Sisters Who had Magic Pants

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is all about magic pants. Which is why I’m writing this review while wearing jeans. Despite how popular it was (and two separate mentions of the book in TeenNick shows I watched), I thought I’d never get into it. Since a movie about sisterhood seemed like it would be too girly for me. I figured they’d be dealing with topics I couldn’t relate to. Luckily I was proven wrong, because The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is universal. It brings together four unlikely friends who decide to share a pair of pants that mysteriously fits all their unique body types. They each go on separate summer trips that I can only talk about separately.

Lena – The first girl to get the pants is Lena Kaligaris. She’s a quiet, shy, artist, with a petite body type played by Alexis Bledel. She visits her big fat greek family in Greece. Through the magic of the pants, she encounters a local boy named Kostas that her family warns her against fraternizing with. Due to a decades long feud. This story has the most beautiful location and the best romance.

Tibby – The next girl to get the pants is Tibby Rollins. She’s a creative, rebellious, documentarian with an average body type played by Amber Tamblyn. She’s the only one who stays home for the summer. Working a summer job at Wallman’s (Walmart) and trying to finish her movie. Through the magic of the pants, she meets a frustrating 12 year old girl named Bailey who inserts herself into her filming process. I won’t say what happens, but it had me crying my eyes out. It’s easily the most emotional story.

Carmen – The third girl to get the pants is Carmen Lowell. She’s a chatty, half Puerto Rican writer with a curvy body type played by America Ferrera. She visits her seldom seen father only a few states over. Only to discover he has a new family that he seems to care more about than her. Through the magic of the pants, she lets him know exactly how it makes her feel. Due to the subject of divorce, this story is perhaps the most relatable.

Bridget – The last girl to get the pants is Bridget Vreeland. She’s an outgoing, loyal, assertive soccer player with an athletic body type played by Blake Lively. She attends soccer camp in Mexico. Where she shows off her talent and pursues an older guy. All the while trying to forget her deceased mother. Through the magic of the pants, it’s implied that she loses her virginity. This story has a beautiful location as well and the best music (like my favorite song “Unwritten”). It also deals with some of the movie’s heavier topics.

In conclusion, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants really understands its teenage girl demographic, but their topics are too universal not to appeal to everyone. For a PG rated film, they cover a lot of mature topics. Ranging from familial loyalty, death, divorce, identity, suicide, and virginity. Even if some of it is implied. Every actress brings their best to each character. They may not always be together, but when they are, you totally buy their chemistry. In the end, each girl grows as a person. All it took was their lifelong bond and the magic of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

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The sisterhood of the traveling pants

Followed by: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

Land, Air, Sea

Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan’s most serious attempt at an Oscar to date. Since the most critically acclaimed directors managed to win by switching to historical drama. Dunkirk very accurately details the events of 1940 in Dunkirk, France during World War II. When allied troops found themselves surrounded by Nazi forces. Because Christopher Nolan’s films draw crowds, it was a perfect opportunity to teach them history. Since I don’t recall learning about the event in social studies. Like almost every Nolan project, Dunkirk is nonlinear. Focusing on many sides of the battle.

  1. The Mole (one week) – Taking place primarily on land, it follows a group of British soldiers attempting to make their way towards the beaches while avoiding enemy fire. You feel every bit of fear and bravery even with long absences of dialogue. Kenneth Branagh is the most high profile actor in the segment, but One Direction’s Harry Styles is the one who took most people by surprise.
  2. The Sea (one day) – Taking place on the ocean, it follows a civilian’s attempt to help evacuate the stranded soldiers. It offers the film’s most human moments. As Nolan’s favorite Cillian Murphy plays a rescued soldier with PTSD. Mark Rylance is the boat captain since he recently won an Oscar.
  3. The Air (one hour) – Taking place in the sky, it follows the pilots who shot down enemy planes. Tom Hardy’s character is the one who delivers the final blow at his own expense. In a role that once again requires him to cover his face.

In conclusion, Dunkirk has a winning score, sharp direction, massive cinematography, and an emphasis on actions over dialogue. Yet it didn’t win Best Picture or Director. I’m usually not one to watch war movies. So I had trouble following Dunkirk from time to time. When I really stop to analyze it though, I see all the effort that was put into it. All the much needed renewed admiration that soldiers got after its release. Over 300,000 brave men were evacuated from Dunkirk. For that, I will always salute.

