It was my 18th birthday when I first saw the original Rocky movie in a bug-infested lowly theatre in Angeles City, Pampanga. That was 9 years after the flick was shown in 1st class movie houses all over the world. And since then, I followed all the Rocky films for almost 4 decades. Just minutes ago today before my day starts, I watched Creed in full, a 2015 film directed by Ryan Coogler starring Michael B. Jordan (just a namesake of the famed basketball superstar) as Adonis Johnson or simply Donny, and of course Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, the lead character of the all Rocky’s from 1 to 6. Stallone won the Best Supporting Actor Award from the Golden Globe through Creed just last week but did not thank his director and his co-star in his acceptance speech but that’s another story.
With the benefit of modern communication technology and the advancement of cyberspace, it’s now very convenient to watch movies anytime and anyplace most preferable to us. Just to let you know, except for Creed, I do not download and eventually watch newly released movies and I rather re-watch those English films I've seen when I was young maybe to reminiscent and to understand in depth a certain film, its true message, meaning and lessons that I failed to absorb and internalize or understand with my young and entertainment-focused self back then. Familiarity with Rocky movies from my time made me curious about this new, 2015 movie, a reboot actually. Creed, true enough, is a personally a nostalgically spin-off movie for me.
I will not be reviewing Creed like what known movie critics are doing. I will not dwell on its synopsis and technical and projection and other cinematic fragments and treatments. This is not a review but more of a reflective reaction hinges on the lessons I acquire seeing this one heck of a film. (As a substitute, I would like to lead you to THIS link for an alternative read in case you are more interested in review.) Since this is more of a reflective reaction on the film, in this blog entry, I will present some of my insights, mainly built on quotes and situations from the movie as against some personal reflections.
Over and above, Sylvester Stallone kept the Rocky movie franchise pertinent and stimulating through generations and this question settles in my mind at this very moment: What are the things I have initiated in my life that would outlast me? A train of thoughts flashed through me and notable among them is how I raised my 3 wonderful God-considering and intelligent children. Two of them are now professional teachers, just like me and their nanay and they possessed gifts that can be traced to my very being. I guided them, together with my wife, to the importance of education and faith, the beauty of reading and writing and connecting with people and shared the things that I cherished when I was young including the unrecorded personal creed that I am still trying to live by.
For Mary Anne (Phycilla Rashad), past is past. Mary Anne, Apollo Creed’s widow, instead of ignoring the child Adonis (or Donny), she raised her husband’s bastard and abandoned son and gave him a good future and treated him like her own kid. Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) was Rocky Balboa’s nemesis turned best friend in number of Rocky sequels. Like Mary Anne, I did not tie myself thinking my about my wasted days when I was a teenager but strived to finish my studies while working even it took me 10 years to graduate from my course. Also in one scene, Balboa pushed Johnson saying, “That bell don’t mean school’s out. Keep going Donny.” To add, that is exactly what I am doing in my life as a social communicator and advocate, as a family man and civil servant and as a thinker and a Catholic believer.
Our toughest opponent is our self. In another scene as you can see in the above photo, Balboa told Johnson while inside the gym as the latter looks at a mirror, “That’s the toughest opponent when you get in the ring or in life.” Well, it goes without elaborating but nice reminder too for me especially on this day. Again, to return back to my family and my children, I am part of them but they have their own identity, they have their own ring to invade, their own life to live, as Mary Anne told Donny, “You are your father’s son. You are part of him. But you don’t have to be him.” But I hope someday, I’ll see my children examining the gloves that I wore without necessarily wearing them. By the way, Adonis, who changed his surname from Johnson to Creed, on the big night of the big fight, wore his father’s trunk, given to Adonis by Mary Anne, for the world to know that he’s Apollo’s son, and whom did he pass his legacy. Creed is not only about boxing but more importantly about life's triumph, about legacy, about family.
What an increedible movie to start my day, on my birthday, today. ...