Binge Watch Review – Russian Doll (A Netflix Groundhog Day themed series)

red headed actress in russian doll on netflix
The Groundhog Day theme as an entire Netflix show premise. And it’s damn good.

Russian Doll is the latest show to hit Netflix, and it has a great theme crossing the line between Groundhog Day and Happy Death Day…(and the new Happy Death Day 2U), and what’s even better, this is an entire series and not just one episode (or movie) with a repeating groundhog day time loop. And, in the best tradition, the protagonist is not someone we like, as things begin. Nadia, the lead here, is selfish, self-absorbed, and incredibly hedonistic. Just like Phil and Tree are, in Groundhog Day and Happy Death Day.

Russian Doll is very also funny. It’s a darkly comedic show.

Sometimes with all the new additions to the Netflix platform, it’s hard to decipher what’s worth watching. I’m only an episode in at this time, but this is definitely a show I would invest in. Natasha Lyonne, who also stars in Orange is the New Black as Nicky, plays Nadia in the series. I really enjoy the personality she brings to her characters. I’m not sure how the loop will be broken, but I definitely think a concoction of Oatmeal, the homeless man she recognizes, and the guy she left the party with all have something to do with it.
So, here is another Groundhog Day themed show for you to appreciate.
Once each two episodes we’ll have two episode summaries! Enjoy. 

Russian Doll Summaries – Episodes 1 – 2

  • Episode 1 starts out with Nadia at her birthday party. As she goes through the party, we meet some close friends of hers, and learn about her vagabond cat named Oatmeal who hasn’t returned home in a while. She leaves the party with a guy, and she sees a man on the street who she thinks she recognizes. That same night, she sees Oatmeal. As she crosses the street to get him, she gets hit by a taxi and dies. Once she wakes up, she is back at her birthday party and begins again the death and resurrection loop.

  • Episode 2 of Russian dolls starts out with Nadia respawning once again.  She starts to investigate what is in the drugs that her friend gives to her. From her perspective, that’s when things started going awry. She begins to tell others around her that she’s re-lived this day before and she keeps dying. She’s very on edge because she has several moments when she dies by simply walking down the stairs of the apartment. Towards the end, she stops leaving the apartment via stairs. The number of times she dies by walking down the stairs seriously had me questioning her ability to stay alive. We know that she’s in this world where she’s destined to continue dying, but how many times can one person die by doing a simple everyday task. She’s honestly lucky that she has several lives to spare because it would be very tragic for her to die via stairs on her birthday.

Russian Doll Summaries – Episodes 3 – 4

  • Episode 3 begins with her investigating the building her party was held in. It’s her friend’s apartment, but she also learned that it was a Jewish school at one point and there’s writing above the door. She solicits the help of her ex to visit a synagogue in order to learn more about this. She ends up seeing the homeless man named Horse, who she recognized in the first episode. She learns that he’s sleeping outside because his shoes were stolen at the homeless shelter and he doesn’t feel safe to sleep there anymore. They cuddle together under a blanket that night, and unfortunately, they both freeze to death. When she awakens, she goes on a mission to find Horse and guard his shoes at the homeless shelter, so he doesn’t end up freezing to death by sleeping outside. Upon leaving the shelter, she ends up in an elevator that begins to free-fall. She realizes this is how she dies again and notices there’s someone else in the elevator who isn’t panicked. She learns he also dies all the time.

This was a twist to the story because we learned that Nadia isn’t the only person in this alternate universe. In an earlier episode, something strange happened; though Nadia kept reliving the same day, no one else had any memory that they had previously lived this day. However, at the end of one of the episodes, we see a plant that was once alive is now wilting. I assume it’s because the plant has been continuing in its own dimension and not restarting like everyone else. Maybe everyone is restarting, but Nadia is the only one who remembers.

 

  • Episode 4 starts from Alan’s perspective on the same day he met Nadia. He’s keeping count of his deaths, and seems to relive his day the same way each time. He’s taking the fortune-telling perspective by trying to speed through conversations as if he’s already heard them. He’s found out his girlfriend is breaking up with him on the day they were supposed to take a trip. We get to the point when he dies in the elevator with Nadia. Their day begins again with each of them knowing about the other. This realization throws Alan off his usual path. Nadia sets out to find him and meets him at his apartment. His day is skewed and they agree to meet up at her birthday party when they die again. Out of frustration, he throws his ring into the river and dies of electrocution. When he respawns, both the ring and his pet fish (who he feeds everyday) are gone. This leads me to think that the world around them isn’t staying still, just like the flowers at Nadia’s party.

