(Whoops...Did B. Alan go giving away the end (hint, hint) to another blockbuster? What a douche!)
I dunno. Foxy Boxing. Bouncy Boxing. Pillow Boxing at the Viper Room with The Presidents of the United States midway through a Corey Lee-inspired champagne jam. Heavyweight. Middleweight. Lightweight. Chump.
Take that last epitaph and pound it into my tombstone, then bury me in Virginia City behind the Bucket of Blood Saloon. Over-eager hands are ready to chisel the word in deep. Senses keen, I can smell the want and need for my blood. Just lay me down on that sticky canvas and spit eulogies in loving tribute. Save all your kind words for the gold fillings you might be able to rip out of my teeth. After the show. I'm sure they'll buy you some sort of see-through poker visor, or whatever cheap piece of sh*t souvenir you can find there, in Nevada. How about a scorpion incased in molded plastic? I don't care what you get; I just hope you wear that six-dollar Mustang Ranch T-shirt in my honor. Honestly.
It's true. I've been challenged. To a fight. Of the knockdown, drag-out kind. It's a variation of esthetics, and it couldn't have come at a stranger time. Moments of grandeur have a tendency to lock themselves deep within your wicked bones. Suddenly, and without warning, God will point you in a direction you had no idea you were going to go.
I know absolutely nothing about boxing. I've never been too into sports. And I hate watching football. If you, dear friend, had suddenly appeared to me like a vision less than five days ago, holding up a pair of Lakers tickets and the promise of a date with (explicative removed for contractual reasons) in your left hand, and a Bruce Willis "Armageddon" action figure in the other, asking me to choose one...Guess what, I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'd elect The Willis and spend the next five days behind the couch, acting out the better parts of Blind Date with a Kim Basinger doll I fashioned from an old Carrie Fisher resin model circa 1979.
Oh, God, what had I done? I agreed to a boxing match. In a ring. Against some crazy f*cker that could kill me with one hard-fingered, stroke-provoking blow. It would be sudden death. Though, I'll admit, the guy is kind of slow. I think he's out of shape (that's me taunting him now; do you sense foreshadowing?). Still, I'm no match for his vicious fist. I'm fat and weak. I haven't walked more than two blocks in the last three years. And to top it off, I will be the equivalent of Clubber Lang. I will be Apollo Creed. Yes, people are going to come from miles around, maybe even other countries, to boo my unapologetic ways. And see me get my ass kicked. CC is the Rocky Balboa of this fight. He's the hero, and I'm the villain. It's my fault. I set myself up to fail.
Yeah. I did it too myself again.
Christ on a cracker! I've never hurried over to a friend's house to watch Mike Tyson on HBO. The swing of a gloved-fist never excited me before. I didn't really know what to do. So, I sat there, thinking. Hmm? I could use a hobby. I like to punch.
No, strike that.
I love to punch. Hard. Things. Walls. My fist is made of iron, and I've never lost an arm wrestling contest. The Punch is my best buddy. A friend. The only thing that's ever wanted to love me in the middle of the night. F*ck girls and kisses. If I somehow dug myself from this pit of self-loathing and managed to land a real honest-to-goodness girlfriend, and she decided to leave for a moth's vacation, I wouldn't want those lips against my cheek. The soft tissue breeze past skin often sings, but it never sticks around. The sensation would be gone within the hour (unless she was prone to eating dirt). That kind of love leaves no mark. I'd rather she punched me in the back, or in the arm, or in the eye, hard, because (I've said this before and I'll say it again, God goddamn it) a bruise lasts longer than a hug or a kiss...
So, Off I went. Sweet. Awesome. Oh, f*ck. I'm going to be a boxer, and I had no idea. Now, you might be wondering, since I've yet to divulge this information, why would CC want to punch me in the face, and then challenge me to a boxing match in the first place? Well, because it's true. I'm a jerk. "Someone please forgive me, before this gets out of hand...Oh, it already has, never mind then." That's my nightly prayer to God, but I doubt he's listening.
