Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Stallone Saturday: Holiday Edition

Ah December, time for Christmas decorations, Holiday movies and of course, eggnog. The origins of the thick, sweet, milk like drank are debated. Medieval English types used to drink posset, a beverage made with hot milk and the nog may have evolved from there. Popular with the aristocracy as it was only for those who could get milk, eggs and some booze like brandy it was also served as breakfast, sans alcohol. Back in the day the stuff was made with raw eggs but you can't do that no mo' cause of salmonella concerns. Apparently if you refrigerate alcoholic eggnog, the taste will mature over time. We picked up three kinds this past weekend to start the holiday party season off right along with Costco's delectable box of chocolate covered cookies. For the workout section of my brain, the heavy cream and egg based concoction evoked thoughts of Vince Gironda who advocated drinking raw cream mixed with free-range eggs to gain weight. But with a base of cream, sugar, eggs, spices and booze, eggnog, like the nutlog, is very heavy in calories and fat. So maybe limit yourself to a short glass a day to maintain the ol' figure.

Next week, on the night before Star Wars, we're checking out Heritage Auctions display of Sylvester Stallone memorabilia that includes the motorcycle ridden in Rocky III, boxing trunks, a Rambo machete, the electric chair from Lock Up, a Los Angeles Lakers NBA Championship ring gifted to Stallone by Shaquille O'Neal (?!) and much more. To prepare, the lady needed to be exposed to more Sly beyond The Expendables or Rocky sequels while sipping on some spiked eggnog. Our first view? 1982's iconic First Blood, based on the novel by David Morrell. Inspired by Morrell's interaction with returning from Vietnam veterans, First Blood tells the tale of John Rambo, a would be drifter pushed by a king-shit cop (Brian Dennehy) to shave and not display his affiliation with the Army. Just wanting something to eat, Rambo snaps and takes out a precinct full of cops before escaping to the wilderness and waging a one man war against the small town. It is revealed that Rambo is a decorated former Green Beret who has had difficulty adjusting to civilian life where people spit and protest those who put their lives on the line for their country. By the end scene break-down where Rambo recalls his friends dying and not being able to hold a job, the lady was shockingly surprised at the real/sad-ness of the film and that Stallone doesn't always come off as the dim witted but lovable palooka of Rocky. Acting! While First Blood's 90 minute, on the move runtime helped usher in a new era of action film; viewers tend to forget that only a handful of people die and they're not directly at the hands of the star.

While guys like Stallone and Arnold are remembered as over the top and cartoonish heroes due to their oversized muscles, egos, paychecks and personalities, it's easy to forget that they both got to the top the hard way. Stallone is a writer, director and painter who gave us dramatic efforts in the likes of Rocky, Nighthawks and F.I.S.T. but audiences only responded to his boxer from Philadelphia and Rambo roles. Schwarzenegger was perfectly cast as Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator but was smart enough to align himself with talented filmmakers like John Milius and James Cameron while amassing millions with a mail order business and real estate. With Stallone garnering award chatter for his role in Creed, it's nice to see him getting a little respect along with decades worth of worldwide fame and fortune.

In other Rambo news, it was recently announced that Fox was developing a new show to feature Stallone's John J. and his former-Navy Seal son. This seemed a bit strange as Fox was already working on an Expendables TV series. After four Rambo films and a long discussed fifth and final chapter, television seemed like an odd outlet but lots of movies are going to TV lately like Limitless, Rush Hour, Beverly Hills Cop, Minority Report, etc. With the original First Blood dealing with soldiers returning home to an unloving country, a new Rambo seemed like the perfect opportunity to shed light on the plight of current veterans returning home with emotional, mental and physical issues as they struggle with employment, injuries and homelessness. But word came out this week that while Stallone was in negotiations to participate as a producer and possible co-star, a deal was never made and the star has now stated he would have nothing to do with the project. Could he be holding out for a final feature film? So far we've heard rumors of a supernatural take based on James Byron Huggins' novel Hunter where Rambo would lead a crew of elite soldiers in an Antarctica set hunt of a hybrid man-prehistoric creature killer. Then there was word of Rambo returning home to Arizona and getting caught up with violent Mexican drug cartels. Neither iteration has come to fruition. We'll see what Sly does with the heat coming off of Creed, push out another leading man Expendables or find more thoughtful supporting roles in studio flicks. Until then, nothing is over! Nothing!

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