Russian Doll Summaries –  Episodes 5 – 6

Episode 5 – Alan respawns, and instead of going about his day in his usual routine, he goes to Nadia’s birthday party. When he arrives, he sees Mike, the man his girlfriend is cheating with. Alan suspects they are in this situation because they are being punished for being bad people. Nadia disagrees, and asks everyone at the party how she wronged them. No one responds, and she moves on to have a conversation with John about her never meeting his daughter, Lucy. Nadia leaves with John to meet Lucy the next morning at breakfast. When Nadia makes a stop at Ruth’s to get a book for Lucy, she stops to play with some Russian Dolls and also notices Ruth’s fruit are rotting.
(Just like the flowers in a previous episode). While making tea, Ruth’s apartment explodes, due to a gas leak, and Nadia is killed again. Nadia awakens at her party again, where Alan has also headed. She cuts to the chase with John and makes plans to meet Lucy. A couple respawns later — courtesy of Alan getting hit by a car and Nadia being shot by Ruth because she believes Nadia is a burglar — Nadia and Alan both respawn. We see Alan in his apartment, and as he goes to feed his fish, he notices the fish is gone.
When Nadia respawns, she has this idea that Ruth mourned her 15 times, and maybe this situation they’re in is affecting more than just her and Alan. Towards the end, Alan and Nadia realize they both died the same amount of times, and that they always die at the same time. Shortly after, they both get crushed by a falling generator in front of Alan’s apartment.This is an interesting episode, because we see many other instances where it seems like the world around them is changing. The weird part is, does no one else notice the rotting fruit or the flowers dying? Is the fruit only rotting to Alan and Nadia because so much time has passed for them? Does it look normal to everyone else?

This is also the episode where we see actual Russian Dolls. Which is a doll inside a doll, inside a doll and so on. It’s as though with each reset, Alan and Nadia are getting closer to the root of the issue.

Episode 6 – Alan and Nadia respawn and spend the day at his apartment seeing what they have in common. Alan can’t remember how he first died. They try to investigate by asking Ruth to trigger Alan’s memory. Alan hears the story about Nadia’s mother, and how she shattered all the mirrors in the home. She believed mirrors were a reflection, a proof of existence, and another pair of eyes.

They die via bees in the subway, and when they respawn, Nadia decides to go through Alan’s first day with him to see how he died.

They arrive at Beatrice’s house and hear her speaking to Mike. We notice Beatrice also has rotting fruit on the table. As Beatrice is breaking up with Alan, Nadia intervenes and tells her off. Alan and Nadia leave and they both feel really great that they are helping each other. They head to a bar and Nadia tells Alan about her gold necklace, which is the last piece of what used to be her college fund before her mother spent it.

Nadia tells Alan about the night she first died, and about how she slept with Mike. Alan is furious, and they decide to sleep together back at Nadia’s apartment to prove he is better than Mike. While Alan is sleeping, Nadia steals Alan’s shoes and gives them to Horse. Nadia also gives Horse her gold necklace. She goes to the deli with Horse and notices all the fruit are also rotting there. When Horse drops something in an aisle, it reminds her of the first night she died, and she remembers that the man she saw also dropping things was a drunk Alan.

When she returns to her apartment, Alan has cleaned it and has put up pictures of her mom that she was hiding. Nadia is angry and kicks Alan out. Alan goes home and we see him walking out on his rooftop. With Nadia she is venting to Ruth about what Alan did and her mom. Ruth asked Nadia to forgive and move on because she is always forgiving Nadia. When Ruth leaves, Nadia chokes on the chicken she is eating.

When she respawns in the bathroom, the mirror is gone. Her friend who is usually very happy to see her doesn’t sound as happy in this loop. She goes directly to Alan’s house and tells him that all of the mirrors in this loop are gone. Alan confessed to her that he committed suicide the first time he died.

This episode shows how selfish Nadia really is, and makes me believe this situation is more about Nadia’s problems than about Alan’s. She doesn’t forgive easily, and she’s a hypocrite. She got mad at Alan for cleaning her apartment and unintentionally taking out photos that he didn’t know would upset her. However, she had just stolen his shoes to give to Horse. Then she dismisses Ruth when Ruth does’t support how upset she is with Alan. Only to choke while eating and have no one to save her.

