What The Hell Happened To Sylvester Stallone?

sylvester stallone

After knocking around Hollywood for a few years, Sylvester Stallone broke through in 1976 with one of the most beloved movies of the era. It went on to win some awards and make its title character an icon. Six years later, he would move into the role of another iconic character. Stallone rode both these characters to much box office success throughout the 80s. But when he tried to move beyond those franchises the results were either disastrous or ignored. At one point, he was on the verge of being exiled to direct to video territory and the only thing that saved him was to first bring back the two franchises for one more round, then start a whole new one.

What the hell happened to Sylvester Stallone?

As I researched this article I started to suspect that if Stallone could be compared to any other actor or director covered in the What The Hell Happened series it would be Eddie Murphy. The pattern is similar: Massive success followed by a downturn, comeback followed by another downturn. And so on.

Once I started to look closely I realized how accurate that comparison is.

Sylvester Stallone was born on July 6 1946 in New York City. His father was a hairdresser, a profession young Sly once considered (“Yo Adrian! Where’s the trimmer and shampoo?”). According to rumor, his father once told him that he wasn’t that smart and needed to rely on his physique and toughness as a way to succeed.

Here’s an interesting fact from Wikipedia:

Complications his mother suffered during labor forced her obstetricians to use two pairs of forceps during his birth; misuse of these accidentally severed a nerve and caused paralysis in parts of Stallone’s face

That explains his perpetual scowl and mush-mouthed dialogue delivery.

After graduating from high school, he attended College at Miami-Dade College and The University Of Miami before dropping out.

Stallone’s first acting role was in a 1970 porno movie called The Party At Kitty And Stud’s. Stallone played Stud. The film was later re-released under the title The Italian Stallion after the success of Rocky.

Note: The following trailer is not safe for work viewing.

I’ve never actually seen it. But considering that it was a porno film released in what was the golden age of porno films according to the brilliant film Boogie Nights, it might be worthwhile. Seeing as Mark Wahlberg was in Boogie Nights, it might be worthwhile to see Stallone with his own Funky Bunch that is.

stallone - bananas

In 1971, Stallone had a small, non-speaking role in Woody Allen’s revolutionary comedy, Bananas.  Stallone played a thug on a subway.  The entire scene is silent-movie style comedy.

stallone - no place to hide

In 1972, Stallone landed a lead role in a thriller called No Place To Hide. I had not heard of this film prior to researching this article and I doubt many readers have either.  The only trailer I could find had no sound.

According to Wikipedia:

The film is about New York in the late 1960s; a politically motivated group of students plans bombings of company offices who do business with dictators in Central American countries. But when they contact a known terrorist and bombing specialist, the FBI gets on their track.

stallone - lords of flatbush

Next up for Stallone was 1974′s The Lords Of Flatbush. This film was a look back at Brooklyn Teenagers in 1959, a sort of harder, grittier American Graffiti if you will. Stallone co-starred with Perry King and the man we would soon know as Arthur “Fonz” Fonzarelli, aka Henry Winkler. Lords Of Flatbush also marked Stallone’s first go at screenwriting; reportedly he did a dialogue polish on it. In a fnal note of trivia, Richard Gere was originally also cast in the movie. But according to Wikipedia, after he nearly came to blows with Stallone, he was sent packing.

You can watch the whole movie here:

stallone - capone

In 1975, Stallone would go on to play Frank Nitti in the Roger Corman produced Capone. This movie was of course about the real life Prohibition-era gangster.  Having not seen it I can’t vouch for how Stallone’s Nitti stood up to the one in Brian De Palma’s 1987 classic The Untouchables.

stallone - death race 2000

Stallone would take on a couple more supporting roles in the Raymond Chandler adaptation Farewell My Lovely and the 1975 exploitation classic of sorts Death Race 2000.

Death Race 2000 was another Corman flick.  The film’s dystopian future (set in the far-off year 2000, naturally) involves a murderous Transcontinental Road Race which is broadcast to entertain the masses.   David Carradine starred as the lead racer, Frankenstein.  Stallone played a gangster (sensing a theme here?) named  “Machine Gun” Joe Viterbo.  His car had a giant knife and mounted machine guns.

