Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Greatness of Necessary Roughness

Watch this:

Am I the only person who loves Necessary Roughness? Just the title reeks of awesomeness, sometimes some roughness is necessary. All the all stars are out in force Scott Bakula as a 34 year old college freshman trying to relive the glory days. Roger Ebert actually gave it a thumbs up. Click to watch a review from the Siskel & Ebert video archive (Who knew this existed?)

I remember coming home from elementary school and HBO seemed to have the same two movies on every afternoon, Necessary Roughness, Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead & Robin Hood: Men in Tights. Almost everyday I watched them. I must have seen all three over a hundred times, maybe a billion.

The cheesy backstory, the Bad News Bears gone college football, the misfits try to make it, the comedy, the drama, the anthemic ding dang, cowboy, horn filled score, the action and Scott Bakula, the same Scott Bakula who was in the prime of his "Quantum Leap" career, pre-"Star Trek Enterprise" captaining. This is what movies used to be like in the good old days of the early 90s comedies. Someone loved Bakula so much they edited together scenes of him from the movie. Can you feel the Bakula love?

The character that was the most ingenious creation with an amazing back story is Andre Krimm AKA Fuckin' Sinbad, the Sinbad (the entertainer not the sailor according to Wikipedia). Those trademark locks and that 'tude, there are none like him. Andre Krimm was a football player turned Celestial Mechanics professor. He wanted to learn, hit the books. The coach wanted him to concentrate on football so he quit the team and of course has eligibility left after being on track to get his doctorate. I make about as much sense as this movie does overall. Sinbad has many memorable quotes but my favorite has to be "Andre does not eat raw meat. 'Cause Andre is a vegetarian."

There really is so much more. Larry Miller plays the hysterical gotcha dean trying to fuck the team left and right like a little snarky bitch. You may not know his name. This is Larry Miller:

Hector Elizondo, of "Chicago Hope", is the savior of a coach,
Coach Ed "Straight Arrow" Gennero, leaving his very high paying job in the early 90s at ESPN, basically Lou Holtz but 15 years ago. Don't Forget Robert Loggia as Coach with the worn, scratchy, coach voice from the heavens. His one one line quips are a must, music to my ears and that fantastic blow up monologue telling the team if they don't win Coach Gennero is going to die. Or how about this gem of frustration "If this field wasn't astro-turf I'd dig myself a grave."

Don't forget Manu Mana from Samoa, the BIG ISLAND. The Samurai, the defensive captain and instigator of the greatest referee call in history involving multiple karate kicks and ju-jitsu thrusts. Young way pre- Arrested Development Jason Bateman as a spoiled Texas Oil man's son. Kathy Ireland as the team's kikker, Lucy.

There's just so much more.

  • The double entendre of wide receiver who can't catch the ball named Featherstone.
  • The greatness of the team's Mascot, THE FIGHTIN' ARMADILLOS.
  • The question of why the only real team they played was the Kansas Jayhawks.
  • Why doesn't Bakula make a real life comeback and play college football? I'm sure he still has eligibility.
  • What's with Scott Bakula's one grey curl in the front?
  • How did they try to field a football team with so many white guys? Was this school supposed to be an Ivy?
  • What ever happened to that announcer guy? He was pretty funny. Fumble-liya, fumble-rooski, fumble-rino.
There are many more questions to ask and answer but we'll love those for scholars hundreds and hundreds of years in the future. But the saddest fact of it all is how the writers and directors careers seemed to be unfairly punished for making the movie they wanted. I don't want to be presumptive here but it is easily the great sports comedy in history with no hyperbole, no questions asked. How could director Stan Dragoti have not got a tidal wave of work? In fact, he never made another movie according to IMDB. This is a man who directed the Michael Keaton classic Mr. Mom and the unforgettable George Hamilton vehicle Love at First Bite. According to his Wikipedia, which may have been written by a village idiot, "He has had tremendous success from the beginning. Most of his work exceeded $200 million revenues from the sale. He has produced lots of advertising for the giants of air travel and automobile industry." I'm not sure what that means.

But this was really a writer's movie. The originators and creators of this miraculous endeavor, the writing. Rick Natkin & David Fuller have no Wikipedia pages. Their last credit was co-directed by father and son Van Peebles called Gang in Blue which also featured performances from the newly hot in Hollywood Josh Brolin and one of the greatest character actor of our times, the deceased JT Walsh.

So what did we learn here? Besides tons of useless facts that have gotten rid of a few important bits in your mind, that Scott Bakula & Sinbad are stars and should be able to do whatever they want for the rest of their lives. They don't make 'em like they used to.

(Editor's Note: Since this post was originally conceived, Sinbad had an amazing cameo role in the latest season of possibly the best show on TV, "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." The comeback has begun!)

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