The mirrors vanishing is another layer of my Russian Doll theory — trying to get to the root of the issue. However, the mirror is a superficial layer.

Russian Doll Summaries – Episodes 7 – 8 (Season 1 Finale)

Episode 7 – The episode begins in a flashback to a young Nadia with her mom, picking up many watermelons.

In the present, Nadia tells Alan she saw him in the deli, but didn’t help him because she wanted to do something else instead. Alan also realizes he saw her when she got hit by the car, and didn’t save her because he was too drunk. They believe their connection is related to them not helping each other on the first night.

Nadia explains to Alan that somewhere in the universe, the original version of their lives still exist. They make a plan to respawn, and relive their first night to change the decisions they made to not help each other. When they leave to go to the deli, Nadia sees the child version of herself again…and begins to die of an internal organ attack.

When she respawns in the bathroom, someone different enters, and there are less people at the party. She goes to the deli, but once again sees her younger self and dies internally. After she respawns, there are even less people at the party, and this time no one knocks the bathroom door. She makes it to the deli, where things are also missing on the shelves. She sees her younger self and they both start bleeding — and Nadia dies, again. When she respawns, there is no bathroom door. The apartment is empty of items and furniture, and the only person at the party is her friend Max.

Nadia goes to Alan’s house and they decide they must right their past wrongs. For Alan, that is speaking to Beatrice, and for Nadia that is visiting Ruth. When Alan is making amends, Mike comes over. Mike and Beatrice seem nicer. After Nadia leaves Ruth, she goes to meet Lucy and gives her the Emily of New Moon book. She begins to cough up blood and dies.

Ruth’s analysis is Nadia is chasing down death at every moment. She isn’t fighting to be a part of this world as badly. This is apparent in all the drugs she takes, and even that her friends call her a cockroach. Nothing can kill her. Which is ironic is that she’s in this loop of constant death. Alan and Nadia realize they saw each other on the night of their first deaths. It was Nadia’s selfishness that got her in this situation. She was too self-involved to assist Alan.

Just like the Russian dolls that get smaller to get to the center, their world is getting smaller with things, and with people disappearing. I think the things and people around are distractions from the issue at hand…similar to the mirror that was a superficial layer of reality.

Episode 8 — The episode begins with Nadia and Alan in their respective bathrooms, looking into the mirrors that once again exist. Nadia’s bathroom door, the original woman knocking on the door, Alan’s engagement ring, and his fish…are all back!

They start their day and each get new pieces of clothing. Alan gets a scarf for good karma, and Nadia is wearing a new shirt due to Maxine getting the original one wet with a drink. They both attempt to go to the other’s apartment to find the other and eventually go to the deli. Nadia and Alan meet who they believe to be the other person, but they both realize they are meeting versions of the other person from the first loop.

They try to convince the other of their connection, and when that doesn’t work, current Alan and Nadia follow the originals around to make sure they don’t repeat that night by dying. Present Alan convinces original Nadia they are connected by telling her the exact cost of her college fund. He later saves her from getting hit by a car. Present Nadia takes original Alan to his apartment to watch him, and stops him from committing suicide.

In each universe, original and present Nadia and Alan join together and walk down the same street where their paths cross. The series then ends.

What is Russian Doll About?

To me, the conclusion for Alan and Nadia is their journey to care about the other person. In this alternate universe they are in, they try by any means to make sure the other person stays alive.

Russian Doll is the newest Netflix Addition to the Groundhog Day Loop Theme – and it looks GREAT

Russian Doll Theme Song – Gotta Get Up Video & Lyrics (Netflix Does Groundhog Day)

19 Groundhog Day Type Movies – The Ultimate Repeating Day Film List

Quotes Quiz – Movies with Groundhogs Day Themes

Movie Review – Edge of Tomorrow (Live. Die. Repeat.)

Virgin Movie Binge Review – Rocky V

Rocky V picked right back up after the last fight in Russia. He returns to America, and we learn Rocky has developed traumatic brain injury from the culmination of head impacts over the years, including his most recent fight with Ivan Drago. Rocky can no longer fight due to this, and must officially retire.

We also learn that Rocky’s accountant poorly handled Rocky’s finances, and so the family is forced to sell all of their things and move back to Rocky‘s original neighborhood. In order to make ends meet, Rocky opens the boxing gym where he first started.