Despite negative reviews (Roger Ebert gave it zero out of four stars), Death Race 2000 was a hit at the box office.  It has grown a cult following over the years.  Eventually, even Ebert came to respect the movie calling it a “great tradition of summer drive-in movies.”

In 2008, Death Race 2000 was remade as Death Race starring  Jason Statham.  The remake was not well-received, but it did inspire two direct-to-video sequels.

Next: Rocky

Posted on February 12, 2014, in Movies, What the Hell Happened?, WTHH Actor, WTHH Director and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 40 Comments.

  1. cinemarchaeologist

    Another way in which FIRST BLOOD is different from the book is that Rambo was a lot more screwed up in the book. It was set in rural Arkansas, rather than the Pacific Northwest, and took place while the Vietnam war was ongoing. Rambo, in the book, is the war the U.S. has unleashed abroad coming back home to haunt it. Whereas in the film, Rambo takes great pains not to kill anyone, he freely and gruesomely slaughters his pursuers in the book. The movie replicates the book in nearly every other respect, but this change makes it a very different take on the subject. In the book, Rambo flattens the town at the end in much the same way as he does in the movie, but it isn’t an evacuated town–he probably kills 200 people in the process. By the end, Rambo is dying from the accumulation of injuries he’s suffered and Trautman, who is a much more sinister figure than in the film, shoots him in the back of the head at the end. It’s a very good book that I’ve always thought deserved a remake. The problem is that nearly everything else in the existing film is replicated so closely and pulled off so well that any new screen version would inevitably seem inferior.

    (Another change is that Rambo escaped the police station in the book right after his “shower,” and he’s buck naked–he bashes some cops, grabs up his knife and charges out the door, the idea being to illustrate his resourcefulness–he’s almost like a force of nature. Another bit of trivia: the film was originally developed for Steve McQueen before he died.)

    • Great stuff. I remember my brother owned the novelization of Rambo: First Blood Part 2. He was a huge fan of Stallone. I don’t think he ever read the original First Blood though.

  2. Wonderful write-up of Stallone, Jeff. You certainly hit all the key spots of his career. Rocky, of course, is the magnum opus of his career, and it rightfully (in my opinion) deserved the Oscar for Best Picture. One thing worth mentioning that you might want to add to the article is that Stallone was actually nominated for Best Actor for Rocky, a worthy accomplishment in anyone’s career. Moving ahead a few years, 1985 is definately, at least career wise, his biggest year. I think many people tend to forget how much of a cultural phenomenon Rambo 2 was at the time. It’s interesting that Rocky IV was the third highest grossing film of 1985, and Rambo 2 was the second, with Back To The Future at #1, giving Stallone two of the top 3 hit films of the year. Not many actors ever have that level of success in one year. With such a long article, there’s too much to comment on in one post, but again very good job Jeff.

    • Great points. I’m getting ready to read/edit this article myself. So I’ll incorporate the Best Actor nom as I do so. There’s also one key credit most people forget about (a non-speaking pre-rocky role for a major director) that I plan to add in. There is no denying that in the mid-80′s, Stallone was huge. It wasn’t until the last 80s that he was eclipsed by Ah-nold.

  3. cinemarchaeologist

    I don’t know if the Murphy comparison really works in the case of Stallone. After Murphy’s initial star waned, he never had another period of superstardom that could remotely compete with it. Stallone has scattered hits after his prime years, but mostly made a lot of rubbish, and he was at that direct-to-video level of output well before he almost fell into it literally. He has reinvented himself in a major way in the last few years and has become genuinely interesting–more interesting, in fact, than he’s ever been. So add old action stars to politicians, ugly buildings, and whores for things that become respectable if they last long enough. I’ll take your word for it on the DeNiro boxing picture–it looked pretty awful–but just about everything else he’s done since ROCKY BALBOA (a very good and almost great little movie) has been miles ahead of the stuff he was doing for so many years. He matured as a filmmaker at a time when action pictures had become pathetically weak PG-13 tea; here he comes, an old-school classic, bringing back the pain just when it was needed. RAMBO wasn’t just a great gore-fest; it was an utterly nihilistic reinvention of the character. No more flag-waving and “do we get to win this time” bullshit–Rambo frankly admits to himself that he’s a killer whose past pretentions of patriotic fervor were just that. You do that flick a great injustice when you compare it to an over-the-top-of-the-top Reaganite shitfest like RAMBO III (which is only interesting now because of its political content–after a paradigm shift, it’s heroes and helpless victims are now the enemy). It more closely resembles some Ruggero Deodato jungle movie or Rambo in the Coppola’s version of the heart of darkness. Stallone has taken to doing commentaries on his movies, and I strongly recommend those on ROCKY BALBOA, RAMBO, and THE EXPENDABLES; they gave me an all-new respect for the man and his work.

