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An Open Letter to Sylvester Stallone on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday

By Michael Murray | Miscellaneous | July 8, 2011 |

By Michael Murray | Miscellaneous | July 8, 2011 |

In spite of the fact that it’s been an awfully long time since I actually went to see a movie that you were in, I still wanted to write to wish you a happy 65th birthday! (July 6th right?)

Man alive, I wonder what the last movie I actually paid to see you in was?

maggie.jpgIt’s possible that I went to see Cliffhanger back in ‘93, but the truth is that if I did, it was in the hopes of seeing Maggie from “Northern Exposure” naked. Whatever happened to her? She was the IT girl for a good chunk of the 90s and then it was like she just got a better idea, quit acting and vanished. Is it possible that there’s a better idea than being a celebrity? I don’t know.

Anyway, if I didn’t see Cliffhanger, maybe I got high and went to Over The Top. Do you remember that film? You played a struggling trucker and super-talented arm wrestler named Lincoln Hawk. That sir, is an entirely awesome name and if I ever get a boy dog, I will name him Lincoln Hawk.

But I’m digressing.

The truth is that I probably never paid to see either of the mentioned films. I might have rented them, but probably not. You know that narcotic haze that settles upon some movies, movies you thought you might have rented, but then slowly realize you never did rent? That’s what it’s like with me and most of your movies. This through-a-Tylenol-3-cloud of familiarity is your genius. The construction of all your movies is so uniform and the heavy symbolic action of the trailers so surreal and pungent, that the films themselves— instantly recognizable at a glance— are really just animated pitches, and that is a sweaty kind of brilliance!

You should also know that I think Rocky was the aces. I saw it on TV about a year ago and really, it is a first-rate piece of work. Right out of the gate you created something utterly iconic, even beautiful and that is a legacy you should be proud of, something to focus on rather than the shame of the ensuing 35 years.

Oh, my wife wants to know if it hurt when you punched the slabs of beef in Rocky. I’m more curious to know if it was really gross and disgusting to drink those raw eggs. Was it?

I have to tell you, when I was a boy I was fascinated by that scene. I kept drawing variations of it over and over again.

Rocky drinking raw eggs while dinosaurs fought.
Rocky drinking raw eggs in the middle of a war zone.
Rocky drinking raw eggs while getting attacked by a shark.
Rocky drinking raw eggs while punching Bigfoot.
Rocky drinking raw eggs while piloting a burning flying saucer that was about to crash into the moon.

I got so good at the Rocky drinking raw egg themed drawings that I was eventually sent to an institute for gifted art students where I learned to better control some of my more violent impulses and compulsive behaviors. It wasn’t like a normal school where there were “classes” and everything, but they did serve Eskimo Pie in the cafeteria for dessert and that was cool.

Hey! Did you get that last bit, the way I juxtaposed “Eskimo Pie” and “Cool?”

I hope you did, because I think that’s evidence of my quick-witted use of wordplay and skills as a writer. Mister Stallone, I think I could serve as a great scriptwriter for you. I’m afraid you’re going to have to face some hard facts as you enter the twilight of your career. Sixty-five is old, especially for an action star, and even though you’ve broadened the scope of your work to include the portrayal of aging action stars, you’re still going to need to tweak things a bit.

This is where I can come in.

Listen, here’s a line I just thought up for you that you could use in a movie: While walking away from a bleeding corpse with a smoking gun in your hand, you say, “Dehydration can be a real bitch in the summer.”

And I’m not even trying.

I won’t pitch you here, because that’s not classy, but I would like to suggest a couple of things. First of all, I think you would be awesome on TV and should consider a series instead of a movie career, which can be demanding on joints damaged by years of steroid use and stuff. I see you on “True Blood” as the Werewolf King, or perhaps starring in a Dramedy where you’re an ex-boxer who owns a pet shop that’s haunted by the ghosts of a bunch of dead animals. Think the “Pet Ghost Whisperer” with a little bit of Gran Torino thrown-in.

We can get into the details later.

dolly-parton-playboy.jpgAre you still in touch with Dolly Parton?

I would have liked to have worked with Dolly Parton. I think she’s a straight-up genius.

Did you have sex with her when you two worked together in Rhinestone?

I always wondered about her body.

I have an active mind.

They talked to me about that at institute for gifted artists that I attended as a boy.

I am also curious about your background. Your father was an esthetician who opened a beauty school while your mother opened a women’s gymnasium called Barbella’s back in the 1950’s? That’s insane! It’s all weird and cool at the same time, and probably more than a little confusing way back then! I can see where you got your entrepreneurial spirit, fierce sense of independence and self-reliance! There’s more than a little Rambo in you, I think.

I hope this doesn’t sound like hyperbole or needless flattery, but you are America, Mister Stallone. Like the great poet Walt Whitman, you embrace contradictions, making a fortune off of movies about killing people with guns, while supporting anti-gun violence on the sly. ( Did you get my nifty wordplay there again?) And let me tell you, getting caught with 48 vials of synthetic human growth hormone back in 2007 is not a big deal at all. I mean, it wasn’t like you were still a role model or anything, and you were old, so it was obviously for health and not cosmetics to enhance your career! And let me tell you, if I thought steroids or HGH would help my Ping Pong game, I would be all over it in a second!

You really have led an incredible life, one that’s seen you overcome obstacles most of us can’t even begin to comprehend, and Mister Stallone, I wish you the happiest of birthdays, you deserve it, in a sort-of, complicated kind of way.

I look forward to working with you in the future!

Michael Murray

Michael Murray is a freelance writer. He presently lives in Toronto. You can find more of his musings on his blog, or check out his Facebook page.

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