The last five films I’ve seen in just November/December alone make for a solid movie year: Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Spotlight, Creed, and Trumbo. In fact, I can’t remember when I’ve last seen five films in a row that I’ve enjoyed so much.
But there’s one film that personally touched me more than the others—Creed. It was flying a little under my radar so I wasn’t expecting it to be so well crafted. Only afterwards did I realize it was directed by Ryan Coogler (Fruitville Station) and co-wrtten by Coogler and Aaron Covington (based on characters written by Sylvester Stallone).
Go back only eight years (2007) and Coogler, originally from Oakland, was still playing wide receiver for Sacramento State and growing in his newfound love of movies. He went on to film school at USC, and through the Sundance Screenwriters Lab.
Creed has been out for 3 weeks and has made over $80 million (against a budget of $35 million). The 29-year-old Coogler, like 30-year-old writer/director Damien Chazell (Whiplash), is a hot talent in Hollywood.
I haven’t found a lot of press on Coogler where he goes through his writing and filmmaking process but will keep digging and post some things in coming months. I did find The New York Times did an Anatomy of a Scene from Creed that I thought was informative (one take Steadicam shot done 13 times to get it right):
And the movie reminded me of a boxing poster I own from the original Rocky era (mid-’70s) when I was a part of the boxing scene in Orlando. (Mostly as a young fan—notice the autographs— but also participating as a 12-year-old in a sport that was much more primitive—and personally more difficult for me—than playing football, baseball, basketball, etc.)