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.