SBS Film Vault: Like Mike

Written by :
Published on : April 19, 2017

 

 

2002’s Like Mike is another orphan sports story just like Angels in the Outfield. But our hero isn’t watching from the sidelines, he ends up balling with real NBA pros. It’s really like Angels in the Outfield mixed with something like Rookie of the Year. But with basketball. Time to lace up your favorite sneakers and hit the hardwood for this latest update of the SBS Film Vault.

 

The story

13-year-old Calvin Cambridge (Bow Wow) lives in an orphanage where basketball is his biggest passion. He sells candy bars outside LA’s Staples Center for the orphanage’s crooked proprietor. Calvin remains upbeat and knows he is destined for something big. One day, Calvin finds an old pair of sneakers with the initials “MJ” on the faded tongue. Could they really be Michael Jordan’s old kicks? Well before we can find out, local youth home bully, Ox, tosses the sneakers onto a power line. Cut to later, Calvin and his buds go out in a rain storm with the hopes of getting the shoes down. Lighting, the power line, it’s all very Back to the Future. Calvin survives the lighting strike and now the Nikes seems magically charged.

 

like mike shoe

 

Later, the orphan kids win tickets to the game and then Calvin wins a chance to play 1-on-1 with LA Knights star (yeah, they have a fake team even though the rest of the league is real NBA) Tracy Reynolds (Chestnut) at halftime. Calvin laces up his shoes and wishes to be “like Mike” and after that, he is. He can dribble, shoot and dunk just like his Airness himself. That’s right, 4’8″ Calvin Cambridge can easily dunk the ball. Yeah it shocks everyone. Calvin gets signed to the LA Knights and this flick is off and rolling. The only catch being, he needs to be wearing the shoes for the magic to work.

 

The cast

Starring Lil Bow Wow or Bow Wow or Shad Moss, depending on how well you know him. The funny little kid from Jerry Maguire (Jonathan Lipnicki) and a whole host of real NBA stars. Including: Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Dirk Nowitzki, Gary Payton, David Robinson, Rasheed Wallace and Chris Webber just to name a few. Also real actors like Morris Chestnut, Crispin Glover, Eugene Levy, Brenda Song, Jesse Plemons, Fred Armisen, Reginald VelJohnson and Robert Forster.

 

like mike poster

 

Takeaways

No it’s not the Lakers or Clippers, the made up Los Angeles team is the Knights which is great. Only thing better would have been the Hollywood Knights. Bob Seger rules! Tracy, the Knights other star, adopts the fucking kids at the end! Just like Angels in the Outfield. Both Calvin and his buddy Murph move in with Tracy. Who is another single man who spends all his time traveling for work and he just brings home two human beings like it’s picking up a pizza. Michael Jordan never shows up. You’d expect at least a small cameo, but nothing. I’m sure there was a very important card game he was attending.

 

This flick is really just a 99 minute commercial for Nike. I wouldn’t be surprised if the real Michael Jordan was a secret producer on this project. It’s all one big conspiracy to sell more sneakers and apparel. Seems like a bet MJ would take. I mean he is thanked in the credits. Just saying.

 

It must be the shoes.

 

 


SBS Film Vault: Angels in the Outfield

Written by :
Published on : March 19, 2017

 

Disney’s Angels in the Outfield came out in 1994 and is full of everything that you’d expect when you think of a kid’s sports movie and 90’s Disney. It’s an underdog’s story with slapstick jokes that gets pretty cheesy. But it’s chalk full of charm and movie stars. So let’s dive into the SBS Film Vault and rewatch a nice Christian baseball flick.

 

The story

Angels in the Outfield is the story of Roger (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a young kid from a broken home who loves the local baseball team even though they are in last place. Roger just wants to have a family to call his own because his dead-beat dad ditched him and sarcastically answers the question of “when are we going to be a family again?” with “when the Angels win the pennant.” And that will never happen because the Angels stink. No hitting, no pitching, no chemistry. Nothing. But one night, while praying, Roger asks God for a family and explains that can only happen if the Angels win, “so maybe you could help them win a little?”.

 

This is when things get real wild. Roger goes to the next game and sees a pair of real life angels help the baseball Angels win a game! But no one else can see them but Roger. Christopher Lloyd plays Al, the head angel who talks with Roger. He explains that Roger asked for help so they are here to help. Through some crazy circumstances, Angels manager, George Knox (Danny Glover), discovers that Roger is responsible for the divine intervention and starts bringing him to every game. Roger quickly becomes an integral part of the team and even has a special sign for when he sees his flying friends.

 

angels gif

 

The cast

Talk about a loaded roster, this movie is packing serious firepower from top to bottom. Leadoff with Danny Glover, then star Joseph Gordon-Levitt, followed by Christopher Lloyd. Oh yeah also Matthew McConaughey, Adrien Brody, Dermot Mulroney, Neal McDonough, Ben Johnson, Tony Longo, Brenda Fricker (the Pigeon Lady from Home Alone 2: Lost in New York) and Taylor Negron. Plus the jerky sports announcer guy is played by fantastic character actor Jay O. Sanders. Also, Tony Fucking Danza is in it. Ever heard of him? Most folks agree, he’s the boss.

 

Give me a second. I’m too star-struck to think right now.

 

The insanity

This is the official *****SPOILER ALERT***** If you haven’t seen the movie yet and/or want to watch it with virgin eyes then skip this section. Now, that the children are gone, let’s unpack all the wacky things this movie tries to pull off.

 

In the last game of the season, Al shows up to talk to Roger, he explains no angels are coming to help because it’s a championship game (for the division crown) but that he is there to keep an eye on Danza’s character, pitcher Mel Clark, who will die in 6 months and is picked to become an angel. As Roger tries to process this, Al continues to say that Clark smoked for years. And that’s basically it. They just drop this huge bombshell on this kid, then use all that as an anti-smoking campaign. It’s crazy.

 

tony danza angels

 

That’s not even the most insane thing about this movie. At the end, Danny Glover adopts the fucking kids and everyone is cool with it. This rage-aholic baseball manager gets to adopt two kids even though he has no partner and he works 9 months of the year.

 

Angels in the Outfield is part of the strange sub-genre of orphan/lost kid sports films. There is something about a child with a broken home that makes them the ultimate underdog. My last thought about this picture is that it flirts with being anti-sports and competition. It’s not fair for one team to have supernatural assistance. At least let the other side use steroids to level the playing field. I want Roger to have a family but not at the cost of the integrity of baseball.

 

Believe.

 

 


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