Hells Kitchen brought the world two rather formidable things: my grandfather and the Sylvester Stallone.
The son of...of all things, a beautician and an astrologer (!), Stallone survived a difficult birth and life on the mean streets of what had already become something of an ethnic ghetto to star in a notorious off Broadway play soon to wind up as a Radley Metzger film: Score.
Following theatrical work with a number of walk ons and bit parts (including the infamous Italian Stallion aka Party at Kitty and Studs, Woody Allen's Bananas, Death Race 2000 and episodes of Police Story and Kojak), Stallone rose to sudden and unexpected fame when he scripted...and demanded the leading role in, despite studio pressure to use established marquee names...the story of a washed up never-was who made a surprise bid at the big time...namely, Rocky.
Going on to star in several films in this franchise, he'd strike gold for a second time when he starred in a film adaptation of a hicksploitation novel about Vietnam veterans suffering from PTSD in a nation that looked down on their efforts...First Blood, the first of the Rambo pictures.
Alternating ongoing box office successes in those two series with a number of interesting, but critically much maligned box office flop attempts at stretching as an actor, his work throughout the 80's and 90's would veer wildly between weird fish out of water comedies like Rhinestone and bottom of the barrel efforts like Stop or my Mom Will Shoot! and Judge Dredd to...er...Over the Top cop films as different in tone as Cobra and Tango and Cash, before once again hitting box office success with Cliffhanger, Demolition Man and the recent Expendables series.
So join us as we put on our paisano, to take on the inimitable Sylvester Stallone!
Week 57: The Italian Stallion: the Films of Sylvester Stallone