I think this is also Rocky’s way of staying connected to a sport that he can no longer participate in. All the while, he is pressured by Duke to fight the current Heavyweight Champion for a significant amount of money. Rocky reluctantly begins training Tommy Gunn, who is an up-and-coming fighter. Rocky begins living through Tommy with each win, and Tommy begins to resent Rocky because he feels Rocky is using him to remain relevant. Against, Rocky’s wishes, Tommy partners with Duke to fight the current World Heavyweight Champ. Upon winning the title, Tommy learns that the fight was set up and no one truly considers him the World Heavyweight Champion…because the previous Champion never won the title from Rocky. Determined to prove himself, Tommy instigates a street fight with Rocky.

I enjoyed the fight scenes of Rocky in this movie. Rocky is never seen in the ring because he has officially lost his boxing license, due to his injury. I love any fight scene that Rocky is a part of, because it is almost always a fight that has passion. What motivates Rocky the most is defending something. In Rocky I and II he was defending himself as having the ability to be a professional boxer. In Rocky III, he felt the need to honor Mickey, who he believes died prematurely thinking Rocky had won the fight. In Rocky IV, Rocky is defending Creed who was killed in the ring by Ivan Drago. And in this movie, Rocky is fighting Tommy Gunn to show that Tommy doesn’t have what it takes to be the World Heavyweight Champion — because he lacks heart and passion.

There’s a lot of character development in this movie with Rocky. Rocky initially pretends that he’s okay moving back to his old neighborhood, but he misses the luxuries he once had. He believes that he’s fallen from Grace. In all of the previous movies, I never believe Rocky to be attached to money or fame. Even in the second movie, he squandered all of his money on those around him, and went back to working in a butcher shop.

I honestly think Rocky became attached to that lifestyle due to Creed’s influence. His lack of money affects him so much that he truly consider Duke’s offer to fight, in order to get back on top–both financially and in name. He also got attached to an unappreciative leech like Tommy, which caused a break in his family. Though the Tommy Gunn/Duke pair were subpar antagonists, I believe their parts were a necessary evil to bring Rocky back to the understanding that family is where his life and heart lie.

Grade: B

Movie Review – Creed II

Movie Review - Creed III really enjoyed this movie. I had very high expectations and lots of excitement when I walked into the theater, and I think this movie delivered on all of those expectations. I think this movie kept a lot of new fans from Creed I, but  also tapped into the older fan-base from Rocky IV.

This movie was similar to the Rocky movies, but is trying to become its own thing. We can see that in the scenes when Rocky doesn’t stand in the spotlight with Adonis. I think that’s a good indicator that the directors and writers are trying to make a separation between this second generation and the parent movies of Rocky.

I think what makes a Rocky movie so memorable has a lot to do with what’s happening outside of the boxing storyline. From the proposal, to the pregnancy, to the early fatherhood challenges, I think this movie had a lot of moments that touched the hearts of the audience.

I think the part about Creed II that I had never seen in a previous Rocky movie was the portrayal of the opponent, which in this case was Viktor and Ivan Drago. The movie starts out with scenes of them, instead of scenes of Adonis and Rocky. I think throughout the movie there were very important scenes of Viktor and Ivan that help the audience understand what this fight meant to them. For me, it made me feel compassion for Viktor and Ivan Drago. For Ivan, this fight was his way of redeeming himself from the defeat against Rocky.

In this movie, we see that there was a lot of fall out due to that loss. Ivan experienced separation from his country, his wife, and all those who supported him before he lost against Rocky. It seems that Viktor was raised with a singular goal in mind–redeem the honor of his father and win back his mother into their lives. I truly did feel for Ivan Drago because this fight was more about him than it was about Viktor. Viktor had no personal motivations for this fight except those of his father. I think the reason this movie decided to show empathy towards Viktor and Ivan is because they are not the real antagonists of the film. The real antagonist of the film is Viktor’s mother and Ivan’s former wife. Towards the end of the movie, Ivan decides that the life of his son is more important than the support of his country.

Overall this was a great movie; I like the alternative views it had and I’m excited to see what’s in store for Adonis Creed in the future. I’m also interested to see what is in store several years down the line for his daughter–Amara Creed. I think people believe she won’t be a boxer due to being born deaf, but based on the scene with her watching Adonis return to the boxing gym, I don’t believe that will stop her.

