SBS Film Vault: Eight Men Out

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Published on : June 27, 2017


Can you imagine if a major sports championship was rigged? If it happened in today’s world it would shake the very foundation of American entertainment. The Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup playoffs, these are institutions. That’s what makes the story told in 1988’s Eight Men Out that much more intriguing. It’s the story of the 1919 Chicago White Sox, forever known as the Black Sox.


They were the team that helped throw the World Series that year, but before all that they were arguably the best baseball team ever assembled up to that point. They were damn near unstoppable and before the series, it was a foregone conclusion that they would beat the Cincinnati Reds in decisive fashion. But a penny pinching owner, a team who played in an era in which they were held hostage by that owner, and some opportunistic bad guys made sure that never happened. Let’s open up the SBS Film Vault and have a look at Eight Men Out.


The Team

This was an all star team that White Sox owner, Chalres Comiskey (Clifton James) had assembled for the 1919 season. They were led by “Shoeless” Joe Jackson (DB Sweeney) who had a .351 average and 96 RBI’s, and star pitcher Eddie Cicotte (David Strathairn) who finished the season 29-7 with a 1.82 ERA. The 1919 Chicago White Sox are still one of the greatest teams ever and finished 1st in the American League with a 88-52 record. There was no way they were going to lose to the Cincinnati Reds in the 9-game World Series. That is, until gamblers “Sleepy” Bill Burns (Christopher Lloyd) and Billy Maharg (Richard Edson), and famous gangster Arnold Rothstein (Michael Lerner), got involved.




The Fix

Despite the fact that Chicago White Sox owner, Comiskey, had a historically talented roster, he was known for being cheap with his players and out of that grew a disdain for ownership. When word of the discontent among players on the team reaches Burns and Maharg, they convince a group of players on the team, including Cicotte, who was turned when Comiskey screwed him out of a $10,000 bonus.


Eventually Rothstein takes over the conspiracy and eight players including Happy Felsch (Charlie Sheen), Swede Risberg (Don Harvey), Joe Jackson, Chick Gandil (Michael Rooker), and Buck Weaver (John Cusack) get involved. Weaver maintained his innocence after the fact, claiming to have given it his all during the series, but he still had knowledge of the fix and didn’t bring it to the attention of the authorities.




Up until Cicotte hit the leadoff hitter, Morrie Rath, with a pitch in game 1, sending the signal to Rothstein that the fix was in, no one was sure that the team would go through with it. Once they began to lose people became suspicious. It became obvious to some that the team wasn’t giving their full effort on the field. After the Reds won the series 5-3, the whispers of a fix in the World Series turned into shouts.


The Aftermath

A Chicago newsman writes an article condemning the White Sox, spurring an investigation into the World Series. All eight of the players tried in court and eventually acquitted of any wrongdoing but not before being implicated in some sort of underhanded behavior. Three players signed confessions but the documents were stolen before they could be presented to the court during trial, rendering them useless, but that didn’t stop the owners from taking the necessary precautions so nothing like that would ever happen again.


The owners came together to install the first ever league commissioner in baseball and he proceeded to ban seven players for their knowledge of the fix. Jackson was spared, but the rest never played professional baseball again. The new commissioner had the power to levy punishments against players and the position helped elevate Major League Baseball to a new level of legitimacy.




Eight Men Out is a cautionary tale about what can happen when ownership and management squeeze labor and profit off the sweat of others without properly compensating those who do the heavy lifting. The players involved in the fix paid the ultimate price by losing the ability to play the game they loved at the highest level but the league had its reputation tarnished and it took years to recover. With an old timey feel and a star-studded cast, you should go watch this movie right now before you judge these players about the mistake they made.



SBS Film Vault: Mr 3000

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Published on : May 2, 2017


Move over Andre 3000 this is Bernie Mack’s time to shine. Mr 3000 (2004) is kind of like the the How Stella got her Groove back but for Major League Baseball. There are laughs, baseball hijinks and the smooth charisma of one Bernie Mack (RIP). This is the SBS Film Vault for Mr 3000.


The story

Bernie plays retired baseball great, Stan Ross aka Mr 3000. That’s 3000 hits in the Majors. Only a few legends can claim that. Ross is an arrogant player and a guy who never really learned anything about team ball. Well the 47-year-old finds out that there was a clerical error and he really only has 2997 hits. Stan Ross’ whole identity is tied to being Mr 3000. He talks with the Milwaukee Brewers and they allow him to unretire and join the team midseason to give him a chance to get back to the magic milestone. Management sees it as a publicity stunt but for Stan Ross, it’s everything.


