PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The Brazilian exchange student made a request to his host before ending the semester abroad and returned home to São Paulo:
Take me to Rocky.
On the way to Philadelphia airport, João Martucci, who studied linguistics at West Chester University, stopped at a pit stop and stood in line with the Rocky Balboa statue at the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He raised his arms in triumph as Philly's favorite fictional fighter and then recreated the boxer's famous run down 72 stone steps to the museum's entrance. He celebrated his ascent by waving his arms and jumping around (minus the stresses of "Gonna Fly Now"), as well as Sylvester StalloneThe character's character had ended at the end of his training in "Rocky".
"I really like the movies about Rocky," he said. "I really wanted to see the statue and the stairs."
He's not alone in his Rocky fan. From southern Philadelphia to Brazil and around the world, an incalculable number of Rocky Balboa fans recreated the race that became famous in "Rocky" and doubled in sequences, spin-offs and Super Bowl points.
The 1976 film won the Oscar for best film and transcended the sports genre to become a pop culture sensation and is recorded in the history of Philadelphia as much as Liberty Bell and Ben Franklin.
You know the quotes by heart:
"You will eat lightning and shit thunder!"
"Cut me, Mick!"
"There will be no rematch."
Like Balboa in his first fight with Apollo Creed, "Rocky" failed to win the grand prize among candidates for the best sports film. "Rocky" ended in a tie with "Bull Durham" in 2nd place on the Associated Press' list of 25 favorite sports films. There were several rounds of Rocky that could have broken the poll – "Rocky" created four sequences, "Rocky Balboa" and two "Creed" films, led by Michael B. Jordan.
The film did more for Philly than creating easy landmarks for fans to visit or mumble his best “Hey, Adrian!” impressions; inspired everything from a short Broadway play to Philadelphia's Rocky Run, a 50k (31 mile) tour based on the inspiring montage of the 1979 film while Balboa trains for his heavyweight rematch with Creed.
But it is the first film that impresses the city, when Balboa was just a lucky fighter who served as a metaphor for what it means to fight for love and prove that you have the eye of the tiger.
Tanyell Blake, a "Rocky" fanatic, had to travel the (social) distance and escape the caged feeling at his home in Pemberton, New Jersey, to make his first trip to the statue. Stallone commissioned the statue for a 1982 "Rocky III" scene and donated it to the city later. Lines usually meander down the museum's sidewalk full of fans who want an instant photo and a selfie with the 9ft-11, 1,300-pound bronze animal. During the coronavirus pandemic, it is easy to go ahead and give the statue a thumbs up, without the need to wait.
Blake loved all the "Rocky" films, but called the first "favorite of all time". She underwent knee surgery and was inspired by the movies to take the steps.
"I did it. I did it," she said. "I can check it off my bucket list now. I went the distance. Up and down."
At the 2006 premiere of "Rocky Balboa" in Philadelphia, Stallone he said he owed much of the film's success to the city.
"It belongs to Philadelphia," he said. "It is a very unique relationship. It is something that no one could have planned."
Mike Kunda turned his resemblance to a Stallone into a career as a Yo owner, Philly! Rocky movie tour. Wearing a pig pie hat and a black leather jacket, Kunda, 52, has given almost 1,100 "Rocky" movie location scripts since he started in 2011, telling the "Rocky" internal story as he directs fans of the whole city. the street where Rocky flirts with Adrian after his first meeting at the telephone booth, where a moneylender yells at Balboa for not collecting a debt.
"I think we just want to be our best people," said Kunda. "I just try to keep Rocky's kindness alive."
Kunda hasn't toured since March 15, but he can get excited about popular Islam: it's about how hard you can be hit and move on; How much can you take and keep moving on.
"Rocky appeals to the person who has been forgotten," he said. “People judge you. Many of us have been forgotten and I think it is important to fail on our own terms. Give me a chance to fail. Rocky has a lot of determination and that is something that people may lack. "
The last image of the character Balboa came at the end of "Creed II" when he visited his son to try to fix a tense relationship. Not even Stallone is ready to say that the character is ready to hang up his gloves and fade to black on the silver screen.
"I never say no to Rocky" Stallone said. “I have some ideas. But I'm not so sure, because they don't really wrap the ring as much as they should. I'm not so confident that it will be exciting enough for the audience. But who knows?"
The Associated Press is presenting one of the 25 best sports films, a suggestion of what to put on the screen while you are at home. Of course, this is what we do in AP: we classify things. Thus, 70 writers and editors around the world voted for the best in the history of sports cinema.
More information on AP's top 25 sports movie searches: https://apnews.com/Sportsmovies
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