Strange things are happening lately. Sylvester Stallone won a Golden Globe and is nominated for an Oscar. I’ve made Jay return to George Lucas’ glory days and watch the original Star Wars trilogy for the first time, which is something she swore would never happen. And since these sorts of things come in threes, I like my chances of convincing Jay to watch Over the Top, which I just found out is on Netflix. Especially because Jay is still on oxycontin recovering from her back surgery.
Over the Top is a hidden gem in the same way as a lump of coal. It was a very 80s attempt to reboot Rocky: take Stallone, put him in another salt-of-the-earth role where his muscles do the talking, give him a wholesome never-quit attitude, and add in Robert Loggia as the villain for good measure. The ingredients are all here but this movie is absolutely awful. So awful I can’t help but love it.
First, Robert Loggia. This is exactly how I feel when I see him in anything.
He was the best (RIP, Mr. Loggia) and he really chews the scenery here. Which is fortunate because in Over the Top, Stallone shows absolutely no charisma, the arm-wrestling bad guy is the most boring villain you could think of, and the kid Stallone is fighting for is so annoying, spoiled and entitled that you think all the way through that Stallone would gladly take $500,000 to never have to see him again.
Second, trying to get us to cheer for Stallone’s down-on-his-luck arm wrestler is so misguided it hurts. Is there even such a thing as an up-on-his-luck arm wrestler? Are any of these guys in good financial standing? I don’t know how legitimate the World Armwrestling League is, but the champion only gets $20,000. So that was probably like $10,000 in 1987 dollars. If you’re driving a semi across the country like Stallone does in Over the Top, I guess you can save money by sleeping in the cab, but how much are you left with at the end of the day even if you are good/lucky enough to win? Just one more reason you wonder why Stallone wouldn’t take the $500,000 [SPOILER ALERT] rather than selling his truck (HIS ONLY SOURCE OF INCOME) so he can pull a Pete Rose and bet on himself to win the contest [END SPOILERS]. See how much you are going to love this movie?
Third, the music is the worst thing imaginable. Any song that was cheesy to make the cut for Rocky IV can probably be found on Over the Top’s soundtrack. No Easy Way Out is literally too good a song to be in this movie. I didn’t think that was even possible but it’s true. The featured ballad is a Kenny Loggins wuss rock gem, and the soundtrack also features songs from Sammy Hagar, Eddie Money and Asia. It is probably the perfect music to arm wrestle to, if you have the urge. And after watching Stallone [SPOILER ALERT] rock his way to victory [END SPOILERS], I predict that you are going to have that urge.
I give Over the Top a score of one man against the world out of the world. But since the one man is 2016 Golden Globe winner and 2016 Academy Award nominee Sylvester Stallone, that’s actually a very good score.