Friday October 31, 2014
A Man of Raging Optimism
“I've really had it with anti-this and anti-that. That silver cloud always has to loom. I want to be remembered as a man of raging optimism, who believes in the American dream. Right now, it's as if a big cavernous black hole has been burned into the entertainment section of the brain. It's filled with demons and paranoia and fear. Where are all the heroes? Even the cowboys today are perverts—they all sleep with horses. Let other people suffer and do all those pain things and put their demons up on the screen. I'm not going to.''
-- Sylvester Stallone in The New York Times, Nov. 1, 1976, after the suprise success of his film, ”Rocky,“ which would go on to win the Oscar for best picture, and which, as I've written elsewhere, begins like a gritty 1970s movie but gives us a Hollywood ending. Stallone, of course, would keep true to his word, even as the rest of Hollywood, and the rest of America, stopped doing anti-this and anti-that and flocked to various forms of manufactured heroes. Cf.: this piece on ”Superman: The Movie,“ as well as this entire book. I came across the quote while reading Dan Epstein's “Stars and Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of ‘76,”
Yo, Butkus! Stallone and his cinematic dog on the famous Philadelphia City Hall steps during the filming of ”Rocky“ in 1975. The success of the film, along with the mammoth success of ”Star Wars“ six months later, would return ”the Hollywood ending" to Hollywood, leaving almost any moviegoer interested in a grown-up film out in the cold.