See a Film by Opening Your Eyes;

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When you watch a film, look for clues about the screenwriter’s spiritual journey. Open your eyes. Even¢â‚¬¦no especially, in Sylvester Stallone’s new film, “Rocky Balboa.”

I confess. When I saw a trailer for Sylvester Stallone’s “Rocky Balboa,” I groaned and leaned over and told my wife I was totally disinterested in seeing this tired old story make another round.

Two things have happened since then to open my eyes.

First, Allison Hope Weiner wrote a piece in the NYT’s describing the film as a thoughtful meditation on my generation’s reluctance to pass from the stage. In the interview Stallone unguardedly confesses: “An artist dies twice, and the second death is the easiest one,” Mr. Stallone said in speaking of his long fall from Hollywood’s pinnacle. “The artistic death, the fact you are no longer pertinent or that you’re deemed someone whose message or talent has run its course is a very, very tough piece of information to swallow.”

Mr. Stallone knows something about career devolution.

His brightest spots lately have been a turn as the toymaker in “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over” and his appearances on the reality boxing show “The Contender.”

He acknowledges that there were very few real film projects for him before “Rocky Balboa.”

But he was not yet ready to accept obsolescence, even if that meant risking ridicule by turning back to the past.

“Every generation runs its course, and they are expected to step aside for the next generation,” Mr. Stallone said. “My peers are going through it right now, and they feel they have much to contribute, but the opportunity is no longer there. They’re considered obsolete, and it’s just not true. This film is about how we still have something more to say.”

Being an older guy¢â‚¬¦I could relate to that. I realized maybe this film actually had something important to say.

Second. I was invited to listen in on an interview with Sylvester Stallone and he talked about his spiritual journey.

1) He talked about the themes of rebirth in the Rocky films commenting” “”No matter what, you can overcome your past¢â‚¬¦With help, if you look to God, you can overcome your past and be reborn.”

2) He talked about how when he wrote the first film he felt called to do so and viewed Rocky as a character following in the footsteps of Jesus. “It’s like he was being chosen, Jesus was over him, and he was going to be the fella that would live through the example of Christ. “He’s very, very forgiving. There’s no bitterness in him. He always turns the other cheek. And it’s like his whole life was about service.”

He pointed out that in the first scene in the original movie, there is a painting of Jesus looking down on Rocky in the boxing ring in a rundown gym

3) He talked about his own fall from faith: I was raised in a Catholic home, a Christian home, and I went to Catholic schools and I was taught the faith and went as far as I could with it. Until one day, you know, I got out in the so-called real world and I was presented with temptation. I kinda like lost my way and made a lot of bad choices.”

4) He talked about his own journey back to God: “The more I go to church,” he said, “and the more I turn myself over to the process of believing in Jesus and listening to His Word and having Him guide my hand, I feel as though the pressure is off me now.” “You need to have the expertise and the guidance of someone else. You cannot train yourself, I feel the same way about Christianity and about what the church is: The church is the gym of the soul.” “I needed to actually go through my trials and tribulations,” he said, “before I could be man enough to know how to write that kind of story that Rocky Balboa is.”

When you watch a film¢â‚¬¦open your eyes. Look for the story behind the screenwriter’s story.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in November 29, 2006 by | No Comments »

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