Thursday, February 1, 2018

Football Movie Scorecard: NECESSARY ROUGHNESS vs. THE REPLACEMENTS

by Adam Riske
Which gridiron rejects will get rejected again?

The Washout QB

Necessary Roughness

• Scott Bakula plays Paul Blake, a former high school football star who didn’t play college ball so he could take over his family’s farm. Now with years of eligibility left, he suits up for the disgraced Texas State University Armadillos but has problems leading college players half his age. He’s stand-offish (won’t hang out with them outside of practice and games at first), often at odds with his by-the-book coach and perpetually looking tired/like he needs to take a crap.

The Replacements
• The angelic Keanu Reeves plays the angelic Shane Falco (amazing sports character name), a former college football star who didn’t play in the pros after a disastrous Bowl Game crushed his confidence. He now scrapes crap off people’s boats and runs underwater formations in scuba gear while set to Lit music (not a bad life). Falco gets a second chance as a scab/replacement player when the professionals go on strike and he takes the reigns of the Washington Sentinels offense as their new Quarterback. He’s a natural leader, but suffers from confidence issues that hold him back from being a winner. I love Keanu Reeves. He’s so likeable on and off-screen. His victories are our victories.

Winner: The Replacements. Did you really think I’d pick Scott Bakula over Keanu Reeves? Please.

The Bland Love Interest

Necessary Roughness
• Harley Jane Kozak plays Dr. Suzanne Carter, a journalism professor and secret fangirl of Paul Blake, which is a little bit sad. She and Blake hook up, which is fucking hot (Blake is all about passing grades, on and off the field) and I had a big Harley Jane Kozak crush when I was nine, which I’m not sure even I can explain. It’s not the most complex role, but Kozak is pleasant so I’m mostly onboard. Plus, Harley Jane Kozak is so much not a movie star name that it became my favorite movie star name. Like Sarah Snook. That’s the name of a girl you meet in middle school, not one you put on a poster.

The Replacements

• Brooke Langton (of Swingers fame) plays Annabelle Farrell, dive bar owner and head cheerleader for the Sentinels. After a timid courtship with Falco, she and he hook up thanks to a truly awful scene where John Madden and Pat Summerall give a play-by-play like it’s a football game. Reeves and Langton have zero chemistry other than both being attractive and available. Langton is pleasant, but leaves little impression on me.

Winner: Necessary Roughness

The Irreverent Teammates

Necessary Roughness (limited to five for my sanity)

• Sinbad is Andre Krimm, another old guy who returns to college football. He’s also a science professor. The movie doesn’t take full advantage of having Sinbad in it, which is a borderline felony.

• Jason Bateman is a rich kid named Jarvis Edison, who is in the football scenes although I don’t remember seeing him in any of the plays. It’s weird. This is Bateman-lite. Get your fix elsewhere.

• Peter Navy Tuiasosopo plays the center, Manumana. He seems like a real friendly guy despite his intimidating size. Tuiasosopo was also in Street Fighter, so bonus points.

• Kathy Ireland is the kicker, Lucy Draper. She’s mostly around for guys to get excited that she’s in their locker room taking a shower or being protected by Manumana to such a degree that I’m worried he’s going to turn Colossal on her at any moment. They don’t do a whole lot with her character other than point out she’s pretty and can kick well.

• Louis Mandylor is McKenzie, an Australian (?) dude whose gimmick is he likes to practice without a helmet and pads because he’s macho. He does not bring the same magic here that he did to My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I wish I watched that again instead of Necessary Roughness.

The Replacements (limited to five for my sanity)
• Orlando Jones plays annoying Wide Receiver Clifford Franklin, the most desperate comic relief of The Replacements comic reliefs, which is quite an achievement. I always want to like Orlando Jones more than I like Orlando Jones. Did we give him enough chances to be a star?

• Jon Favreau plays the most annoying character in either of these films: a nutcase who just screams and tackles people or smirks to the camera like an asshole. I like Favreau most of the time, but this is not one of those times. Happy Hogan sucks, too. Sorry for that quick vent.

• Rhys Ifans plays Nigel Gruff, the kicker and anti-Christ. He’s so not funny in this movie but I know I’m supposed to think he’s hilarious because a) he gambles, drinks and smokes b) he’s a perv c) he’s Welsh and d) he doesn’t look like a football player. Ugh! How in the hell was Ifans engaged to Sienna Miller in real life? That is one of Earth’s greatest mysteries.

