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The Original Motion Picture Score of Rocky holds a special place in my heart, because it was the first album I ever remember listening to as a child. Yep, my first favorite album was a movie soundtrack–I guess, technically, a movie “score.”

How many kids do you find rockin’ music scores on their iPod these days? And speaking of scores, how many boast a #1 Billboard hit song? “Gonna Fly Now” helped Rocky accomplish this feat in 1977.

(left: Dun-dun-du-du-dun-du-du-dun-dun-dun!)

The reason Rocky is held so near and dear for kids who grew up in the 70’s and 80’s (who I’m sure have pushed it on their kids by now), is that the score–masterfully composed by Bill Conti–was our first workout music. If you owned a gray sweatsuit, all you needed was the Rocky album to complete your Rocky-Balboa-self-starter kit.

I remember neighborhood girls had workout sets that came with cassette tapes, brightly colored leg warmers and rubber-covered, half-pound dumbbells. Wearing a raggedy pair of sweatpants, while listening to the sounds of Rocky, seemed to be a little more edgy, a little more punk rock if you will (heck, it’s black-and-white album cover even looked like a punk rock concert flyer).

When I put the needle on the record (yes, literally), you better believe I was Rocky Balboa. “Gonna Fly Now” was my training anthem, and when the actual song of the Rocky vs. Apollo fight, “Going The Distance,” came on, my two younger brothers became real-life punching bags. When I won the fight (which was not keeping in theme with the movie) I would dance around the living room to “The Final Bell.”

Without question, “Gonna Fly Now” is the smash hit from Rocky. Who in America (and maybe even the world) can’t hum this tune? Go on YouTube right now, and it may take you a full week to sit through everyone’s Rocky parody set to its unforgettable theme song. In 2004, the American Film Institute rated the top 100 songs used in American cinema, and “Gonna Fly Now” clocked in at #58 (in case you’re wondering, “Over The Rainbow” was #1).

Other instant goodies are “Going the Distance,” which you may remember was sampled by Puff Daddy on his song “Victory” (No Way Out), and as I mentioned before; a good song to beat up your brothers to. If you can’t decide between “Gonna Fly Now” and “Going The Distance,” you can have ’em both in the medley, “Fanfare For Rocky.”

Most of the other songs on this score are slow piano ballads that didn’t sound good to my ears until I got older. And a look back at the Rocky soundtrack wouldn’t be complete without mentioning “Take You Back,” the a capella, street corner number performed in the movie by Sylvester Stallone’s brother Frank. Go to any diehard Rocky fan–tone deaf or not–ask them to sing this song, and they’ll give you a pitch-perfect rendition of its main hook (snaps and all).

When I’m running or working out, Bill Conti’s Rocky compositions will occasionally shuffle through my iPod, and even though I’ve heard these songs for 30 years, I still get a boost from them. As I said before, kids don’t listen to scores much these days, but if they did, and they had one as good as Rocky, maybe childhood obesity wouldn’t be such a problem in America. (Or maybe there’d be a bunch of younger brothers with bruised ribs and black eyes.)

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…


IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.


IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).


IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.


IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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