If somebody says Rocky IV, several things immediately strike a chord in my memory: Rocky inexplicably training for a fight by mainly splitting wood, Drago getting cut, Balboa weighing in on the Cold War in one of the more eloquent/succinct/easy to follow speeches of our generation, and of course…
Paulie & The Robot.
To catch you up to speed if you have never seen any of the Rocky franchise, Paulie was Rocky’s brother- in-law and quite possibly emblematic of everything a man should strive not to be.
When I reflect back to splitting wood with my dad in the cold New England winters, I wish his life lessons were simply power point presentations of things Paulie pulled. For the record, we used a splitter, and it was not nearly as labor intensive as Rocky’s training sequences in preparation for Drago. Anyway … Paulie pulled the following stunts throughout the Rocky movies:
- Threw a turkey into an alley in an homage to every grisly domestic scene in the history of time. On Thanksgiving night. But don’t worry, Paulie made sure to rip off a handsome turkey leg for himself before screaming at his sister to, “Go in the alley and eat the bird.”
- Got alarmingly drunk and hurled a liquor bottle into a pinball machine, only to be thrown in jail and attempt to fight Rocky, who bailed him out of jail.. who happens to be the same man decorating the Pinball machine.
- Somehow, through all of this, he emerged in Rocky V as the financial advisor to the Balboa family, and obviously lost all of Rocky’s money immediately. Seriously thou, how on Earth does Rocky agree to have Paulie weigh in on any financial decisions?
But none of this compares to most bizarre plot perhaps in the history of modern cinema.
Paulie and The Robot. Five scenes that somehow cavalierly glided through modern pop culture like a lizard on ice, unnoticed for decades.