• David Denman (Roy from The Office) plays a deaf Tight End named Brian Murphy. He would have been drafted if not for his disability. He catches the final pass to win the big game at the end of the movie and it’s insinuated he gets a BJ from a very cute cheerleader, so good for him.

• Ace Yonamine is Fumiko, a sumo wrestler and now Offensive Lineman. He eats a bunch of boiled eggs and throws them up on-field. He also gets into a bunch of jokey-racist fights with Faizon Love’s character (another lineman) that are supposed to be hilarious. None of it works. Blech.

Winner: Necessary Roughness? I guess?

The Crusty Coaches

Necessary Roughness
• Hector Elizondo is Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator Ed “Straight Arrow” Gennero. I like Elizondo, but he’s written as a real wet blanket in this movie.

• Robert Loggia is Coach Wally Rig, the vulgar Defensive Coordinator. This is peak Loggia in all its grouchy, gruff glory. Loggia is by far my favorite part of Necessary Roughness.

The Replacements

• Gene Hackman plays Head Coach Jimmy McGinty in a performance that is the textbook example of a paycheck performance. This should have been an easy victory for The Replacements, but alas, it is a defeat. There are also two assistant coaches played by Art LaFleur (from Man of the House [1995]!) and Gailard Sartain (of Ernest movies fame) but they are given nothing to do.

Winner: Necessary Roughness. Dammit.
The Verdict: Necessary Roughness wins, even though it feels awful giving it the victory. I don’t want Necessary Roughness to win. I’m amazed it sealed the victory this early. There was another category I was going to do, but The Replacements couldn’t even win if it took that category, so why bother? Quite frankly I don’t like either of these movies very much. The Replacements rebounds a bit in the second half, but it’s such a disappointment considering the talent involved. Necessary Roughness just is C-grade through and through. So, yeah. Happy Super Bowl Week everybody!

Have a recommendation for a future scorecard? Leave a comment below ☺

Next time, I’ll celebrate The Wedding Singer’s 20th anniversary by pitting it against another Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore romantic comedy, 50 First Dates.

26 comments:

  1. The Replacements is one of my favorite cable movies. It wins by default because I've never seen Necessary Roughness.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Varsity Blues... oh wait, it's not a choice

    The Replacements then, because bored Keanu is always fun, and i never saw Necessary Roughness

    ReplyDelete
  3. I had no idea Neil DeGrass Tyson was in Necessary Roughness, but it seems so based on that last picture.

    ReplyDelete
  4. How about a time travel scorecard with Bill & Ted and BttF2 for 1989 week? Or maybe a Tom Hanks scorecard: The Burbs vs. Turner & Hooch?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm in for a Bill & Ted scorecard at some point later on (wouldn't be '89 week unfortunately, got my week planned already there). Good timing too since I just got the Shout Factory set.

      Delete
  5. Gotta do Volcano vs Dante's Peak
    Or Caddyshack vs Happy Gilmore
    Perhaps The Sandlot vs Rookie of the Year

    ReplyDelete
  6. let me blow your mind here

    Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure VS Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey


    ok, that's not fair, both are awesome

    ReplyDelete
  7. Head of State vs Dave vs First Daughter vs Chasing Liberty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First Daughter vs Chasing Liberty is intriguing.

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Hearts and souls. Thank you. Completely forgot about that film. Must rewatch as loved it when I saw it

      Delete
    2. I want to see Heart and Souls but I don't see myself watching Ghost Dad again.

      Delete
  9. Terminal Velocity vs. Drop Zone!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jack Frost (1997) vs. Jack Frost (1998)?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Kind of a cheat because it is a triple and I feel like there may be a very clear winner: The Three Bomb Films of 1994.

    Speed (1994) vs Blown Away (1994) vs The Specialist (1994)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Speed would win too easily but pitting those last two against each other sounds fun.

      Delete
  12. Maybe I'll just watch the complete series of 1st & 10 instead (I won't).

    Torque vs. xXx: State of the Union (movies where F&F and xXx producer Neal Moritz turns Ice Cube into Dollar Store Diesel).

    ReplyDelete
  13. Joy Ride vs Breakdown

    ReplyDelete