Overall: I think, as usual, both the acting of Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone were great. I would recommend this movie to anyone. I’m a true Rocky convert. It’s worth it to see it in theaters.

Grade: A-

About The Peetimes: It was easy to find 4 good Peetimes that didn’t interfere with the great boxing scenes or the relevant story line.

There are no extra scenes during, or after, the end credits of Creed II. (What we mean by Anything Extra.)

Virgin Movie Binge Reviews – Rocky Balboa and Creed 1

Continuing our Binge watch of Rocky and Creed Movies with a viewing virgin! Enjoy!

Rocky Balboa

Rocky Balboa occurs several years after Rocky V. Rocky’s son has grown up and moved out of the house. Adrian died of cancer and Rocky visits her grave every day with Paulie. Paulie is the only person who is still around, but he’s getting tired of the usual routine of visiting Adrian’s grave. Rocky also owns a restaurant called Adrian’s. I think this is his only remnant of the past. Inside the restaurant he has photos of his previous fights and of his family.

This was a sad movie to watch because it seems as though Rocky is pretty lonely without boxing, Adrian, and his son. His son doesn’t come around often. I think there are some lingering feelings from Rocky V that affected their relationship.  Rocky’s son would rather not hang around Rocky due to several reasons. 1) Rocky reminds Rocky Jr. about Adrian, who is dead. 2) Rocky Jr. is resentful of Rocky because of how it affected him growing up, and continues to affect him now. Being the son of Rocky means that there are very large shoes to fill and I don’t think Rocky Jr. ever lived up to those external expectations. In large part, I think that had to do with their relationship following Tommy Gunn. Rocky focused all of his time trying to relive his old life through Tommy, and never took the time to teach his own son how to box. I think the son and society feels that he isn’t really a Balboa if he can’t fight.

Rocky earns back his license to begin boxing on a local level again. He feels that he isn’t really living and boxing will allow him to feel alive again. As usual, something occurs that pulls Rocky back into the heavyweight champion boxing world. However, the premise in this case was poor. Rocky accepts a challenge to fight Mason Dixon, the current Heavyweight Champion. This came about when a computer simulation between Rocky and Mason deemed Rocky as the winner. Despite everyone being against the idea, Rocky proceeds with the fight and loses. In his heart, he really won because he proved to himself that he is still a worthy opponent.

Overall, I didn’t like this movie because Rocky didn’t go into the fight with a solid resolve. I did like that this fight brought Rocky and Rocky Jr. closer to having the bond that they both wish they always had. Though this was sweet — I don’t think it was enough to carry the movie.

Quiz  question: What can you count on to happen in a Rocky film?

Answer:

  1. Rocky runs up the stairs or a tall structure
  2. Rocky throws his fist in the air

  3. “Eye of The Tiger” or “Gonna Fly Now” plays

  4. Rocky gets beat up initially in his fights and then makes a come back

  5. All of the Above

  6. None of the Above

(Answer is E!)

Movie Grade: C

Creed

I initially watched Creed back when it first came out in 2015. As I mentioned at the beginning of my Rocky binge journey, I didn’t know much about Rocky. After watching all of the Rocky films, and then rewatching Creed, I have a greater understanding and appreciation for this movie. When I first watched Creed, I didn’t  comprehend the significance of the title–Creed. I think I would have been so much more excited to see this movie if I was a long time Rocky fan, because this movie comes 30 years after Apollo Creed dies. So I would have thought to myself, what could this movie be about??

Now that I’ve seen Rocky, I have all of this information that I can apply to this movie. Specific scenes are more meaningful to me and jokes are funnier. Specifically when Rocky gives Adonis Creed the American flag shorts for his fight. I understand that those were the style of shorts that Apollo Creed fought most of his fights in.

This movie reminded me of the original Rocky because it offered a lot of character development to understand the character of Adonis Creed. Adonis Creed has characteristics of both Rocky and Apollo. Specifically, he grew up poor and an orphan, until he was adopted, where he began living a much more lavish lifestyle. This lavish upbringing wasn’t enough for him, because he still believed his calling was to be a boxer. I think like a true boxer, he was willing to give up everything in order to pursue his passion. I also think Adonis Creed is what Rocky Jr. could have been, if he wanted to make a name for himself outside of being Rocky’s son. Adonis grew up knowing who his father was, and I think that was his reasoning for becoming a boxer; however he wanted to make a name for himself that was not associated with Apollo.

