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The wonderful world of sports films pt. 3


Sorta had to continue the franchise after seeing Rudy tonight.

Well, this one's about football...and football. No, not twice the same, rather about the thing we folks call "american football" and the thing you folks call "soccer" (god, I hate that word. It can't be perfectly cuddlified like "footy". "Soccy" ? Yech.). I am partial to both sports and I saw a lot of films from both genres, so, since Europe is older, we start with American Football as a sign of respect for the younger sibling continent.

First film I'd like to point out is Remember the Titans. Yes, it got great critics, and I bet it went down pretty well with the box office sheep and the overly PC people. But let me tell you...this movie is an unseen piece of trash in my opinion. So it's not like you can't tell the signs. It's been done by Disney. And Jerry Bruckheimer, oh lord, produced it. But hey, I said to myself, the football scenes might be good.

Yeah. First hour of a film is a mental terror for the strongest only. First, we see the development. Affirmative action, white coach axed, black coach hired, white boys stage protest, black boys wanna play football, overally - the community gets pretty polarized into crackers and gangztaz. In space of fifteen minutes, because we go from Denzel Washington employment to the ludicriously wannabe epic march-in by the ex-coach lightning quick (all you hear in between is a fine selection of racist slurs, ie. "I'm not gonna play with those monkeys"). So then they all go the camp, they stay there two weeks or something, and come back all singing the Temptations. So according to Disney, that's all it takes to cure racism. They put the two groups of young people who hate each other's guts on colour basis. For decades. And they get bonded together by football and a coach who has a penchant for quasi-morale-uprising speeches on sites of civil war battles. That's right, it's that easy - it happens overnight ! Give me a bloody break. Racism isn't a thing to wash down in 24 hours. It took decades of hate for people to feel that way, and it ain't going down in 2 weeks of football practice. To cap it all off, they involve a gay character in it as well. I guess they thought at Disney, hey, we're breaking one taboo, let's just toss in a gay guy and kill two files with one swat...let's just teach the kids we can all be friends in our perverted way. Nothing against gay people at all from me - people who read my post in gay discussion in the, er, what'sit'sname, common discussion ? forum down below know how I feel about it, but I feel that this gay guy here serves no purpose whatsoever apart from shooting down a stereotype. Apparently, they had a plan to make a similar movie, but with gay subplot, however they shredded their budget so they just inserted a patchwork gay character into a story which already deals with social acceptance. Also, much has been made of Denzel Washington's performance...which I thought stank. His speeches in this film redefine contrivance, and he's really not helped with the "uplifting" music which chimes from the background whenever he has to deliver a stern message about team spirit, unity etc. etc.

The better part...if there's a better part of this film at all, is when they start playing games. From then on it unfolds into a straightforward sports movie cornfest, but it manages to mess that up as well with severe negligence. Careful watchers will notice that Titans play all their games on one the same field - home, away, bowl, whatever - and the crew didn't even bother to change the signs at the endzones, or the stands, or anything. Also, remember that play in which Titans recover a fumble ? Well, watch it again carefully and you'll see that they run the ball back into their own endzone...who designed the bloody plays for the film, the Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator ?

Finally, they say this all happened in real life. Well if that's the truth, they should tear down Hollywood and move it to Virginia, because it doesn't get more clichéed and sugarcoated than this - if things like those really happen in Virginia...I suggest everyone evacuates the area. So for Pete's sake, don't remember the Titans, and if you want a film which properly deals with integration of black athletes into pro sports, rent Brian's Song instead. If only Disney laid off this one and let someone tackle the story properly, because I'm sure those men from that football team set a fine just took a multizillion corporation who cares more about box office than real morals to ruin it.

My hate steamed off, so we move to more positive examples. Any Given Sunday...well, everyone seems to hate it, but I sort of enjoyed it. And now, specially for the fans, the short list of 49ers references used in that film (Oliver Stone is a huge 49ers fan and he reportedly used some 49er folklore for the movie) :

- a larger than life receiver who repeats to himself that he's the best (Terrell Owens)

- an aging pocket passer QB who is being shoved out of the lineup by the young energetic scrambling QB (Joe Montana, Steve Young)

- a canny old coach who was great friend with the old owner, only to be victimized by the new young owner-ess (Eddie de Bartolo who left the reins for his, um, some female relative, and the coach, well any will apply really)

- the main villain is from Texas (Dallas Cowboys)

And I'm sure that there is more to this, but yeah, my brain's off at the moment. More american football fun comes from The Longest Yard, in which Burt Reynolds leads a prisoner team against the warden/guard one (the "I think I broke his ****ing neck" exchange is one for the books) and the Replacements which is sort of a "Major League goes football" film.

And I'm not forgetting Aniko and the rest of the chickflickers here. Rudy, based on a true story, is a film about a guy who never gives up his dream for playing for Notre Dame, and Brian's Song, also based on a true story, is a much better stab at racial tolerance, and is horribly emotional - if you didn't cry when Brian died, you're not a human being.

This post dragged on for too long and I forgot more than a couple of films already, so I'll continue about, football tomorrow when I have time.

You're free to comment further, and if you were insulted by my breakdown (more of a slamdown) of Remember the Titans, I wish to point out again I harbour no racist hate - but I do harbour hate against preachy filmmakers who sacrifice proper education about racial tolerance for cashing in.

Oh right, the personal top 3 :

1. The Longest Yard
2. Any Given Sunday
3. Rudy

Honourable mention : Brian's Song
(signature space for rent)

Shake well before opening.
good point, but was it worth the 2 pages of text?

Originally Posted by Private Joker
good point, but was it worth the 2 pages of text?
Probably not, but I felt like writing. 3:24AM and nothing better to do

Shake well before opening.
damn thats late. Insomnia isnt fun. But why did u like any given sunday? al pacinos speech at the end was moving but cmon, i timed the cuts on that last scene and the director thought that if he cut to a new shot every .7 seconds he'd make it seem really action-packed i guess but it just made me sick. And the characters just went around in circles, 'no al i dont want to play mean old football, WAH' and then al pacino would yell. The whole movie was to get al pacino yelling and jamie fox crying. The director was a pseudo *********** artsy prick who probably wanted to capture 'the true grit behind american football'. And the guy losing his eyeball? what the hell was that? not only do the characters go around in circles, i guess the director thought that after all the pointless circling the best payoff would be the defiant retirement of pacino and a big **** u to his old team by joining another team with jamie fox. HOW ORGINAL. That movie can go suck a dick.

I don't know. I found it dynamic and entertaining. Not enlightening, but it had that hook which makes sports movies work for me.

Also, it helps I'm a 49ers fan.

The "*********** director" is Oliver Stone btw.

Shake well before opening.
woops o well. Maybe he was on crack for awhile?