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Soldiers look in horror

Sins of the Father

Creed II may be a sequel to Creed, but it’s really a continuation of Rocky IV. While not the most positively received installment, Rocky IV still had great material to work with. Despite Ryan Coogler not returning to direct, Michael B. Jordan still brings his A game. Mirroring Rocky II, Donnie proposes to his girlfriend Bianca and has a baby girl. After winning the World Heavyweight Championship, Adonis Creed starts a new life outside of Philadelphia. Leaving Rocky with not much else.

Creed II is entirely centered around fathers and their sons. Donnie’s main opponent is Viktor Drago. Son of Ivan Drago, the man who killed his father Apollo Creed. The set up is superb, but despite more attention than the last 3 movie’s opponents, Viktor doesn’t leave much of an impression. I was really impressed by Dolph Lundgren’s performance. His portrayal of Drago as somewhat of a sympathetic man living in near poverty is some of his best work in a long time. His reunion with Rocky is just as satisfying as their boxing match was 33 years ago.

I definitely wasn’t expecting a cameo from a certain key character. Of course Rocky’s relationship with Donnie is examined as well. Since he spends more time with him than his own son. He reluctantly trains Donnie in the desert (meanwhile Viktor trains in a gym) so that he’s better prepared for the rematch. Their match is brutal, but (SPOILER ALERT!) Donnie wins. Sylvester Stallone claims this is his last time playing Rocky. If it is, I’d say his final scene is the best possible ending. Creed II isn’t a game changer, but it does bring everything full circle.

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Rocky prepares Adonis Creed for his fight

Preceded by: Creed

Boxing Runs in the Family

Creed breathed new life back into the Rocky franchise. Despite ending two seperate times, Ryan Coogler figured out a way to keep it going. By having the long lost son of Apollo Creed step into the forefront. Coogler’s favorite Michael B. Jordan effectively plays Adonis Johnson. Since more time is given to the Creed family, Phylicia Rashad now plays Mrs. Creed. She’s the one who raises him after his biological mother dies. Donnie is far more hot headed and prone to outburst. Wanting to distance himself from his late father’s legacy.

Although hesitant at first, Sylvester Stallone returns to play Rocky for a 7th time. Delivering his strongest performance as the character to date. Teaching Donnie everything he knows back in Philadelphia. While also facing his own problems. Everyone except the son he never visits is gone. So Donnie is all he has left. Like Rocky, Donnie also finds someone special. Bianca, a singer played just as effectively by Tessa Thompson. Donnie’s main opponent is “Pretty” Ricky Conlan.

A boxer on his way to jail that challenges Adonis provided he change his last name to Creed. Also not a very standout villain, but that’s not where the true battle lies. Not that it isn’t a well executed, perfectly shot, adrenaline fueled fight. SPOILER ALERT! Sylvester Stallone was nominated for Best Supporting Actor. For the first time since the first movie. Rocky discovers he has cancer and the performance he gives is the best in the film. I wasn’t crazy about the harsher tone and PG-13 language, but I understand the raw emotion Adonis Creed feels. Creed had some big shoes to fill and it succeeded with every punch it threw.

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Rocky trains Adonis Creed

Preceded by: Rocky Balboa & Followed by: Creed II

That’s How Winning is Done

Rocky Balboa finally brought Rocky back to his former glory. By this point in his career, Sylvester Stallone began to reevaluate his older work. Even though we all thought he was crazy to be doing it at his age. However, since Rocky V wasn’t the best conclusion, he wanted Rocky to go out on a high note. So he got back into fighting shape and returned to the directors chair (even earning a PG rating). The title is Rocky Balboa because this is the most human Rocky has been up to this point.

Rocky is older, retired in Philadelphia, and sadly, lost his wife Adrian. Naming his Italian restaurant after her. All he has left is Paulie and a son that wants nothing to do with him. After a computerized boxing simulation pits Rocky against the newest champion, it sparks interest in a possible comeback. Rocky’s main opponent is Mason “The Line” Dixon. He suffers the same problem as the last opponent. Being played by a real life boxer, he doesn’t have much of a personality.

That’s not too important though, since Rocky just needs someone to punch. There also needs to be a female lead. So that role is filled by Marie. The young girl Rocky gave advice to all the way back in the first movie. Along with Duke, they help to prove Rocky can still hold his own even at an older age. SPOILER ALERT! Rocky doesn’t win, but that’s not his most memorable moment. It’s when he delivers one of the most powerful movie speeches of all time to his son about moving forward no matter how many times life knocks you down. Rocky Balboa is a true winner.