I really like this movie, because I think this is who Rocky was meant to train. To me, this movie feels like a redo of Rocky V.  Rocky gets the opportunity to train the son Creed never knew he had, and in some ways it’s as though he has his friend back. I also like that this movie didn’t focus too heavily on Rocky, but kept true to its name and allowed Adonis Creed to be the star.  Though this is a continuation of the Rocky series, I feel like it’s also its own movie because it didn’t follow the patterns of Rocky exactly, and in fact broke many of the things that we’re used to seeing in Rocky. For instance, many of the answers from the Rocky quiz would not apply to this movie.  Nonetheless, this was a great movie and I am very very very excited to see Creed II, especially knowing what I know from Rocky IV.

Movie Grade:  B+

Thanks for sticking around for my first-time viewing of the entire Rocky franchise! I look forward to seeing Creed II tonite! My final review will be posted soon, after I add the Peetimes (of course).

Virgin Watch Movie Reviews — Rocky 1 and 2

Virgin Movie Binge Reviews – Rocky 3 and 4

Here’s our original review when Creed first came out: 

Movie Review – Creed

Virgin Movie Binge Reviews – Rocky 3 and 4

Continuing our Rocky-through-Creed binge newbie watch, here are our reviews for Rocky 3 and 4! (Spoilers!)

Rocky III (1982)

Rocky III started out with a montage of all the fights that Rocky has had since we last saw him. Rocky is doing well. He lives in a large house with his family and Mickey. Just as Rocky is about to retire at the unveiling of his statue, Clubber Lang challenges Rocky to a  fight.

Rocky discovers that Mickey has been setting up fights with weaker opponents so that Rocky can retain his title and retire as the world heavyweight champion. Learning this, Rocky accepts the challenge in order to prove that he is still the best. He goes into the fight with little preparation. This reminds me of Apollo Creed and his initial fight with Rocky. Apollo Creed was cocky and he thought that the fight was not very serious. Rocky walked into this fight in a similar way. This was coupled with the distraction from a prior brawl that left Mickey injured. Rocky loses the fight in the second round. The rest of the movie is based on this premise, which allows Creed to step up to train Rocky for a rematch.

In regards to Clubber Lang, I think he was a poor antagonist. For the first time I’m disappointed with the character development. I felt Clubber Lang was a one-dimensional character. He was always angry, but it wasn’t exactly clear why. I think they could have done a better job explaining who this character was.

I have a few thoughts about Creed and his offer to train Rocky after Mickey dies. I think it can either be viewed as admirable or self centered. I think it was great for Creed to understand the circumstances in which Rocky lost the fight, and offer to be his guidance in the rematch. I think it is admirable because it takes a certain person to approach their former adversary and offer to help them.

On the other hand, I believe that this can be seen as vain and self-centered, because Creed could be offering to train Rocky because he needs Rocky to win, which in turn will save his reputation. He is afraid the world will believe that if Rocky could be defeated by such a weak opponent, then maybe Rocky wasn’t a worthy opponent for Creed. This brings Creed’s championship and prior status into question. Was Creed really the best, or was he weaker than Rocky, and can this man Clubber Lang also defeat Creed? Overall, I love that Creed chose to train Rocky, and I do believe it to be admirable and kind.

I love the scenes of them training together. I don’t think the fight scene towards the end was anything we haven’t seen before. It didn’t wow me like the scenes in Rocky I or Rocky II. And as predicted, Rocky wins the fight with Clubber Lang easily. I like that at the end of Rocky III we see Rocky and Creed going into a friendly battle, which is an optimistic foreshadowing of their future relationship.

Movie Grade:  B-

Rocky IV

In Rocky IV, we see that Rocky’s life continues to be good. Rocky retired as the World Heavyweight Champion, and he is still very good friends with Creed. We see Russia has entered the boxing league with the rest of the world. Creed sees that Ivan Drago is the current champion in Russia, and looks to take on a worthy American opponent. Creed immediately steps up to the challenge.

Within the first 15 minutes of this movie, I’m already intrigued. This is a major improvement from the last movie. Ivan Drago is a worthy opponent. He is no regular sized man. In the fact, he is several feet taller than Rocky and Creed, and he weighs more. This makes me wonder if there are weight cut-offs in boxing, like how there are in wrestling.

