Sports & the Silver Screen
Sure, I still get excited. I'll even spend a small amount of time in the midst of a harmless channel-surf paying my respects to some of the classics. I'm talking about some of sport's most recognizable athletes starring in the biggest movie blockbusters. So maybe they didn't exactly bust any blocks but for us kids watching they sure did bust our minds into smithereens. Can you recall when we last saw a relevant athlete in any sport pop up on the big screen? What happened? Now, more than ever, I feel we should be seeing piles of these movies being produced. What with the obsession of sports at an unhealthy level these days.
Folks....Kazaam. That movie was made. And was it not glorious?! Shaquille O'Neal should have probably been a part of the Jack & the Beanstalk remake or whatever that piece of shit was however we were granted (ahhhh, see what I did there?) a movie about a rapping genie. Three wishes granted all at once.
Space Jam. Can the plot of a movie be better? Ever? The masses may never all admit this fact out loud but I know it to be true. Whenever you think of Michael Jordan the first thing your mind shifts to is his greatest achievement in life: Defeating the Nerdlucks in a game of basketball thus ensuring that the Looney Tunes never have to serve on Moron Mountain. Bill Murray might also be the most underrated 6th man in the game.
The above masterpieces are a cut above the rest but why not have a little more fun with the idea??
Bob Uecker. What a beauty. Technically played baseball (actually hit a home run off of Sandy Koufax) but is most known for two roles; His actual announcing gig with the Milwaukee Brewers and his vocal work of art in the movie Major League.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. Quite possibly one of the more traveled athletes turned actor. Goes from college football to Canadian football to taking Stone Cold Stunners in the WWE to starring in........The Tooth Fairy. Don't forget to leave a dollar under my pillow Dwayne.
I realize I'm peppering my thoughts all over the board as I write here but maybe that's what we're missing. Not just athletes in movies but also famous actors/actresses. It's the nonsensical in the end. We crave plots so outlandish we're just dying for the story to lift us up to the climax and then set our world ablaze.
An example: Angels in the Outfield. No professional athletes in this one (unless you count Tony Danza's brief stint as a porn star) however the lineup of cast members is unrivaled. Danny Glover....and we could stop right there, yet I'll press on. Tony Danza. Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Christopher Lloyd. Matthew McConaughey. Adrien Brody. A group that, if given the opportunity, Noah might have chosen over a pair of each animal on the planet. Please do me a favor and stand in a public setting and slowly start waving your arms signaling you've seen an angel. I hope at least one stranger acknowledges your lead and follows suit.
Now I realize we've had some decent cameos in recent years with Will Ferrell in 'Kicking and Screaming' alongside Mike Ditka. I'll throw 'A League of Their Own' in there as well. But each plot could HAPPEN. I don't want to believe what I'm seeing. I want my mind and my body at war with each other. Neither accepting what cinematographic acid trip is flashing before them.
I want a group of archaeologists to uncover a completely preserved Tom Brady in a block of ice deep within the icy bowels of Antartica. What they also discover is Tom's vast and seemingly loyal army of Wooly Mammoths. Tom spends the rest of the movie roaming the earth freeing all animals held in captivity. All with the help of the entire cast from The Mighty Ducks.
Picture with me, if you will....LeBron James dribbling down the court during Game 7 of the NBA Finals rushing to get off the last shot when suddenly a gaping hole opens up in the floor and LeBron is instantly swallowed up. We pan to James careening through a portal directly into another dimension. He ultimately ends up in a strange new world, like no place he's ever seen. Over time we watch him meet, grow, adapt and fall in love with the native creatures of this fantastic wonderland (think Avatar, The Last Samurai or even Dances with Wolves).
Unfortunately, yet predictably, the people of this place are oppressed by a monster powered by an unfathomable evil. Time and again the people of this far away land have attempted to defeat the beast and each time he strikes them down with a merciless hammer. Now, in their desperation, the victims have turned to James for help. At which point we find out, along with LeBron, that the villain has a weakness. He's an amazing badminton athlete. Incredible really. The weakness you ask? He's had less than sub-par competition over the ages (all of the oppressed from this world have no hands. Weird, right? Well it's my God damn movie so hold on tight.) He truly believes he is unbeatable. What he doesn't know is that the good folk of this make-believe world have a trump card. Long ago, former pro 'athlete', soccer star Landon Donovan found himself in this far-away dream similarly to how James arrived. The only problem was Donovan was never able to escape. See, he had mastered a 'sport' in which all that was required was the use of your legs. Alas, he never did get the hang of Badminton and therefore was stuck in eternal limbo.
Even though Donovan himself couldn't master the craft he was quite the teacher. Over time and a series of perfectly placed music montages James became a master. He challenged the beast, lost and forever after ESPN had absolutely nothing to talk about. The End.
I just Game of Throned that ending. Holllllllly shit I just went on and rambled there for a bit, didn't I?
I sincerely hope you held on for the whole ride. I'm going to go prepare my scripts for all the major movie studios out in La-La Land. They have no idea what's coming.
In the meantime, go pop in the VHS of Space Jam and relive the magic.