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Stallone is trophy special guest at LA Fest

THE BIG EVENT of the day, if not of them entire week, was a personal appearance by Sylvester "Rocky" Stallone in the ongoing festival sidebar, "Conversations With" -- featured monitored stage interviews with various Hollywood personalities of note. The last was with actor Ben Affleck and still to come is legendary no-budget flix director Roger Corman.
Mr. Stallone, now pushing sixty-four (Born July, 1946) but looking more like thirty-four, showed up nattily dressed in a silver grey sport coat over a smart black shirt and slacks, topped off with a headful of smartly coiffed jet-black hair (not a gray hair in the bunch!) and the perfection of the image offset with a pair of large purple designer sun-glasses. An appreciative audience greeted his arrival with Cheers and whoops and were treated to a rapid-fire series of clips from his films --Lights- camera -Violence -- which brought forth more cheers and more war whoops.

Stallone became one of Hollywood's highest paid actors, and international box-office attractions, by playing muscular, monosyllablic, mumbling, underdog rebel heroes --notably in his Rocky and Rambo roles, but was more than adequately articulate tonight in tracing his basic rags to riches story of Hollywood success and international fame -- frequently interjecting the phrase "I swear to you", to underline the near incredabilty of some of his death defying adventures in the action film trade. Whenever he has strayed away from his patented power roles his films were usually flops, and his career was in a long slump until the release of "Rocky Balboa" in 2006 (Sixth in the series after a sixteen year break) in which he plays Rocky in later life looking back, a film which turned out to be career resurrection. As one reviewer wrote, "It didn't hurt that Stallone is in better shape at 60 than half of Hollywood under 30". Stallone answered questions put to him thoughtfully but with a sense of good humor and, at one point, hopped out of his seat to illustrate an anecdote with a forceful full-body reenactment which brought a roar of glee.
At the conclusion of the evening Mr. Stallone was presented with a mini-statuette for his contribution to the festival which he accepted in good grace as if it was another Oscar, and was swamped by fans taking pictures as he was escorted out slowly through a side door. Like him or not there is no question that Sylvester Stallone was the trophy guest of the fest and he seemed to be having a good time doing his bit.

While Sylvester has picked up the most Golden Raspberry Awards (for Worst actor of the year), 30 nominations and ten wins, than any other actor, living or dead, there is no arguing with his immense popularity or the success on the scale he has achieved with his better films. Fans will be able to see Stallone in action again, as star and director, in "The Expendables" in which he leads a team of mercenaries on a mission to South America to overthrow a ruthless dictator. With such stalwarts as Arnold Schwarzenegger and aging tough guy Mickey Rourke in the supporting cast the advance publicity assures us that "this is gonna be the toughest movie of the century". We'll believe it when we see it, but don't bet against the Italian Stallion.
by Alex Deleon

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