In my youth, I often enjoyed the occasional issue of MAD Magazine, even though I often wasn’t quite savvy enough to understand all of the jokes.  One memorable parody took on the Ralph Macchio/Pat Morita epic, named for a long-time member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but it was several years before I got the joke in the name of the piece:  The KaRocky Kid.  My 13-year-old brain liked the sound of it, but missed the small dig at the creator’s having used much of the plot of Sylvester Stallone’s earlier boxing epic.  (They also shared a director.)  Eventually, though, I started seeing the parallels in the twin stories of LaRusso and Balboa, and eventually came to realize that the ‘Underdogs Never Lose’ plot was so commonly used in fiction as to be a cliche even in 1984.  Indeed, if you take Hollywood’s word for it, the well-financed, arrogant, high-pressure competitors should NEVER take the big win, which should come as a surprise to fans of the Yankees.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) reminds you that this is NOT a cheer-ocracy, this is a cheer-tatorship, asking: What’s your favorite uplifting ‘Cinderella Story’ in pop culture?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. I actually enjoyed the rather cheesy ham-handed martial arts flick “Best of the Best”. The USa team was the underdogs facing the Koreans…and the US team lost, yet won at the same time. Woot, spoilers.

  2. Rocky

    Like the team in Navarre’s example, Rocky didn’t win his bout with the champ, but it is still one of the best Cinderella Stories I can think of.

  3. Robert Hulshof-Schmidt on

    Polar Boy. From reject to overeager fanboy to real hero to Legion leader. Even if it took 24 years of “real” time…

  4. Either Rudy (even though I hate Notre Dame football its still a good flick) or Cinderella Man, which has some awesome boxing scenes that are not over the top fake like Rocky.

  5. if we’re strictly speaking “sports underdog” movies, i gotta go with Remember The Titans.


    if we’re talking the general underdog, it’s pretty hard to beat anything out of the Firefly universe, Seven Samurai, or the first Die Hard. think about those.

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