    • I have to admit, I have never been a Stallone fan. But you can’t help but respect the guy. He’s a self-made movie star who has hung in there much longer than seems possible through sheer tenacity and reinvention. I haven’t seen much of Stallone’s recent output. But Rocky Balboa was an extremely pleasant surprise. After that travesty of Rocky V, it was great to see the Italian Stallion get a proper send-off.

      Now you have me wanting to sit down and watch Rambo – a movie I have skipped countless times.

      • I 100% agree. You (generally speaking) may not like his movies or think he’s talented, but you have to respect the way he came onto the scene in a BIG, big way (his fight to get Rocky made was like his own little, real life Rocky), and how he’s managed to stay relevant (for the most part) in the industry for as long as he has. Neither of those things is any small feat and are both admirable. I’m more a fan of the man than his work (though Rocky is one of my all-time favorite movies and is one of those gems that really stands up through repeated watchings), but he’s definitely earned all that he’s reaped.
        For me, Rocky is enough to cement Stallone’s status. He did an amazing thing with that movie, not only creating an iconic character that everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock since 1976 is familiar with but really capitalizing on, popularizing and owning the underdog story. He made movie history, in more ways than one, and, while he’s had a successful career, it’s a shame nothing he did ever came close to the magic he created in that movie.
        Though, I do agree that Rocky Balboa was a fitting, fantastic end to the Rocky story, and, really, should’ve been the fifth installation in that franchise. Rocky V was such an abomination. I REALLY loved the reality and grittiness that he brought to the story, showing the “after” and the flip side of his athletic bouts. It had SUCH great potential, and I really appreciate what he tried to do with it. It just took so many wrong turns, both with the script and casting. Rocky Balboa is what Rocky V COULD have and SHOULD have been, and I was really pleasantly surprised with it. The depth and poignancy of both those movies makes Stallone’s other movies/the rest of his career so frustrating sometimes. He’s clearly capable of writing amazing movies that illicit a great response from audiences which makes me wonder why he doesn’t do it more often. I understand that his bread and butter is with his action movies, but he’s had great success with his more “human” movies, as well.
        Regardless, I’ve found most of Stallone’s movies to be entertaining, and I’m, for the most part, always game to watch something he’s been in. I still get excited when he does something new, and I look forward to the rest of his cinematic offerings. :)

  4. Wow, Jeff, that was EPIC! I mentioned before you wrote the article that I was personally intimidated by Stallone’s massive filmography. But you handled it exceptionally well. You even cracked me up quite a few times.

    I did add a few tweaks here and there. Like Stallone, I can’t help putting my stamp on things – at least when it comes to WTHH (my own personal Rocky and Rambo). All in all, you’ve done the series proud.

  5. I will love Demolition Man to the end of my days, no matter how many times I realize how horrible it truly is. It has gone beyond guilty pleasure for me. I still own my VHS copy and I refuse to listen to the mocking when it’s noticed on my shelf.

    • Whenever I think about Demolition Man, I think about the time I ate at Planet Hollywood and was seated under this:

      • Wow, that looks incredibly life-like! Did Planet Hollywood actually capture Stallone and lock him in a glass case to hang above patrons, or what?

        • No. At the time, I think Stallone was bussing tables. ;)

          I completely lost my appetite worrying that Stallone’s ass would come crashing down on my buffalo wings.

          • LOL I was going to ask how you ATE with that over your HEAD. Just the picture is disconcerting; I couldn’t imagine that hanging above me as I tried to get a meal down. Yikes!