You see, back in August, I was invited to this Bouncy Boxing party at the Comedy K-Hole. By a wonderful group of individuals. I love them all, and think they're the best thing since sweet corn on pizza. I especially like Pedro. He's a cute kid. And the one they call Shizzlebaum, or some such sh*t; the whale shark, high-fivin' mother-f*cker? He is "The Awesome". My favorite. Honestly.
Suffice it to say, I sat there, chugging that beer, pondering the alternative. Fatty Hatepunch vs. The Limey (aka Oceans) would be a fun and uneventful match. A sight for the faithful standing by the keg, at a loss for words and waiting for something slightly exciting to watch. But Fatty Hatepunch vs. CC? That fight was in Mega-Surreal land. I wasn't so sure it was a good idea. Maybe I'd just crawl into that bloated pool floater and lie down. Throw the fight after a few swift uppercuts to the jaw. Let the good folks at the Comedy K-Hole get what they came for...
this is not B. Alan Orange!But that mean Bud Lite was starting to light me up. Call it my eighteenth cup. Not to mention the fact I'd drank a whole box of Miller High Light 8s before we'd arrived (cause, in Echo Park, we don't drink 40s, we drink 8s). And two Guinness's. And a couple of hard liquor highballs. Thing is, I drink Soju on a regular basis, so this amount of consumption wasn't really tweaking my senses. Until that eighteenth cup. I started swearing at a level only Lee could hear, "Who does he think he is? CC? That guy's a mother f*cker. F*ck him. The asshole."
I pulled my Fatty Hatepunch mask out of my back pocket. I stared at it. Now I knew how Doc Ock and Dr. Doom felt. Destined to fail, but worth the effort in trying. It became my destiny, sitting in that chair, to become the Bad Guy Villain. A hittable foe. I was cool with it. Then I continued to sit there, and self-deliberate. Like one too many super villains in our time, I got ahead of myself and my beer. I made the inappropriate decision that I could, in fact, beat the Hero. My confidence suddenly rose to unreachable heights...
Lee pointed to the card. I was next in line. I knew what I had to do. One more Bud Lite and World Domination would be mine. I sauntered over to the keg. Three of the hottest bitches I've ever seen stood there, dunking the tap. My mouth was up to no good. I started blathering on and on, calling them, "Stupid." And "Jerk." And "Dummy." Because I think its funny to watch peoples reactions to my inherent insensitivity (Really, lets face it, I simply don't want new friends; and these girls were a stadium full of cheering fans out of my league). This black dude strolls up. The mother f*cker is thick. One soft slap to the forearm and I'd be bruised for a decade. He told me he "worked" on Deadwood, whatever that means. "I don't f*cking care! I hate that f*cked up show!"
He looked at me, shocked. The girls thought it was kind of funny. He asked me, with complete sincerity, "Do you act on that show? You sure remind me of someone that does."
"F*ck no, I'm not on that show!"
"No! That's Everwood." The shame. He slinked away, angered and ready to turn on me like a copperhead snake. The girls stayed, though. Which was weird. I was in an unfortunate alternate universe. One kooze, the sexy blonde in the cowboy hat, turned to the fridge and pulled an ice-cold bottle of Smirnoff Citrus Twist from its frosty innards. Yum. They each took a sip. Then the cowgirl slammed a plastic keg cup down on the bar. She filled it damn near to the top. I was too stupidly blitzed to see that a cruel joke was being played on me. "Here, Jerk. I dare you to drink that."
No problem. Ha. I tipped that sucker back and downed seven ounces of Vodka in three swallows. What a show pony. That's about six and a half shots for those counting. "Fatty Hatepunch!" Was called into the ring. Time froze. I blacked out from the moment I left those cunts to the moment I was in that bounce house. A huge portion of time is missing, and the events after this are foggy.
I got a glass of water from somewhere. I thought I was stealing it from him. The idea of defeated villain reigned supreme in my mind. I took that treasured gift of refreshing liquid, then bounced back over to the side of the ring, raised a toast, and screamed at the on-looking crowd, "I hate you all!"