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Rocky Balboa vs. Mason “The Line” Dixon

Preceded by: Rocky V & Followed by: Creed

Rock Bottom

Rocky V is the painful conclusion to the Rocky franchise. While Rocky IV was a bit too harshly treated, Rocky V is much more deserving of all its negative reception. I get what Sylvester Stallone was going for, but the whole thing is woefully misguided. Stallone isn’t entirely to blame though. Since the first movies director returns to direct instead.

It may surprise you to know that Rocky V is actually the first PG-13 installment in the franchise. Despite the bloody boxing matches, every other film was PG. Rocky V sees the Balboa’s lose all their money forcing them to return to the Philadelphia slums. Where Adrian returns to the pet shop and Robert Jr. is bullied in school (and it’s all Paulie’s fault). As if that wasn’t bad enough, Rocky neglects his son by taking a young new fighter under his wing.

Tommy Gunn, who betrays Rocky by taking a rich promoter’s money and winning the title. Making Tommy Gunn Rocky’s main opponent. His obnoxious attitude gets on your nerves so much that you just wanna punch him. The movie doesn’t even end with a boxing match. It ends with a street fight. SPOILER ALERT! Rocky rightfully kicks the crap out of Gunn, but it could’ve been worse. Rocky was very nearly killed off! Proving Rocky V to be an overall unpleasant experience in this once enjoyable series.

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Rocky trains Tommy Gunn

Preceded by: Rocky IV & Followed by: Rocky Balboa

I Must Break You

Rocky IV enters the Cold War. Although unlike the first Rocky, its awards attention shifted completely. With Rocky IV being nominated for Worst Picture and winning Worst Director/Actor Sylvester Stallone. Along with Brigitte Nielsen for Worst Supporting Actress. I personally feel they beat up the movie too much. Even if its premise of Rocky taking on the Cold War is a bit hard to take seriously. Rocky IV takes the Philadelphia native’s wealth to ridiculous levels. Affording to buy a robot servant Paulie makes his wife.

Rocky’s main opponent is the Soviet Union’s prize boxer Ivan Drago. One of the franchise’s most iconic villains. Dolph Lundgren’s size, limited dialogue (“I must break you”), and unstoppable fury can’t be matched. Apollo Creed takes Rocky’s place in an exhibition match between Drago. Donning an overly patriotic outfit accompanied by James Brown’s “Living in America.” The fateful fight ends with Drago beating Creed to death. Leaving Rocky wanting to avenge his fallen friend. Much to Adrian’s fearful pleas not to. Apollo’s trainer Duke steps up to train him.

The duality of Drago training with machines and Rocky training with nature is genius. The final showdown takes place in Drago’s homeland of Russia. SPOILER ALERT! Rocky manages to get the best of Drago when the crowd starts to cheer for him instead. In the end, Rocky delivers a cheesy speech he hopes will end the Cold War. That along with the fact that most of it feels like a music video, are why the quality dipped. That being said, Rocky IV is still a guilty pleasure must watch that more than stands its ground.

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Rocky Balboa vs. Ivan Drago

Preceded by: Rocky III & Followed by: Rocky V

Eye of the Tiger

Rocky III features some of the most standout moments in the entire franchise. By this point the studio was pretty comfortable with having Sylvester Stallone write, direct, and star all at the same time. Even though the story is practically Rocky and Rocky II mashed together. Rocky III sees Rocky Balboa becoming an undefeated celebrity with more wealth and several wins. With his wife Adrian, son Robert Jr. and brother-in-law Paulie by his side cheering him on.

There are several elements that make Rocky III memorable. The first of which is an exhibition match between boxer Rocky and a wrestler played by Hulk Hogan. Goofy, but a must see. This was also the installment that first featured the real life statue of Rocky placed at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Rocky’s main opponent is new fighter “Clubber” Lang. His sudden rise to the top and taunts gain Rocky’s attention. Being played by Mr. T, he of course gets an “I pity the fool” out at some point.

Rocky III features the first major death in the franchise. Beloved trainer Mickey, who dies after Rocky loses the title. Surprisingly, Apollo Creed steps in to help Rocky win back the title. The newfound friendship they share is only accentuated by the catchiest training song of all time, “Eye of the Tiger.” SPOILER ALERT! Rocky is victorious when he uses everything Lang knows against him. It’s another satisfying win, but not quite as iconic as the freeze frame ending. Where Rocky agrees to fight Apollo once again in private. Rocky III sticks to the formula, yet succeeds with sheer quantity.

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Rocky Balboa vs. “Clubber” Lang

Preceded by: Rocky II & Followed by: Rocky IV

Yo Adrian, I Did it!

