Wednesday, September 13, 2006

While Walking the Longest Yard, I Remembered Titans: Gridiron Gang

They say there are only two certainties in life: Death and Taxes.

I'm here to add another: The cheesy, feel-good football movie.

It seems that every year, no matter what is happening in the realm of cinema, some director has to bring out another football movie filled with testosterone and cliches.

And we love them for it.

I've seen "Remember the Titans" about a bagillion times (that's an actual number, somewhere in the high googaplexes), and each time it gets a little....awesome-er?

"The Longest Yard" was a waste, but we all saw it because Adam Sandler is a funny guy and football is sweet.

"Any Given Sunday" was an excuse for Al Pacino to be a bad ass again, and for some movie exec to throw a little male nudity our way (thanks, but no thanks).

But we see these movies every time they come out. I already plan to see "Invincible", even though it is just a souped up "Rudy". I'm sure there will be a moment where some kid will tell Mark Wahlburg "you can't do it, man," but later, near the end, he'll be the guy that leads the slow clap as Mark walks confidently onto the field.

Ahh, the slow clap. Perhaps the best Sports Movie staple.

Anyways, on to this little flick, which stars a very underrated actor, Xzibit. The rapper/humanitarian actually does a passable job as a Juvenile Detention officer.

I'm serious. It was as if he knew the material first hand. Almost as if he had spent time in one of these places, for the purposes of study of course.

The real "star" is Dwayne "THE ROCK" Johnson, a man of few words and more muscles. Actually, and I'm stunned to find myself typing this, The Rock has made leaps and bounds since his debut as the monosyllabic Scorpion King (in the absolute festival of shlock "The Scorpion King").

He really lit up the screen in "The Rundown", though "Doom" almost buried him, much as its title suggests it can.

Here, as Sean Porter, Rocko finds himself struggling to accept the reality of the juvie system. It seems that 75% of all inmates either return to jail or die.

But now this square jawed hero isn't going to take it lying down.

For a movie starring the Rock, there were surprisingly few incidents of gunplay, and none involved our stoic hero.

In fact, the violence was less over-the-top and more toward the realistic side.

The football, on the other hand, is quite out of hand.

Firstly, there are the "high school" age players who seem to have been pumping weights (read: annabolic steroids) siince they were five. There are hits that make NFL players look like cuts from the WPGA (nothing against women golfers, they just don't seem into contact sports is all I'm saying.)

And best of all, the cliches.

For those of you who follow this blog, you probably can tell that I enjoy cliches and puns. They really...make a movie. Whether they make it better or worse is not for me to decide.

There's the gang members who hate each other, only to become brothers at the end;

The guy who wants in, drops out, then wants back in again;

There's a guy who "wants to show everyone he's somebody";

And more unnecessary speeches than the floor of the Senate.

I left the theater with a grin, not because the movie was perfect, but because it knew it was flawed. The creators started this endeavor with no doubts about how this film woud come out. And they did an admirable job of pulling together a visual display on par with....well every other football movie of the last year.

And give the Rock his due. He plays a stoic, not-so-good-with-emotions kind of guy very well. He's either an amazing actor...or the other thing.

I'd give this film a hitting-on-Kera Knightly-at-a-club, having-her-boyfriend-attack-you, and-having-THE ROCK-back-you-up.

I have to go now.

I have a wicked urge to play Madden and I can't fight it any longer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight, you reviewed a movie before it came out? Wow your good.