Going toe-to-toe on this pugilistic episode of the Popzara Podcast is challenger Nate “Editor Guy” Evans and special guest Joe Leydon, the triple-threat returning champ who writes, teaches and – on occasion – writes reviews and lists for Variety.com. We say pugilistic because he’s ranked every movie in the long-running Rocky franchise, from the 1976 Oscar-winning original to the recent Creed 2, a sequel within a sequel serving as both the eighth Rocky and second Creed film, continuing the parallel sagas of both Rocky Balboa and Adonis Creed as they face off against a returning Ivan Drago and his monstrously huge scion Viktor in a clash the film itself calls Shakespearean.
It’s the sequel to the unashamedly patriotic Rocky IV you never knew you wanted, which leads us to Joe’s ranking of all 8 films in the Rocky/Creed Saga, a list sure to please some, outrage others and help remind everyone else that a 50+ year career talking and reviewing films earns you plenty of opinions. Even wrong ones like Rocky II!
Together, Nate and Joe take an exhaustive look at every film, from critical darlings to the most reviled, showing how a 42-year-old franchise may be the most narratively complete in Hollywood history. On tap are fun insider stories about Sylvester Stallone (possibly the most resilient talent in Hollywood), why Rocky V isn’t the worst of the bunch, the redemption of Ivan Drago (and Dolph Lundgren), the power of AOR montages, cowboys and Red Dead Redemption 2, the 2013 “unofficial” Rocky/Raging Bull crossover Grudge Match, and the wild similarities – and critical contrasts – between Rocky and that of a galaxy far, far away.
Read more of Joe Leydon’s pity thoughts on film and Hollywood happenings at his constantly updated Twitter at @JoeLeydon or on his criminally non-updated The Moving Picture Blog. He’s still wrong about Rocky II – but nobody’s perfect.