Happy Birthday, Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester-StalloneImage Credit: Gareth Cattermole/Getty ImagesToday, Sylvester Stallone turns 64. My present: Admitting something that I didn’t when I wrote about the trailer for The Expendables. I cried watching it. Twice. I’m assuming I’m the only, but maybe I’m not…

A love of Stallone is one of the things I share with my father. If there was a Rocky film on TV when I was young, we were watching it. I remember being amazed that my dad could recite lines from Rambo: First Blood Part II seconds before Stallone said them. In late 2005, my father got sick. When he went in for his first round of chemo shortly before Christmas, First Blood Part II is the VHS tape I grabbed to take with us. My sister and I watched it with him on the VCR in his hospital room, the only sound on an otherwise dark, quiet floor — which made me feel oddly proud. Honestly, I used to tear up thinking that he wouldn’t be able to watch the new Rocky and Rambo films Stallone was making. But he did. He listened to the tape of the interview I did with Stallone about 2006’s Rocky Balboa (around the time my dad started whole brain radiation, Stallone signed a photo to him, “Just keep punchin’, Roger,”), and the day we went to see 2008’s Rocky Balboa will always be one of my favorites.

Today, my father is still fighting, but due to various ailments, won’t be able to see or comprehend The Expendables. That’s why I cried. For the rest of my life, I’ll think of my dad every time I see a Stallone film on TV or in theaters (yes, I’ll be the one sobbing over The Expendables credits). For that, Sly, I say thanks.

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  • Madd

    My brother and I also bonded by watching Rocky. Of course, now we both love Lost, Star Wars, Arrested Development, and Iggy and the Stooges, but at the time we had nothing in common.
    I really wish your family the best, Mandi.

  • lisa

    wow did he have some plastic surgery?

  • Matt1

    Great heartfelt article Mandi. I have the same kinda connection with my grandfather and the Three Stooges shorts. No matter how bad things got, I could throw in a dvd of the stooges and he’d chuckle like when we watched them on tv when I was a kid. I know exactly what you mean. I can still be caught tearing up at the opening MGM logo and the stooges theme music when it comes on. God bless you and your family.

  • Joseph

    OMG! I teared up with your blog, Mandi. God bless your dad!

  • Scott

    Stallone is a legend. The critics never give stallone credit yet he has made what is arguably the best Underdog Story ever put to film, Rocky Balboa. I for one can’t wait for THE EXPENDABLES.

  • Iain Alexander

    Dear Mandi,

    I was very moved by your article and wanted to wish your father the best of health in these difficult times. I came across this article by chance and I am actually this minute watching one of my favourite Stallone movies (Assassins) Thanks for sharing.

    I A

  • Shawn

    Mandi, that was a beautiful story to share with all of us. It hit me especially hard because on June 22nd, I lost my father to a 4 year battle with cancer. Of the few interests I shared with my father (which included fishing, bbqing and 60’s rock) Will Smith movies was one of the greatest bonds. I remember him taking me to the drive-in when I was younger to see Independence Day and he was probably more excited than I was. This past Sunday, I wept and wept as Bill Pullman reminded me that I was going to live on, I was going to survive and (for the first time without my dad) I was still going to celebrate Independence Day. I don’t know when the next Will Smith movie is coming out, but I’m sure I’ll be in the same position you’re in now. Thank you so much again for sharing Mandi, I wish you, your family and your father the absolute best.

  • St pooch

    Mousa: [as Rambo prepares to play Afghan game ‘buzkashi’] God must love crazy people.
    Rambo: [getting on horse] Why?
    Mousa: He make so many of them!

    • St pooch

      Happy birthday!! Sly!!!

  • BJohnson

    Even though you know how Rocky is gonna end, I still find myself cheering and laughing at all the same spots just cause it is such a great movie.
    Prayers to your dad, Mandi. People sometimes don’t get how powerful movies, tv, music can generate such a emotional response. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

  • Ceballos

    For me and my dad, the thing we bond over is old (mostly crappy) kung-fu flicks.

    I only get to see him a few times a year, but I’m fortunate that he’s in relatively good health. I wish you and your dad the best, Mandi.

    Most importantly, thanks for giving us a brief reminder (in an ocean of snark) as to why we love movies/tv/music/etc. and how entertainment can touch our lives.

  • ks

    Happy BDay Sly!!
    Mandi what a great story, thank you for sharing. On the anniversary of my moms passing we watch all her favorite movies and have a good time sharing stories.

  • amylovesnewwave

    Oh, Mandi. That made me bawl. A love of pop culture (music, movies, etc) is the only thing I have in common with my father (other than a crippling stubborness, which is why we don’t get along well), and I dread the day when I won’t be able to listen to the Stones without breaking down. I’ll keep your dad in my thoughts.

  • Deanna

    I can’t believe he looks so good at age 64, that cannot be natural, betcha its some plastic surgery skillzz

  • Garod

    Very nice article, which is more than I can usually say about the content in EW. Best wishes for your Dad. My dad is 18 months cancer free.

  • Clint

    Happy birthday sly. Thanks for the awesome films

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