If I had to pick any scene from the 2000 flick The Replacements to fully capture the cheesiness of the movie...it would be the jail scene in which the teams sings and dances to I Will Survive. I have spent my life around jocks...most of which were bad ass football players...and I know with 100% certainty that this would never happen. NEVER. Not ever...no way...no how...no. Sure football players will occasionally dance...but I think that the rule is that there most be a woman present. Football players will also sing...but again there must a woman present. Hell...such acts are almost always done to impress said woman. Failure to have a woman present will automatically result in questioning of said football player's sexuality. I'm not saying that I agree with this...it's just the way it is. But I digress...
So in 2000...Warner Brothers Studio released The Replacements. It was a movie about football staring Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman, Orlando Jones, and Jon Favreau. It promised appearances by legends John Madden and Pat Summerall. At first glance...this should have been a bad ass movie. At least...that is what we thought as the SWAT/HOSH eagerly awaited its release. In the end...about thirty of us eagerly went to see it opening night. Oh the horror that was that night...the disappointment...the swearing...it was a total letdown. Oh well.
At risk of pissing off said friends...I didn't actually hate the movie. (Allow me to clarify.) It is one of the worst football movies EVER. That being said...it isn't a bad movie overall. Hell...if they would have made the movie about soccer it wouldn't have been so bad...though if it was about soccer I never would have seen it.
Here is what worked:
- Jon Favreau as Daniel Bateman. His character was completely crazy and I loved it. He embodied what a football player should be...hungry for the ball. There is one particular scene in which Gene Hackman asks Favreau's character who is on defense to go get the ball. He pumps him up and sends him out on the field and hopes that Favreau doesn't kill anyone. Favreau gets the ball and runs around screaming like a madman. Upon returning the sideline, he approaches his coach screaming that he in fact got the ball. In true football hype, there is an intense exchange of "You Got The Ball!" "I Got The Ball!" and so on until neither has anything else to say. They awkwardly stare at each other for a moment and then coach tells him "Go sit down Danny." What can I say??? It is funny as hell.
- Orlando Jones as Clifford Franklin. Once again...I must insist that we all know a Clifford Franklin. The funny guy who gets into troublesome situations on a regular basis but always comes out okay. In this particular movie...this character could have annoying but Orlando made it endearing.
- The Cheerleaders. Hear me out....I can honestly say that hiring strippers to be cheerleaders would be an awesome tactic for any team to use. I can say this because there has never been an occasion in which someone resembling a stripper walked by and every guy in the group didn't stop to stare. So for that reason only...it is realistic and funny.
- Oh and the whole fear scene. That is my favorite scene in the movie. Watch it and you'll know why.
Here is why it didn't work:
- Gene Hackman as Coach McGinty. Head football coaches are supposed to mean. It is just another law of life. He is supposed to yell and break things and put the fear of God into his players. Coordinators and Assistant Coaches are supposed to the motherly ones. They are supposed to be the ones who go in after Poppa Bear emotionally destroys the young cub and fixes the emotional boo boos. Gene Hackman played the role as a mentor and a friend and it was bullshit. Ask any football player that is any good...he will tell you that he spends most of his day in some degree of fear of the head coach. As well he should be.
Rhys Ifans - Seriously...this guy is so fucking annoying.
Ray Smith/Earl Wilkinson - OK...so this movie is pretty much unbelievable but this is what sent it over the edge. Like they would really let him out of prison to play football. Whatever.
Annabelle - OK there are two types of women. Those who can date a quarterback and those who can't. I am the later of the two and I am perfectly OK with that. See...we all love the QB on the field...but off the field it takes a certain type of woman to date him. Early in the movie she says that she doesn't football players...especially quarterbacks. Yet then she falls in love with him. Any woman who knows anything about football knows about quarterbacks and why it is best to stay clear of them. Hence why when I dated a football player I choose a strong safety.
Keanu Reeves as Shane Falco. Sure he looked damn good in the uniform but there is no way in hell that Ted could ever be the quarterback. I'm not buying it.
So how to classify this movie??????
Well...it is a decent movie and I enjoyed watching it. Hell...whenever I find it on TBS I will usually flip between this and some other movie that I have seen far too many times. Yet there is no denying that it is one of the worst movies about football. Being that I am celebrating the greatness of football at the moment...I would have to say that this one is a loser. Sorry Sentinels.