Over the past few weeks, Mom and I have been watching the Rocky series.
It’s been MY first time through the films; despite being aware OF them over the years. They’re absolutely a part of (my) popular culture experience, going back at least to the 1990 TMNT film. There’s a scene in THAT with Michelangelo doing an impersonation of Rocky; so at least back that far, I’ve been “aware of” “Adrian” and such…though it was not until watching the first film that I realized Adrian was a love interest and not a manager or buddy.
And of course, along the way, over the years, I loosely knew about Drago and THAT fight–given Dolph Lundgren being in the film (who I know from the likes of Punisher and Expendables and Masters of the Universe).
I was surprised at Burgess Meredith’s presence as Mickey–the manager/trainer. I know Meredith as The Penguin in (the) “1966 Batman series” (aka “the Adam West Batman series” or “The William Dozier Batman series” etc). I also was vaguely aware of him being in Grumpy Old Men. But after Rocky and Rocky II, I kinda saw things coming, a bit. And sure enough, in Rocky III, we saw the character’s passing.
And to say that scene rocked me would certainly be accurate. Against Mickey’s guidance, Rocky takes on a new challenger for his championship…and it doesn’t go well. Without novelizing the scene–you know it, you don’t, or you can look it up yourself–after the match (which he lost), Rocky finds that Mickey’s in bad shape, and has refused transportation to a hospital. Seemingly barely aware of his surroundings, Mickey takes comfort in knowing the match is over, and “assuming” they did things right.
And I saw it coming, and even now as I type about it, I’m doing so through tears.
“No, no, listen. We ain’t done everything right. Listen, we got more to do. Mick, whatever you wanna do, we’ll do it, okay? “
“I love you, kid. I love you.”
“It hurts me.”
And seeing Stallone (as Rocky) react to his mentor, father figure, manager’s passing, as he realizes he’s gone…yeah.
I’m not sure if any scene in a film has hit me like that since that scene in The Lion King last year (“you said you’d always be here for me! But you’re not…and it’s because of me…”)
So, pressing onward. Rocky IV. V. Rocky Balboa.
Then this past weekend, we come to Creed. Getting up to what initially put me onto the film series (Creed III coming this spring).
And without analyzing the film or getting into stuff I really liked about it, and how it worked in ways that many other films don’t for me…
There was a line that hit me, amidst the other themese of a son missing (or not even knowing) his father, of that shadow, that desire to live up to who he was etc…
“I know he didn’t leave me on purpose.”
I know he wasn’t ready to go. I know he didn’t WANT to, in those wee hours December 29th into December 30th, 2021. I know he didn’t mean to leave me. It wasn’t on purpose, it wasn’t in any of our plans.
But as with any….it doesn’t change the fact that on this Earth, he has, and I’m still here, and I contdinue to have to live without one of the absolute most important peopple of my entire lifes being here with me.
The first year was its own thing. Everything, every single milestone or anniversary or holiday or birthday or WHAT. EV. ER. was new, a new first, another first, the next first. Firsts everywhere, everywhen.
And then heading into the latter part of the year–with Dad’s birthday (and my over-sentimentalizing that first Flesh and Blood (card game) “draft” (which I AM eventually, someday going to detail in an actual blog post)); that Zanesville visit to see my aunts and cousins and such, FOR Dad’s birthday; into Thanksgiving and Christmas and such…
For me, so much was about that then-looming first anniversary. Seeing it coming. Anticipating its coming. Anticipating its hit, its effect etc. And then that night and though I observed it, it was relatively “anticlimactic” or such…
But now…we’re into the second year.
And it’s different. Braced for all those firsts, numbed through so many firsts, and in some ways, it’s like now as the second year builds, it’s a whole other thing.