Creed feels this is his chance to prove to the world that he is still a great fighter. In typical Creed fashion, he taunts and mocks Drago to get him riled up for the fight. Creed is such an entertainer in my eyes. He’s a great and amazing fighter as well, but he always underestimates a fight, especially with an unknown opponent.

Even though everyone tells Creed that he’s been retired for a long time, and to fight such a physically intimidating opponent is not a smart choice, Creed is stubborn and prideful, and refuses to back down. What puzzles me the most is how Creed could approach this opponent without training. At first, I thought this was more typical of Creed because he is a cocky individual. However, once the fight starts, it is clear that Creed believed the fight would be more of a joke than a serious competition. Creed put on a giant pre-fight spectacle of America against Russia. This definitely embarrassed Drago, to the point he felt he needed to fight so hard that no one would ever laugh at him again. Drago goes into the fight seriously attacking Creed. Everyone is scared and Rocky tries to stop the fight, but Creed insists that he does not stop. Creed can’t keep up, and ultimately suffers a fatal blow to the head, which kills him in the ring. Everyone is devastated, and Rocky makes it his mission to avenge Creed by fighting Drago in Russia.

In the next chunk of the movie, Rocky leaves his family behind to head to Russia with Creed’s coach to train for the fight. When Rocky sets his mind to something, there’s no stopping him. He really is invested. This is understandable. Rocky just lost his good friend and former coach for a fight that was unnecessary. Though his reasoning is understandable and Rocky fully prepares for the fight, I still think fighting Drago is a dumb idea. Rocky is retired. He’s not as young as Drago. He’s physically smaller than Drago. And doesn’t Rocky still have problems seeing out of his right eye??

The fight between Rocky and Drago was difficult to watch. He had a whole country against him. I was afraid for Rocky’s life. Rocky, as usual, takes a beating, and it’s difficult for him to fight back due to drastic height difference. When Rocky wins the fight, he also wins over the hearts of most of the crowd and gives a unifying speech. I think it was pretty obvious that this movie drew from situations that were occurring in the real world between the United States and Russia. I think this is what made this fight so interesting to watch.

After Rocky I and II, this is my favorite Rocky film.

Movie Grade: A

Stay tuned for the next set of movies in this series!

Virgin Movie Binge Reviews — Rocky 1 and 2

Virgin Movie Binge Reviews – Rocky Balboa and Creed 1

Here’s our original review when Creed first came out: 

Movie Review – Creed

Virgin Movie Binge Reviews — Rocky 1 and 2

creed 2
Let the games begin…

Rocky is something I’ve heard about for all my life, but to be honest, I had never seen any Rocky films. The first Rocky related movie I watched was Creed in 2015, and I thought it was a pretty good movie. Now, as Creed 2 is about to be released, I took on a project to watch all of the Rocky films.  (We’ll enter this movie binge in two movie increments.)

Rocky (1976)

Wow! I am truly amazed at how amazing this movie is. I’m also really surprised at how a movie that is now more than 40 years old has such a great storyline and cinematography. I can only imagine how viewers at the time felt about it.

I think this first movie did character development very well. I think that Rocky is a very charismatic, charming, and funny character. He really allowed me to get sucked into the movie and really feel for the character of Rocky. In terms of movie theme, for a sports film about boxing there was very little time spent boxing. I will say that the boxing scenes were spectacular. I was cheering from my couch!

On top of this, I learned so much from Rocky: 1) A split decision does not mean it’s a tie! 2) There were 15 rounds (then) in a boxing match. 3) If a boxer is down for 10 seconds, then the other boxer wins the whole match (not just that round). 4) Rocky is a South Paw. Which means his left hand is his dominant fighting hand.

One question still unanswered: did Adrian truly believe that Rocky could hear her through the crowd and the reporters swarming him?? 🤔

Grade: A

Stay tuned for Rocky II. I’ll be adding these reviews here as I binge through the franchise.

Rocky II

The beginnings of this movie were exciting because it gave a recap of the previous movie. I think that’s a pretty cool technique. Even though I am binge watching and my memory of Rocky I is still fresh, I still found it helpful. I think many viewers would appreciate if all movies gave a recap of the previous movie, especially if a few years have passed.

This movie picked right back up where the last one ended. There’s a lot of scenes that don’t seem relevant to boxing in the beginning of this movie. About half of the movie is about character development and build up for the rematch between Rocky and Creed. It isn’t until an hour in until a rematch is even set. If Rocky wasn’t such an entertaining character this would have deterred me from continuing the movie.

