Overrated/Underrated: Sports Flicks

SPOILER ALERT!  Attention, this article contains spoilers.  If you have not seen the movie(s) mentioned, I recommend you skip that section (unless you don’t care to see the movie anyway, in which case read on).

Overrated: Rudy

Wait, here’s Sam, but where’s Frodo?

Let’s again emphasize that overrated doesn’t necessarily mean something isn’t good.  It simply means that people think it’s better than it really is.  And that is certainly the case with Rudy.  Like many others, I’ve seen the movie quite a few times and it’s a good movie, it really is.  The basic premise is that this little runt kid decides he doesn’t want to follow the path that the rest of his family has taken (working at a local steel mill).  Instead, he decides he wants to try to get into Notre Dame University and try to play football there.  He eventually succeeds, making the team as a practice player and finally getting into the last game of his senior season.  The ending is quite emotional when Rudy gets a sack in the closing seconds and then gets carried off the field by his teammates.

Here’s my main problem with Rudy: the movie markets itself as a “true story”.  However, in this September ’10 interview with Joe Montana on The Dan Patrick Show, we learn that isn’t entirely accurate.  Here’s the dialogue between Montana, who was a freshman at Notre Dame during the real Rudy Ruettinger’s senior year, and Patrick:

Dan Patrick: “Were you there when Rudy was there?”
Joe Montana: “Yeah.  It’s a movie, remember.  Not all of that is true.”
DP: “What wasn’t true?”
JM: “Well, the crowd wasn’t chanting.  No one threw in their jerseys.  He did get in the game.  He got carried off [at the end of] the game. […] Back then they tried to play someone at the end of [the season] that all the seniors could get in the last home game.  The schedule was kind of set that way.”

“So he got in.  He did get a sack.  And then the guys carried him off, just playing around.  I won’t say it was a joke, but it was playing around.  He worked his butt off to get where he was and to do the things he did, but not any harder than anyone else.”

So apparently all the seniors got in the game.  It wasn’t like they made a special rule just for Rudy because he worked hard.

Apparently there was also no angelic priest or janitor that helped him out along the way either.  Those parts were made up to help move the film along.  Oh and as for Coach Dan Devine, who is made out to be the villain because he won’t let Rudy dress for the final game; apparently it was actually his idea to dress Rudy.

Basically this would be like finding out Michael Jordan didn’t really single-handedly save the Looney Toons from the Monstars as shown in Space Jam.  Wait, you’re saying he didn’t?!?!?!  Ah, that’s two movies ruined for me today!

Conclusion: Overrated!

Underrated: Blue Chips

SAT’s?  Coach, dem tests is culturaly biased.

This is a movie that gets stepped over all the time and I’ve got a pretty good idea why.  The movie portrays Nick Nolte as Pete Bell, the Head Basketball Coach at the once great, but now struggling Western University.  He’s won national championships and conference titles, but lately the program has taken a turn for the worst and he’s having trouble reviving it.  Driven to desperation, he gives in to the university’s boosters and allows them to offer illegal benefits (including a house, a Mercedes, a tractor and a bag of cash) to three top recruits to convince them to come to Western.  All three agree to come and the program is again bound for greatness, but the guilt from cheating eventually eats Coach Bell alive.  He finally admits the infractions at a news conference, after knocking off Coach Bobby Knight and the mighty Indiana Hoosiers no less, and steps down as head coach.

Like I said, I think there are two main reasons why this movie get’s unfairly crucified:

  1. The three recruits are all played by former players.  As you would expect, the acting is bad, even bordering on unbearable at times.  Butch McRae is played by former NBA guard Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, Neon Boudeaux is played by current Boston Celtic Shaquille O’Neal, and Ricky Roe is played by former Indiana University big man Matt Nover.  Like I said, the acting is bad, but the use of real players makes for some entertaining and believable basketball scenes.  Despite the poor acting of the three players, the movie passes the attention span test because of the riveting story.  I think the movie would have probably been a much bigger success if…
  2. The plot of the film wasn’t actually reality at a lot of Division I programs.  There’s very few cases where anything like this has actually been proven (though there are many cases where is has been strongly suspected), but I’m of the opinion that this movie isn’t as outrageous as the filmmakers might have intended it to be.  The fact that shady practices like this probably occur at a lot of high-profile College Basketball schools makes people, namely the NCAA, uncomfortable.

This is very similar to a case that occurred in 2004.  ESPN’s had just debuted its very successful series Playmakers which depicted the trials and tribulations of players on a fictional professional football team.  However, after one season, despite huge success, the show was cancelled.  Why you ask?  ESPN cancelled the show because of pressure from the National Football League which didn’t like the show, basically because it was too realistic.  It depicted their league (even though the acronym NFL was never used) in a somewhat negative light and as such, it had to go.  The same principle goes for Blue Chips.  The NCAA was terrified of this movie, and for good reason.  IT’S A TRUE STORY!  The NCAA went so far as to bar them from using the acronym “N.C.A.A.” in hopes that its omission would somehow prevent people from connecting the dots.  Unfortunately for them, people above the age of five watched the film and we all know that this “movie” might as well be a documentary on John Calipari’s recent Kentucky teams.

Anyways, stepping aside from the rant, the movie is actually very good.  It’s got a fantastically original premise that other movies (other than He Got Game, another excellent flick) have been too afraid to touch.  The soundtrack is excellent as well, featuring a lot of great blues music including “Baby Please Don’t Go” by Van Morrison.  There are also some phenomenal cameos including (but not limited to):

  • Larry Bird
  • Bob Cousy
  • Bobby Knight
  • Rick Pitino
  • Calbert Cheaney
  • Bobby Hurley
  • Rodney Rodgers
  • George Lynch
  • Chris Mills
  • Rick Fox

There’s actually more, but you get the point.  I highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys basketball, but even non-basketball fans would enjoy this.

Conclusion: Underrated!

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3 Responses to Overrated/Underrated: Sports Flicks

  1. Bull Durham – Underrated, Field Of Dreams – Overrated, Tin Cup – Underrated, Caddyshack – Underrated, Legend Of Bagger Vance – Underrated, Sandlot – Overrated


  2. Ross says:

    Field of Dreams overrated? I couldn’t disagree more. Kevin Costner has his horrid movies, but this is certainly not one of them. Not sure why some people don’t like this one, but this is among my favorites.

    Tin Cup, completely agree. Great flick that gets a bad rap as a chick flick.

    I would actually say Caddyshack is a bit overrated. Funny movie that has some outrageously funny moments, but the movie and story itself is a bit overrated in my opinion. The movie is carried by secondary characters namely those played by Chevy Chase and Bill Murray.

    • Josh Harris says:

      Field of Dreams makes me want to play catch with my dad like I used to when I was a boy. What other movie has that kinda of affect?

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