    • It’s one of my guilty pleasure faves. There are a lot of goofy movies that I love ranging from Smoky And The Bandit to the aforementioned Demolition Man to Rat Race to Sahara. To me, these are more enjoyable than big budget nothings like Judge Dredd or Battlefield Earth.

      • Anything is better than Judge Dredd and Battlefield Earth.

        The first time I saw Demo Man, I had unreasonably high expectations. I had heard the script was very clever. But it was more of a Stallone movie than I was expecting. Like you said in the article, when you hire the Itallian Stallion,you’re in the Stallone business. I recently rewatched Demo Man and enjoyed it as a relic of a bygone era. It has aged poorly, which ironically makes it more enjoyable. Funny given that is kind of a theme of the movie.

  6. I’ve always been a fan of Stallone. If you’re a fan of the action genre, as I am, then you just automatically wind up a Stallone fan, since he sure made his fair share of enjoyable action filcks. During his peak in the 80′s, he really was one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, and I don’t think that’s an exageration. After the excellent Cliffhanger and Demolition Man films in ’93, a series of mediocre films throughout the mid-to-late 90′s gradually ruined his career to the point where he was relegated to direct-to-video land, and honestly I presumed that was permanent, career over. Really, who ever comes back from that? When I heard rumblings of Stallone wanting to do one final Rocky, even I rolled my eyes and thought to myself, “Oh, please, give it a rest already”. What Rocky Balboa turned out to be was a film that was far better than I could’ve anticipated. It was a very warm, touching film, reminescent of the first two Rocky films, and the film (you could say Stallone himself) had something important to say. It served as a great capper to the Rocky series, and I was pleased to see the film become a hit.

    With that film, along with Rambo and the Expendables series, Stallone has given himself one hell of a comeback, matter of fact it’s one of the more impressive comebacks I’ve seen in my lifetime. Ok, it may not be as impressive as John Travolta’s comeback after Pulp Fiction (I still consider that the greatest comeback ever), but still I look at it this way: Stallone was already 60 when he made Rocky Balboa, and how often do actors of that age ever have a big comeback, let alone become a leading man again? Travolta’s comeback was bigger, but in a certain way Stallone’s was a bit more impressive: Travolta’s comeback happened when he was 40, whereas Stallone was 60. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another actor that had a sustained comeback as a leading man in their 60′s.

    • I was never a Stallone fan. But the oldest of my younger brothers was the biggest Stallone fan in the world. He used to watch Rocky III and Over the Top on VHS every day after school. Who watches Over the Top more than once? Stallone’s biggest fan, that’s who. I remember falling asleep in Rambo III. I didn’t want to see it, but my brother didn’t want to go alone so he bought my ticket.

      But even I have to admit, Stallone’s comeback is amazing. Any kind of comeback in your 60s is impressive. But Stallone was so far gone. No one thought he could do it. It was a real underdog story. Story of his life.

  7. how are you lebeau? I’ve been checking out your Stallone article and you’re right. Stallone has done great and worse movies over the years but he never ceases to amaze me same with Schwarzenegger as well. I like that Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Van Damme, Dolph Lundgren, Mel Gibson, etc., take pride in their work as an action star and aren’t greedy with money or hypocritical of nostalgic franchises like Bruce Willis and Kurt Russell. Bruce Willis is so greedy that his last die hard didn’t do so well and that he was more of a sidekick in that than the hero in the rest of them. He wanted a bigger salary for the third expendables film like 4 million dollars instead of three million which shows that Willis has lost his mind, mojo and edge and that he is arrogant and not fun to be around with on set despite all the rumors from directors and actors who refuse to work with him. Kurt Russell, he is such a hypocrite he would rather do fast and furious 7 than do expendables 3 or 4. the Expendables movies were made for 80s and 90s action stars like him who made it big. the man worked with Stallone on Tango and Cash and Mel Gibson on Tequila Sunrise and even Stallone and Gibson are having a ball doing Expendables 3 together. he prefers fast 7 than ex 3 because it is a saga than a series now that Paul walker’s character is gone. Bottom line is that Kurt Russell has lost it as well as Bruce Willis. I’m glad Stallone and Schwarzenegger are working together now even though it’s too bad we didn’t see something like this from them in the 80s despite all the rumors and film schedules the had over the years. you forgot to mention that Mickey Rourke was in the first Expendables and Get Carter and that he and Stallone were considered to play Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop, Butch Coolidge in Pulp Fiction and Stuntman mike in Death Proof.

