what other Richard Burton movies there are through this Blog-a-Thon and my other blogging friends.
Day 1
Day 2

If you’d like to buy or rent this movie through Amazon, you can click on the movie poster.