He Ain’t Heavy

Stallone: Frank, That Is

by George Wolf

The title of this documentary is a correct assumption that Frank is not the first name you associate with the last name Stallone.

So that’s a nice, self-aware start to things. But despite a succession of famous faces telling us what a great and multi-talented guy Frank is, the film never can convince us that he’s worthy of a documentary in the first place.

One of the first things writer/director Derek Wayne Johnson lets us know is that Frank loves to talk. He does that often in the film, running through the events in his life with rambling, disjointed stories about how many times he was soooo close to being a contender…only to have fate snatch his dreams away.

Using his own words, many archival stills and too few videos, the Frank Stallone timeline begins to feel propped up by tall tales. These stories are often lacking in specifics (especially for a 73 minute film that clearly has the time) and loosely connected with a magical “and then I get a phone call.”

Still, Frank clearly does have talent. He has a fine voice, has written plenty of songs and even scored one big hit (“Far From Over”, from the film Stayin’ Alive that his brother directed). He’s also shown acting chops in some of the film roles he’s done (Barfly and Tombstone, for example).

But seeing his name as producer of this film only adds to the feeling that it’s nothing but a calculated promotional effort. Many of the platitudes from celebrity friends and facelifts seem more manufactured than authentic, and even though Frank appears fine with poking fun at himself, he never directly address the ironic elephant in the Stallone living room.

He tells us how hard it’s been overcoming the “Rocky’s brother” image even as he’s taking us through a career full of breaks he’s gotten for being just that.

A little self-awareness on that point and SFTI might feel less like, frankly, the insincere vanity project it becomes.

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