It was a joke. They didn't get it. I blacked out again. Somehow, eyes openly unconscious, I'd made it to a bush in front of the house. My body reacted badly to those ten excruciating moments of exercise, and the gut evacuated itself with much aplomb. Sh*t came out of me that I hadn't seen in a week; sure sobered up my psyche. Except for a few selected chapter stops locked in the brain, I couldn't quite recall what had just happened. I went back to the party with a smile. Now, imagine Spider-Man defeating The Green Goblin after a city-destroying brawl, then Norman Osborn shows up for the celebration in honor of Spidey, ready to mingle and drink. Yeah, that's the same reception I got. Those cruisers refused to acclimate me back into their tiny society. I was shunned as an outcast. Oh, well. Oceans of Lee still wanted to hang out with me. All in all, I really didn't have that bad a time.
Cut to: Five months later. I'm in a gym, trying to do more than four push-ups without puking and collapsing. At the moment, it seems like an impossible task. I wonder if this is what its like for most Super Villains? They retire. The hero calls them back in secret, "Come on, dude. I'm bored, I've got nothing to do." They urge the bad guy back into another fight, even though he doesn't want to go. That's me right now. I don't want to go. But I have to. It's the outlaw's duty to make the male protagonist a thing of want and beauty. Okay, fine. I'll play my role. But f*ck all you mother f*ckers that want to see me hit the mat in two. I'm not going down like that. This time, I'm the underdog. And I'm going to go the whole fifteen rounds...
Last week, I couldn't walk after doing fifty deep-knee bends. I fell down the stairs, and still cry in pain when I have to hike from the front door of my apartment to the car. Which is only a few feet away. This exercise business is for the dogs. After two days of training, which consisted mainly of bringing my atrophied muscles out of retirement, I thought about throwing in the towel. If I just hid in my shoebox apartment, no one would know the difference. None of my friends, with the exception of (expletive removed for contractual reasons), knows where I live, anyway. And I doubt if he even remembers how to get here.
But that adrenaline rush. Training: It makes my eyeballs burn so good.
I'd never watched Rocky before. Ever. I remember seeing Part III at the theater with my parents as a kid, but it never interested me. And I saw bits and pieces of Part V on Showtime, but I didn't really understand the importance of what was going on. What are the odds of this set showing up in the midst of my boxing training? Insurmountable. I mean, less than two years ago, MGM released, what was supposed to be, the definitive Rocky collection on DVD. Why again? The first set had a ton of special features. This new box is lean and mean, like I'll be in a couple of weeks. A real fighter; all of its extra bit space has been used to utilize the redigitized picture. I originally bought the Special Edition version of Rocky I back when it came out on April 24th, 2001. It has since sat unwatched on my overcrowded shelf.
Oh, and that climatic fight is uber-spectacular. It literally lifted me out of my dead chair. Sure, I knew the outcome well in advance. I'd heard a million times before that Rocky lost the title match to Apollo, a fact that makes it one of the more unique and intriguing sports movies in history. A film about the underdog achieving personal glory is just what I needed. Tell me you don't want to go fist slabs of meat after end credits roll.
What struck me most about the piece was how alike in structure it is to Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2. This isn't really a story about boxing. It's about relationships, first and foremost. As Peter Parker said in the opening frames of Sam Raimi's masterpiece, "It's about a girl." The best thing I've done in the last year is sit down and watch Rocky I. I thank the DVD Gods for sending it to my door. My whole outlook on training has changed. The very next day, sitting on the floor of that gym, I even amazed Tuj. Yeah. I broke a sweat. He was so impressed; he let me punch around on the speed bag. It came as my first step into a larger world. Look out; the bad guy just might come up on top! Fatty Hatepunch may someday rule the world!
Rocky II is an extension of the main theme. Flourishing relationships continue to be more important than the required sport. Boxing comes as a life wage. A means of making money. Just as in the first outing, we only get one real fight. Which comes at the end, clocking in at a healthy 30 minutes. What we've seen transpire between Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, and Burgess Meredith is what makes this climatic bout worth its weight in gold. We want to see Rocky win. He has to win. And the choreography succeeded in wringing a year full of inspired cheers deep from inside my rust-covered lungs. Rocky's fight against Apollo Creed is bigger this time, in every way. Their burly brawl is a thousand times more inspired than anything seen in the Matrix trilogy. It literally had me on the edge of my couch cushion, and it encouraged me to step up my game even more on the floor of that musty fight academy gym the following day.