    • Hey Andy,

      Long time no see. With Robocop opening, I was thinking about you. I wondered whether or not you enjoyed it. I assume you saw it since you’re such a big Michael Keaton fan. I have been surprised by how little Keaton is being used in the film’s marketing. I know he’s not as big of a draw as he used to be, but still, I expected him to be on the poster.

      Credit where credit is due, I didn’t write the article on Stallone. This article was written by jeffthewildman. I think he did an excellent job. At some point in the not too distant future, I will probably do a write up on the roles Stallone turned down. It’s a new series I am working on called What Might Have Been.

      Take care!

    • 12 Movies So Bad That They Are Actually Funny:

      The Expendables

      The promise of the greatest action movie star cast ever was a great concept, but “The Expendables” failed on several levels. The lack of a cohesive plot is one of the movie’s greatest downfalls, but the apparent boredom of the actors is what really kills it.

      Sylvester Stallone appears to give it his best shot, but the likes of Jason Statham and Jet Li look as if they know they’re there just to make up the numbers.

      Even the addition of Mickey Rourke and Dolph Lundgren were not enough to save this testosterone-heavy disaster.

      Inevitably, The Expendables is packed with guns and explosions, but the lack of a real explanation for what’s happening means you don’t really care if the characters live or die.

      The incredibly complicated plot involves just about every action movie cliché imaginable including pirates, mercenaries, corrupt CIA officers and even a reference to the war in Bosnia.

      The sequel was considered to be an improvement over its predecessor possibly due to the fact that Stallone was ousted from the director’s chair. The addition of Jean-Claude Van Damme as a slightly camp villain also helped to improve the second offering. Chuck Norris even cashes in on his recent internet popularity by showing up and telling one of his own jokes.

  8. I’ll be honest, I was surprised t see Stallone featured here, as he’s never really stopped being a major star and respectable box office draw (unlike Ahnold).

    I like Stallone. He’s always come across as more human and relatable and likable than Ahnold.

    I’ll be even more brutally frank: I liked “Oscar” and “Lock-Up” “Daylight”. And, yes, even “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot”; it didn’t take itself too seriously, and unlike Ahnold’s comedy endeavours, Stallone doesn’t just rely on the old “Look, a big muscular guy is twins with a short guy/pregnant/teaching kindergarten!”.

    I for one hope Stallone keeps doing films, while I Ahnold’s future no longer interests me as much.

    I must disagree with the”Pulp Fiction” part. I don’t think it was such a major game changer. It did birth an avalanche of clones (usually in the dialogue area), but had little impact on the kind of plotting and acting and genres made.

    A real game changer was probably 1998′s “Blade”, which not only launched (now 15 years of) the comic book blockbuster, but also probably the vampire craze as well.

    • Ideally, this article would have come out when Stallone was languishing in direct-to-video limbo. Not so long ago, everyone had written him off as washed-up. He had decades of being a big name movie star. But he was over. Knocked out. So did he stop being “a major movie star and a respectable box office draw”? Most definitely. Is he a major movie star today? No. A respectable box office draw? Only if the movie has the word “Expendables” in the title. Maybe “Rambo”. Stallone has had an incredibly surprising against-all-odds comeback. I don’t want to discount that at all. But I feel like he is a reasonable candidate for inclusion in the series.

      I have never been a big fan of any of the 80s action stars. I guess Bruce Willis, but I never considered him to be just an action star. I became a fan while he was still primarily known for Moonlighting. If I had to pick, I sided more with Arnold who at least worked with better directors. I don’t think Stallone made a single movie I liked between Rocky III and Rocky Balboa. Although I did kind of enjoy Oscar. I like screwball comedy.

      I’m going to disagree with you about Pulp Fiction and Blade. Pulp Fiction changed the landscape. Yeah, there were a lot of copycats most of which didn’t do much. But it had a subtle impact on everything. All the sudden, you had movies like Crimson Tide with pop culture references (thanks to a rewrite by Tarantino). Pulp Fiction made studios more receptive to edgier, non-traditional storytelling.