Rocky II is the rematch everyone was waiting for. After the huge success and multiple Oscar wins of Rocky, everyone wanted to see a continuation. The question was, how do you make a sequel without repeating yourself? Since Rocky ended with Apollo Creed winning and anything else might seem like a cop-out. Fortunately, Rocky II succeeded in an entirely different way. Wasting no time writing the sequel, Sylvester Stallone now wanted to direct the film himself. It was another gamble, but a smart move on the producers part to let him.

Rocky II picks up immediately after the big fight. Rocky’s main opponent is once again Apollo Creed. As his loss of popularity gets to his head. Making him challenge Rocky to a rematch. Rocky on the other hand chooses to retire, marry Adrian, and have a child. His sudden rise of popularity gets him many endorsements, but his limited knowledge of anything other than boxing makes it hard for him to find a job. Though hesitant at first (due to possible eye damage), Paulie, Mickey, and eventually Adrian all persuade him to accept the rematch.

Complete with a new training montage that includes dozens of people running through Philadelphia with him. During the big fight, Creed brings his A game. With an even more exciting boxing match that’s so evenly matched it comes to a halt when both men get knocked down. The first to get up being (SPOILER ALERT!) Rocky Balboa! Going the distance was inspiring, but nothing beats seeing Rocky win. In an emotional climax ending with one of the most satisfying closing lines of all time, “Yo Adrian, I did it!” Rocky II deserves the championship belt more than any other Rocky sequel.

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Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed (Rematch)

Preceded by: Rocky & Followed by: Rocky III

Gonna Fly Now

Rocky is an inspirational underdog story for the ages. Winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director John G. Avildsen, and Best Film Editing, Rocky is perhaps the most universally beloved sports movie of all time. It’s certainly the most iconic boxing movie ever made. You don’t even have to be into sports to appreciate it. Which is why I knew I needed to watch the first movie and by extension, the rest of its many sequels, as soon as possible. Long before he was famous, Sylvester Stallone was known mostly for his role in a softcore porno film (later renamed Italian Stallion).

After watching a championship boxing match, Stallone wrote Rocky in 3½ days. Unsurprisingly, studios loved his script, but wanted to cast a more A-list star. So Stallone refused to sell the script if he didn’t play the lead himself. It’s a good thing it worked out, because Sylvester Stallone is Rocky Balboa. Rocky tells a very simple underdog story. Rocky Balboa is just a small time boxer working for a lone shark. Because of this, people call him a bum. It isn’t until he’s given the chance to fight the world heavyweight champion that he finally proves himself. What makes it standout is everything in between…

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Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed

Rocky takes place in the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. Which certainly boosted the overall appreciation of the city. Rocky Balboa often dresses in a black leather jacket and matching fedora. Due to his ethnicity, he’s nicknamed “The Italian Stallion.” Despite his current occupation, Rocky is actually very friendly. He doesn’t even swear. Most only focus on the boxing, but at its core, Rocky is a love story. Between Rocky and shy pet shop owner Adrian, played by Talia Shire. His innocent attempts to get her out of her shell make their relationship feel real. Rocky’s main opponent is Apollo Creed. The current boxing champ that only Carl Weathers can make as likable as he is.

Being a small time fighter, a promoter selects Rocky to fight in an exhibition match against Apollo Creed. Burgess Meredith plays Rocky’s trainer Mickey. His gruff tough love attitude pushes Rocky to achieve his full potential. By far the most iconic part of the movie is the training montage. Accompanied by one of the most famous movie themes of all time. Rocky first consumes five raw eggs (leading to many sick imitators). He also punches frozen meat in (Adrian’s brother) Paulie’s meat factory. Since hitting meat is closer to hitting a person. Rocky then chases chickens, runs through the streets of Philly, and makes his way up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Rocky’s arms extended in triumph is so iconic that a statue was built on the steps where millions of people visit to recreate the moment to this day. But the big fight is what everyone came to see. Creed is so confident that Rocky manages to get the best of him. Leading to a more serious fight with the two opponents delivering brutal blow after brutal blow. Until the final bell sounds where (SPOILER ALERT!) Apollo Creed is named the winner. It may seem like an unhappy ending, but the outcome was never important in the first place. Rocky is about going the distance. About proving yourself, and that’s why Adrian is all Rocky cares about in that moment. Rocky is an event that never fails to exhilarate, inspire, and most importantly, triumph.

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Rocky conquers the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Followed by: Rocky II