That very night, I opened my mailbox to find a screening pass.
Eastwood is awesome. He's my favorite actor, aside from Godzilla, and I had no idea he was making another film. It was a secret. He'd been keeping it from me. I guess. When I found out that it, too, was about the sport of boxing, I was enthralled. It truly must be a sign from Heaven. Maybe the pits of Hell? Its gotta be one of the two. Its gotta be...There's really no other explanation...
Right before driving to the Arclight to watch Million Dollar Baby, I started my track regime. 2 laps a day, adding an extra lap every succeeding week. By the time I found my seat, I was tired, out of breath, and ready to be inspired all over again. I really had no idea what to expect from Clint. I hadn't even seen a trailer. I knew Hillary Swank was playing a female boxer, and thoughts of Girlfight danced in my head.
Well, as you know, the film has already opened since the day I first saw it. Critics have gone en mass, collectively, extrapolating the somewhat obvious note: "This is not a boxing film." That's the same thing I just said about Rocky. They continue to scream this obvious thematic stance my way. I digress. That's the popular vote, and I understand the Father-Daughter intricacies more than you will ever know. But I think, and believe, that it is a "boxing" film. A great one. That just happens to be dealing with something much wider and deeper than the art of swinging punches.
I mean, come on. The girl-on-girl fight scenes in this hulking beast are awesome. The swift thump and triple knockout treat that Swank delivers in the ring come as some of the best-choreographed cat fights ever captured on film. They pumped blood into my heart. Up until a point. I never saw the end coming. It was as if I was having a hell of a time on a Disneyland ride, and then the cart in front of me bucked off the tracks, smashing into my face. Killing me on impact (if you haven't seen the film yet, you may want to stop reading). I couldn't believe what I was watching on film. The devastation ran deep into my sweating skin. I honestly thought I feel asleep, and was having some kind of weird, horrible nightmare.
I walked home, my upper thighs throbbing from the renewed workouts. I couldn't shake the film's third act from my brain. "God, what if something happens during my fight with CC? What if I break my neck, too? I'll probably want to chew off my own tongue. Just like Hillary Swank did. It seems like the only true way to go." I honestly like the overall message of Million Dollar Breezy. It is so perfectly summed up in an earlier scene. I think a lot of people miss it. Eastwood tells his young protg that the only way to stop the bleeding of an injury is to injury it again. His young buck of a boxer has been punched in the face. The skin is split. The seepage won't stop. Red is gushing down the black man's cheek. The referee is going to call the fight. The only way to stop the perfuse leakage, and continue on to win the match, is to have his opponent punch him really good, right in the same open wound, once again. You can literally feel the textured vinyl of that boxing glove against the poor kid's face...
The film is a poetic jazz riff that plays like one of Eastwood's best improvisational exchanges. A truly remarkable film; suddenly, winning this upcoming boxing match didn't seem like such a big deal after sitting through its massive weight. Though, that was before I went home and watched Rocky 3 and 4.
Yeah, I had to climb through that entire boxset! And I've got to tell you, it's been worth it.
I'm not kidding. Rocky III, while it pertains to be an audience-pleasing bit of fluff, is an art film at heart. Watch what Sly does here. The opening 15 minute Prologue comes as a straight-ahead montage. This has never been done before or since. It was here that Stallone really updated and reworked this visionary editing technique into what it is today. Without his contribution to the art form, Jerry Bruckheimer and his denizen stable of directors wouldn't even exist.