      I think Blade had an impact. It’s impact is probably overlooked. But I don’t think you can give Blade much credit for the current super hero or vampire crazes. Blade was a comic book movie, but not a super hero movie. Its success probably helped get X-Men made. But X-Men is really the movie that launched this generation of super hero movies. Since then, several movies have jump started the genre. Without Spider-man, I think the popularity of super hero movies would have died out. Batman Begins and especially The Dark Knight introduced the “realistic” super hero movie. Iron Man ushered in the mega Avengers franchise. I don’t think you can give Blade much credit for any of that.

      The current vampire craze is based around the idea of romantic vampire stories. I think you have to go back to Anne Rice and Buffy the Vampire Slayer for that.

      • But to what extent did “Pulp Fiction” change the actually way and style and genre of films? Yes the script was influential, but aside form Tarantino, and maybe Rodriguez, who else is really influenced by “low budget 70′s drive-in” movies?

        I don’t know, maybe by dislike of Tarantino blinds me to his influence.

        • By bringing a certain sense of irony and self-awareness to it and by showing the mainstream that movies did not have to follow the three act A to B structure. Tarantino wasn’t the only filmmaker to do that in that era. But he was the most high profile. After Pulp, the action tropes of Stallone and Schwarzenegger were no longer a guarantee of success. Much like once Nevermind by Nirvana took off, the likes of Warrant and Winger were relegated to the state fair circuit.

          • “By bringing a certain sense of irony and self-awareness to it and by showing the mainstream that movies did not have to follow the three act A to B structure.”

            I understand.

            I’m just not sure if that lasted beyond a few years. Certainly for quite some time now movies tend to take themselves too seriously. “Dark and gritty” has long been the norm.

            I think it’s the same with Nirvana. They launched a “grunge” wave that hasn’t survived the 90′s. Nirvana was as much a product of the 90′s as Motley Cru of the 80′s.

            But I don’t know, maybe my dislike of Nirvana (also) blinds me to their influence.

            I guess I just didn’t get the 90′s.

            • Everyone is going to have their own taste.
              I was more than happy to shoo away Whitesnake and Stallone and get Nirvana and Tarantino in return. Mainstream art of the late 80s was mostly very tiresome for me.

            • To an extent that’s true. What happened in that era in terms of both music and film was an aberration of sorts. Nevermind opened the door and set the stage for some great music to get noticed. But it also opened the door for a lot of rip off acts. And despite what some myths may claim, it was not the end of corporate pop. The likes of Michael Bolthead and Saline Dion continued to have hits throughout the decade.

              Likewise, Pulp opened the door for edgier films to get noticed. But it didn’t necessarily lead to mainstream theaters playing Jim Jarmusch films. Likewise, Nevermind didn’t exactly lead to mainstream radio stations playing My Bloody Valentine. It lead to them playing Candlebox and Bush.

              From an essay I wrote for another site about the 90s:

              “In hindsight I always felt that the 90s were a sort of cross between the lost generation 1920s and the inward looking 1970s. Unlike our parents those of us who grew up in the 90s didn’t grow up in the shadow of Vietnam and unlike the following generation we didn’t grow up in the shadow of war, terrorism, economic decay, reality TV and Infomercial culture and a society dominated by crass materialism. But there always seemed to be a sense that things could erupt in chaos at any moment. Indeed the attitude many seemed to have in that era was embrace the chaos. Enjoy it while you can. Parents and teachers often say that. But in that era it seemed true even without knowing what lay around the corner.

              And of course one of the main things that kept us teenagers of the 90s going was the music. Yeah, the decade did start with New Kids On The Block and Milli Vanilli being considered legitimate musical acts and ended with the Backstreet Boys being thought of the same way and there was a large amount of crud throughout the decade (The Macarena, Barbie Girl). But the best of the era can stand with any era. There’s something to the point about a lot of it. It doesn’t get much more universal than “Here we are now, entertain us”.

              Lots of great rock, great rap, some pretty good R&B. Even some of the pop from that era sounds better than a lot of what passes for pop these days. Hell, Aerosmith had only just started to go downhill.”

