ROCKY IV, Sylvester Stallone, 1985, © MGM / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Tiger Blood

The 10 Most Fist-Pumping Songs From the Rocky Movies

Get pumped with an all-day Rocky movie marathon Saturday, August 20th on IFC.

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Photo Credit: MGM/ Courtesy: Everett Collection.

Whether it’s in the gym or at our cubicle, Rocky has been inspiring all of us to take it to the max since 1976. And a big part of the underdog boxer’s success is the many great songs that have been featured on the Rocky movie soundtracks.

Before you catch IFC’s Rocky movie marathon, raise your fists high with 10 rousing songs that inspire the fighter in all of us.

10. “Keep it Up,” Snap! (Rocky V)

You’re forgiven if you don’t remember the Rocky V soundtrack, which featured a forgettable MC Hammer track (“That’s What I Said“) where the parachute-pants wearing rapper basically repeats “Hammertime!” and “Can’t Touch This” over a lackluster beat. But if you’re looking for a solid early ’90s workout jam, you could do worse than “Keep It Up” from the Eurodance outfit Snap!. Sure, it’s pretty much a carbon copy of their far superior hit “The Power,” but this is Rocky V we’re talking about. “Passable” should be one of its IMDB keywords.


9. “Last Breath,” Future (Creed)

The 2015 hit Creed carried the Rocky soundtrack torch proudly, offering up a healthy mix of rousing hip-hop and R&B. “Last Breath,” from frequent Drake collaborate Future, lifts elements of Bill Conti’s iconic Rocky theme to create a propulsive hip hop track that, like the film it comes from, pays tribute to past greats while also sounding like the (pun ahead!) future.


8. “Double or Nothing,” Kenny Loggins and Gladys Knight (Rocky IV)

’80s soundtrack king Kenny “Footloose” Loggins teamed up with Gladys Knight for this catchy midtempo number. On the scale of Loggins soundtrack hits, this one is no “Danger Zone.” It’s not even “Nobody’s Fool” from Caddyshack II. But it’ll still get the job done when you’re going double or nothing on the treadmill.


7. “Hearts on Fire,” John Cafferty (Rocky IV)

Stallone was such a fan of John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band (yes, that’s a real band), he used one of their songs in his 1986 actioner Cobra. Cafferty went solo for this synth-tastic Rocky IV track, which was cowritten by composer Vince Dicola. If ’80s synths are your jam, look no further.


6. “It’s a Fight,” Three 6 Mafia (Rocky Balboa)

The Rocky Balboa soundtrack featured music highlights from every Rocky soundtrack and a new song from rap group Three 6 Mafia. While it didn’t win an Oscar like the group’s hit “It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp,” this track still gets the blood pumping. Too bad though. We would’ve liked to see Three 6 Mafia give an Oscar shout-out to ol’ Rocky.


5. “Lord Knows,” Meek Mill (Creed)

Another gem from the Creed soundtrack, this Meek Mill track was the perfect musical accompaniment to Adonis’ upward climb. In fact, the entire soundtrack is pretty great. Check out “Grip” from Creed star Tessa Thompson for a relaxing cool down after you’ve gone several rounds in the ring or in rush hour traffic.


4. “Burning Heart,” Survivor (Rocky IV)

Yes, there was another epic Survivor track on the Rocky IV soundtrack. The “Eye of the Tiger” band scored a #2 Billboard hit with this ’80s power ballad gem. Nothing sums up the Cold War climate of 1985 better than lines like “Is it East Vs. West?” and “Can any nation stand alooooone!.” And nothing says 1985 more than lead singer Jimi Jamison’s flowing locks and the keyboardist’s giant glasses and puffy shirt.


3. “Living in America,” James Brown (Rocky IV)

The Godfather of Soul’s hit perfectly sums up Rocky IV‘s mix of patriotism and over-the-top action. Watch the video and try not start dancing. It’s so fun, it almost makes us forget Paulie’s robot. Almost.


2. “Gonna Fly Now,” Bill Conti (Rocky)

Conti’s triumphant Rocky theme was an instant hit, climbing the Billboard charts in 1977 despite being mostly instrumental. (Fun fact: DeEtta Little, the sister of Blazing Saddles star Cleavon Little, sang the iconic lyrics with Nelson Pigford.)


1. “Eye of the Tiger,” Survivor (Rocky III)

This Rocky III hit has become shorthand for keeping your eye on the prize, whether that prize is defeating Mr. T in the ring or scoring the last pastry in the office break room.

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SO EXCITED!!!

Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”

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IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?


Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!


Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.


Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 

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IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.

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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.