More than anything, Rocky III is about friendship. Yes, once again, a human correlation is scrutinized and solidified. At the core base of the film is this powerful love and trust agreement. And the edge is scuttled ever so subtly. As you know, Mick dies after being pushed by Clubber Lang. This destroys Rocky's heart. We see a strong adoration between two individuals; a father and son rapport that is as detailed as the father-daughter relationship explored in Million Dollar Baby. Except, here, we see a delicate tolerance between religions that is never fully exploited. Rocky, being Italian, is a Catholic. We often see him going to the window of the local church. And he always kneels in prayer before a fight. His manager Mickey is Jewish. We know this because there is a Star of David on his grave. They're formidable bond exceeded any bounds of religion, and when studying the first three films, this is quite evident. Sh*t, The Big Lebowski won an award for Jewish Tolerance in Film (The Bar Kochba Award) because of the relationship between Walter and the Dude. I think Rocky 3 represents that aspect a little healthier. Yet, we never here the subject of religious leniency discussed in terms of Rocky's legacy. That's a real shame.
"He might win. But to win, he's going to have to kill me. And to kill me, he's going to have to stand over me with as much heart as I have. And to have as much heart as I have, he's going to have to be willing to die."
That sh*t's tight. Though, it almost doesn't make up for the Rocky IV midpoint montage that lasts the length of two Metal Ballads. Yeah, after Apollo dies, Rocky gets in his corvette and drives around, thinking about all the past films. We see clips from every moment of Rocky's life to date. It's a laughable type of genius, and this one prolonged scene solidified my status as a truehearted Rocky fan. I enjoyed it, what can I say?
One of the things we see throughout the course of the Rocky series is a great personal respect for friends and family. By the end of Rocky III, Apollo and Balboa are friends. Good friends. Best friends. Friends that would die for each other. I sat for a long time, thinking about this. Sure, the fight between CC and I is going to come like the end of Rocky II. But the only inevitable conclusion is that CC and Fatty Hatepunch become friends before that 3rd brutal bloodbath. Good Time Buddies, at the very least. But the man seems so naturally animalistic. A ripper. A thief...
I wasn't so sure that we could sit in good company. And be compassionate towards each other. Then a Christmas miracle happened. I ran into CC on Christmas Eve. We shared drinks. We laughed. I came to the realization that he's a pretty awesome guy. He truly is the Rocky Balboa to my Apollo Creed. I do sense a time in the future. It truly is inevitable. But for now, while I continue my Jedi training, we're going to have to remain archenemies. That's the way sh*t works. Even though I'm truly busting my ass, I predict he'll win. Because he is the hero...
But after all the fight hoopla dies down, I can visualize myself training him to be the best there ever was. Together, we'll knock down Shizzlebaum and Pedro. And then, I'll either fall in the ring and break my neck against the keg I was sitting on, or I'll be pummeled to death by some giant Iraqi in an exhibition bout at the K-Hole.
CC will have to fight in Iraq to defend the honor and name of Fatty Hatepunch!
It'll be great.
Or, in this case, the cutout eyehole of a used toilet seat cover. It seems thatHollywood is going my way, too. They plan to keep me inspired by releasing theRon Howard mega-opus Cinderella Man later this year. I just watched the trailertoday, and it looks like another boxing masterpiece. Though, once again, I'msure most critics will claim it's not really about the art of boxing. F*ck them,that's bullsh*t. I'll admit; it does look very inspirational. I think I'll saveviewing it until the night before the big fight. Yeah. That's what I'll do.
Until then, when ever I feel myself waning, and wanting to give up, I'll just pop the Simple Life 2 into my DVD player. I hate it, and it makes me want to punch things. Sometimes, when I'm at practice, I'll just stand in front of that speed bag and pretend its one of those two cunts' faces.
Thump, thump, thump...
I can't wait for summertime to get here.
Before I go, I have one question about Million Dollar Baby...Why is Morgan Freeman reading that comic book?
Go see Million Dollar Baby. Buy the Rocky Anthology. Wait in line for Cinderella Man. Punch The Simple Life 2 DVD every time you visit Best Buy. Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to go down to the bus stop and yell at the "Will Smith is Hitch" poster. And then run a few laps in the back of a meat freezer...
I can already tell that I'm going to hate that goddamn Will Smith movie. With a passion...
Dont't forget to also check out: Rocky