              So the influence may not have been quite as wide as many initially thought. But it’s there.

              • Here’s a response that I got when I took this argument that “Pulp Fiction” was the cinematic equivalent to Nirvana’s “It Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the CineFiles’ Facebook group:

                Stallone and Schwarzenegger, were a sure thing, but if you keep doing the same thing over and over again, it gets stale. Stallone thought he was smarter than any screenwriter, and no one would tell him no. Schwarzenegger was only as good as his director, if he had someone like Verhoeven or Cameron with their hands on the reigns he was good.

                In those same years where they were on the down-slope, what happened, and this is just my opinion but I think it has legs, from 94-98, we had Pulp Fiction, Trainspotting, Boogie Nights, Rushmore, etc. What happened is that it was the first time where young film goers and old timers could agree on something. It was a movement of freshness with directors that were taught with video tape and laser-disc. The directors got smarter, and the public liked it and the producers made money.

                What happened as it did with the grunge movement was that everyone had to get their beak wet. Product placement went up, budgets went up, and then when the studios lost, they lost big. They thought it was the talent, and they started making safe bets, it is why we get nothing but comic book movies and the young adult audience.

                The same thing happened with grunge music, it was a movement by a bunch of young guys that grew up with the who, Sabbath, Zeppelin and the punk guys and the prog guys, and they made their own stew. It was probably easy because of the hair bands, that were eating themselves and had gotten stale.

                Like anything successful, people had to get their beaks wet, and those grunge guys weren’t going to put up with any s***, Soundgarden split, STP split, Pearl Jam went the way of Phish and Grateful Dead. Also like anything successful, the money men, were like f*** it, we can’t get Pearl Jam, we will make another, that is why we got creed. it is why we got limp biscuit. It is also why we get music for 13 year olds now at days.

                So i think that your smells like teen spirit/pulp fiction thing has legs.

          • This sort of reminds me of a special that MTV did in I think, June 1999 for their “Ultra Sound” series. The special was called “9 Movie Moments that Made the 90′s”. In a nuthsell, the program listed what they considered the nine most culturally important films from the 1990s. Looking back, I wish that I had taped it:

          • The irony about the whole thing about “Pulp Fiction” bringing in a new sense of irony and self-awareness that weren’t seen in Stallone and Schwarzenegger’s leading up to that point, is that it seemed like Arnold Schwarzenegger himself released films (i.e. “The Last Action Hero” and “True Lies”) around this period which came off as more or less, self-aware and/or tongue-in-cheek parody of the action genre.


      • To me, I would like to equate the modern day superhero film genre w/ the start of the modern day summer blockbuster. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the three most important films in terms of launching the concept of the summer blockbuster as we know it today were “Jaws” (the trope maker), “Star Wars” (the trope namer), and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (the trope codifier).

        Likewise, after “Batman & Robin” (and to a lesser extent, “Steel”) seemed to make the idea of making big budgeted movies about comic book superheroes movies “uncool”, we got “Blade”, “X-Men”, and finally Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” as the codifier.

  9. 2013 Razzie Nominations:

    I get why Stallone keeps getting hate from the Razzies in some ways. He’s still trying to play the same kinds of roles he would have played in the ’80s or ’90s. You know, the near invincible, usually one dimensional action hero. That’s bad enough itself, usually, but it’s hard to suspend disbelief and take a 67 year old man seriously in that sort of role, at least for me it is. Stallone’s someone who can genuinely act, the first two Rocky movies and the first Rambo movie proved that, but he keeps picking these s***y action roles that follow the outdated formula that made him & Arnold such major stars in the ’80s.

  10. The CineFiles – RAMBO!!!

    Get out and get your vote in! Then after you’ve made a trip to your local polling center, come right back and watch our latest episode on that most patriot of all patriotic patriots JOHN RAMBO!!! We review the entire series. But, uh, what means “ex-pen-da-ble?”

  11. Great article. But too many references to the Razzies. We kind of got the idea after the 2nd or 3rd time.

    • Hey, if Stallone was nominated for that many Oscars, I’d reference them too. Although I will be the first to admit the Razzies picked on him quite a bit.

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