The first half of the movie, Rocky carelessly spends his money and attempts to film commercials. But during the commercial filming, everyone learns that Rocky can’t read, which I think is the main driver for Rocky’s boxing interest in the first place. In this movie, Rocky isn’t too interested in boxing because he’s already proven that he can box to himself, but due to his inability to read and find a decent job, he feels he has no other option. The way he spends his money also adds to the storyline and to the character development of Rocky. He’s never had this much money before and yet he’s not afraid to spend on those who he loves. I find that to be pretty selfless. I also see more character development with Adrian in this movie. Frankly, I wasn’t too sure of Adrian’s purpose in the first movie, specifically because she didn’t have many lines, but as I continue watching, I see that her character is just shy and is slowly becoming her own woman.

When Rocky finally decides to go up against Creed again, I learned he has a significant blind spot in his right eye. He’s determined to fight, so he trained to use his right hand. Remembering that Rocky is a South Paw, I find this to be one heck of a strategy and also is very inspiring.

The funniest scene in my opinion is when Rocky stops to see his priest before his fight. He’s already late, but he drives up to the priest’s window and yells to ask for a blessing.

The fight scene at the end rivaled an actual fight, because it was longer and it wasn’t only a bunch of clips strung together. During the fight scene, Creed really brings his all. This isn’t a joke to him anymore, because Rocky has shaken his confidence in his title. I wasn’t too sure how things would end, and during that final round both Creed and Rocky got knocked down. I was once again on the edge of my seat. I wasn’t sure the direction the fight would go. I thought for sure Rocky was going to lose, and that would be the premise of Rocky III. What I loved most about this movie was the twist at the end, when everyone waits to see who will stand up in time.

Honestly, I have so much respect for both Rocky and Creed. You could see the exhaustion in both of them, but they both refused to give up.

Here’s a quiz question for the next time: What can you count on to happen in a Rocky film?

Grade: A

Stay tuned for the answer and for Rocky III!

Virgin Movie Binge Reviews – Rocky 3 and 4

Virgin Movie Binge Reviews – Rocky Balboa and Creed 1

And here is our original review when Creed first came out:

Movie Review – Creed

Movie Review – BlacKkKlansman

This movie has an A in my book. An amazing, classic Spike Lee joint. I think Spike Lee always knows how to draw an audience in using comedy, and hits them with very blatant, hard to discuss (but necessary) topics.

The movie is tied together very well. The ending scenes especially paint the picture for viewers to understand the status of America’s racial climate. I don’t think anyone walking into a Spike Lee film should be surprised at the level of honesty that the film tells, or the trueness the actors bring to the film’s characters.

Grade: A

About the Peetimes
This movie had an amazing mix of comedic and serious scenes.

Spike Lee does a great job at distinguishing what scenes are meant for laughter and what scenes are meant for silence.

Though not easy, I was able to get 4 Peetimes throughout the movie.

Movie Review – Blindspotting

I think this movie was great. The acting and lyrical performance of Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal were excellent. I hope there are nominations in their future.

The movie itself touched on the two serious topics of police shootings and gentrification. I like this movie because it discussed the dual effect that each topic has on various parties involved, how people are defined by the opinions of others, and how we are all victims of implicit bias.

Grade: A

About the Peetimes:
This movie was both funny and serious at times. Since the movie was short and there were so many scenes that had dual meanings to the theme of the movie, I did find it difficult to get Peetimes; I managed to get two: one about half way in and the other 20 minutes before the end of the movie.

 

Movie Review – Breaking In

[Note: Review written by RunPee volunteer Shani Ogilvie]

I think this movie was better than I expected it to be. Gabrielle Union, and most of the cast, had good acting.

I like how the movie didn’t waste time getting to the point. It had unexpected plots twists and wasn’t that predictable.

Though I appreciate the movie being reflective of the trailers, I wish they had given more of a backstory to the burglars. However, I still think the movie was good, even without it.

I do commend Gabrielle Union for being barefoot throughout most of the movie. Also, her endurance and strength in some of the scenes makes me want to start working out more and building up my own strength.

Grade: B

Movie Review – The Shape of Water

 

The Shape of Water is a great mix of romance, comedy, and action. The characters in the movie were all non-stereotypical, and each added another layer to the overall theme of the movie. Definitely see this in theaters.

Grade: A