Tell me I’m not the only one that finds Yoshi-P’s fear of planes adorable w (This column has nothing to do with FFXIV)
#59: “No More”
Published in combined 2016/05/12 and 2016/05/19 issue
Recently, I feel like my tear glands have been getting looser by the day (not even by the year). In Japanese, we have an idiom “[my] tear glands broke down” which means bawling your eyes out, but right now, I feel like mine are constantly broken. Now, I’ve always loved to read (although I haven’t been able to finish as many books as of late), and I often read while traveling.
But it’s dangerous. The moment I let down my guard, heavy teardrops start pooling in my eyes. Another idiom we all know is “don’t judge a book by its cover.” In my case, I know I look really sinister, so if someone like me suddenly starts crying on a commuter train, everyone else will definitely be disturbed. That said, my tear glands are constantly broken, so I can’t really do anything about it…
I’m writing this column on a plane from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport to Montreal, Canada. This is of course for work, not sightseeing. In the middle of this business commute, my tear glands caved once again. This time, it was because of the movie Creed.
ANA’s film offerings for the month of April on its international routes are spectacular. They have The Revenant starring DiCaprio, Spotlight, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and of course, Creed. It was a godsend for me because I can’t sleep on airplanes. I always wanted to see Creed in theatre, but due to work, I just never had the time to go.
Creed is the newest installment in the American boxing film series, Rocky, which our younger generations might not be familiar with. Rocky brought its creator, a man named Sylvester Stallone who was struggling to make a living—even going as far as appearing in porn films—to instant stardom.
There are 6 films prior to Creed in the Rocky series, but only the first three (and depending on who you ask, possibly the fourth) really count. The series was popular and trending all around the world, so they kept making sequels, but it felt like it got worse with each one. Despite that, many people would still go to the theatres to watch the new films due to the series’ popularity. I was one of those people too, but the disappointing Rocky 5 was probably the nail in the coffin… Many years later, Rocky 6 came out and told the story of a former boxing star. It was actually pretty good, but Rocky 5 was just too much of a failure.
The first film in the series is simply titled “Rocky”. It tells the story of a hopeless, unsuccessful boxer who falls in love and desperately trains to fight against a powerful champion, getting the others around him involved. The heroine of the story is a plain woman, but it’s the plainness of the hard-working couple and Rocky’s success story against the champion that made the film a breakout hit in America. I’ve rewatched it many times myself. Also, the champion that Rocky faced back then was named Apollo Creed. This is where the title of the newest film comes from.
Creed has two protagonists. One of them is Rocky of course, and the other is the son of Apollo, Rocky’s long-time rival and friend. But if you had to narrow it down to one, Rocky would actually be in a supporting role. Saying anything more would be a spoiler, so all I’ll say is that the themes of this film were very easy to grasp: generational change, challenge, and love. The same themes as Rocky.
In the Rocky series’ prime, Stallone shone brilliantly as a Hollywood star with his ripped muscles, but he has aged a lot since then. He’s still going all-out in the Expendables series, but in Creed, he appears in his plain old form as an old Rocky. From the visuals, dialogue, and his acting, I could truly see that Stallone and Rocky marched together in life, both of them surpassing their roles.
On the other hand, we have the other protagonist, Adonis, whose father Apollo had already passed away by the time he was born to his mistress. Through video footage of his father’s triumphs, he aspires after him, but his father’s real wife (who took him in and loves him as her own son) forbids him from boxing, so he has no choice but to train by himself… The young Creed then meets Rocky, and the rest unfolds from there in the clichéd way you’d expect. Films don’t get easier to understand than this. The direction even slightly mimics aspects from previous entries in the series. However, they never play Rocky’s iconic theme song. When you’re watching it, you think “Shouldn’t they be playing it soon?” but it never happens—as though they’re insisting that Rocky isn’t the main character here. Still, that makes for an extremely difficult composition. The most they could do with the song was having it play faintly as a piano melody.
Many of Rocky’s lines in Creed allude to how the series got to this point because it kept going despite the mixed reception. 40 minutes into the movie, I burst into tears at the parallels between it and the previous films.
Fortunately, there weren’t many people near my seat, so I don’t think I disturbed any of the other passengers. However, as I was fervently wiping my tears with the in-flight tablecloth, a flight attendant came by to refill my drink. “A-Are you okay, sir…?” they asked. I replied with “Y-Yes, it’s just because of the movie…” and it was incredibly embarrassing.
After that, I continued to cry until the end of the film. The flight attendant witnessed it several more times but left me to myself. It’s not my fault my tear glands are broken. As you grow older, watching films or imagining scenes from books makes you recall your own similar experiences in life. That might be why you get more prone to crying. Right now, I’m pondering that while at the airport in Montreal, feeling extremely refreshed after crying my eyes out.
The final flight in my itinerary is from Montreal to Quebec City and departs from Gate 27. I’m here and I pulled out my laptop to finish this column on a positive note, but the flimsiness of the next plane has me shivering in fear. It’s a propeller plane. I’m so scared that I want to cry, but it’s for work so I have no choice but to get on. That, and my tear glands have run dry already, so I have no more tears to cry.
 The Japanese title was Creed: The Man Who Will Succeed the Champion. It’s the latest entry in the Rocky series of boxing films. It’s a spin-off but it’s treated as a proper sequel, and the series might end here (although I think the same thing after every new Rocky film).
 The Expendables is a recent action film series starring Stallone. The concept was to bring together the seasoned Hollywood actors who were the action stars of their time. It appeals a lot to men in their 40s. It’s also got some ridiculous improv from Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Bruce Willis, Mel Gibson, and so on. *laughs*