Julie Davis liked the film Rocky, but now posts the views of a naysayer:
The boxing choreography is so fake, World Wrestling Federation workers think it could use some work. The gloves clearly do not hit bodies, the exaggerated reactions and head flailings...This is not an unfamiliar complaint about movies. We moderns crave authenticity and everyone seems to have their own set point at which poor execution forces them to miss the beauty and the larger message. A professional boxer might be more put off by inauthentic boxing scenes than someone with no familiarity of the sport, just as many a historical-critical method scholar is more put off by pious interpretations of Holy Writ than the fervent grandmother in church.
Don't some of Shakespeare's plays have rather amazing "coincidences" and leaps of logic that could prevent the suspension of disbelief, but do we think less of them? Could you could ruin a Shakespeare production of Macbeth by the ghost appearing in a ridiculously inauthentic costume, such as a sheet, such that it lends an almost comic aspect? I suppose.
I suspect many critics like dark, unredemptive films because happy endings seem fake since "real life" is such a mixed bag, nothingwithstanding that in reality death has been defeated and our lives are eternal.
I've certainly been bitten by the "reality bug" to some extent (I've been surprised to learn just how sensitive I am to the culture). But if it's true we're reading far fewer novels, could this be related? For me Rocky was about the human drama, it was about personalities and only very tangentially about sport.
Rocky isn't all sweetness and light. The seedy side of life is not repressed, but neither is it glorified. The wasted lives, the alcoholism, the meaninglessness and poverty is present. To get hung up on the authenticity of the boxing seems to miss the point. It's like hearing the words of the Magnificat and rather than pondering the astonishment of the Incarnation we shrug and say, "those aren't Mary's words, they were lifted by Luke from the Old Testament."