The Milwaukee Brewers are your regular rag-tag team of loveable losers. They are in 5th place in their division and they have no leadership. Ross joins the team and is met with no love after he bashed them to the press. It’s off to a shaky start but all of that changes once Stan gets hit 2998.


mr 3000 staduim


The cast

Bernie Mack is joined by the talented Angela Bassett (How Stella got her Groove back) who is great in everything. She also looks fantastic in this picture. Total smokeshow. We also have Paul Sorvino playing the tight-lipped coach. You may remember him as Big Paulie from Goodfellas. The catcher is played by Evan Jones who is better known for his role as Cheddar Bob in 8 Mile, you know, he’s Eminem’s friend who accidentally shoots himself in the dick. Chris Noth plays a member of the Brewers upper management but most would recognize him has Mr Big from Sex in the City. Plus there’s career actor and goon Michael Rispoli, Brian White from Stomp the Yard, and Amaury Nolasco from 2 Fast 2 Furious.


Oh yeah, there are these hilarious cameos by on-camera personalities like Larry King, Jay Leno, Michael Wilbon, Tony Kornheiser, Tom Arnold, Jon Salley, and Stuart Scott (RIP).



The lesson

This story is really about redemption. Ross rejoining the Brewers isn’t just a chance to get a few hits and pad his stats, it’s a chance to become the good teammate he never was. But the transformation can’t just stay there. Stan Ross finally discovers what it means to be a mentor and passes his knowledge down to the younger generation. Only then can he get what he needs, not what he wants. Hollywood style.


Not the best baseball movie ever. But one of the few starring a black man. In the movie, Ross’ backstory is being poor and growing up on Chicago’s south side where baseball was his only outlet. Well, that is the real Bernie Mac’s story. But maybe comedy was a better outlet than baseball.


Feel the Bern.



SBS Film Vault: Like Mike

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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



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

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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.





SBS Film Vault: Over the Top

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Published on : February 24, 2017



Sylvester Stallone was straight killing the 80’s. He was stacking hit after hit while juggling multiple franchises. Sly was flying high. In 1987, he returned to the sports movie world but this wasn’t another installment of Rocky, this was a little diddy about a truck driver finally trying to do right by his son. It’s all about family but with a solid jolt of sweaty arm wrestling. Not only is Stallone the star but he also helped write the script so you know it’s good. Now, for your nostalgic viewing pleasure, the SBS Film Vault proudly presents Over the Top.


The Story

Stallone plays Lincoln Hawk, a trucker who is meeting his 12-year-old son, Michael, for the first time. Hawk picks him up from the military academy at the request of the boy’s dying mother who just wants the father-son team to finally meet. It’s a rocky start as Michael and Lincoln are worlds apart but the road proves to be bonding ground. At their first pitstop, Michael learns why Hawk is so famous. A rando challenges Lincoln to an arm wrestling match and Stallone goes to work. Michael loves it as much as we do.


over-the-top kid


There are many classic scenes and lots of action but in terms of story, this tale is about a father and son creating the framework for a real relationship. This is a sports redemption story but the redemption is about the modern American family, where maybe everything isn’t all perfect. This is the hero step-dad movie.“One great weekend can fix it all!” Oh, also there is also some big tournament in Las Vegas, because there always is some big random thing in Vegas. Life-changing prize money and a new Semi truck. How convenient.


Arm Wrestling

The first battle we see is Hawk vs. Smasher. Hawk draws him into the trap then rotates his grip and destroys. This is when we learn that Lincoln is not to be underestimated. The next match we see is Hawk’s son Michael against, let’s call him “Arcade Bully.” It’s best 2 of 3 and Bully wins the first. Lincoln gives Michael a pep talk and he wins the next two. It must be the good genetics.


After all that and a bunch of family stuff, we have the tourney in Vegas. Huge stakes, Hawk sells his truck and bets the money on himself. AKA the American Dream. The tournament is kind of like the end of Karate Kid, it’s a double elimination round robin. Meaning you gotta lose twice to be kicked out. Hawk loses early, using up his one life-line. But Stallone rallies like a mother. He kicks ass and makes it to the finals against the 5-time champ, Bull Hurley. A giant, bald, beast of man.


Over-the-top arm


Before the finals, we see a confessional style interview with Lincoln Hawk where he explains that when he turns his trucker hat around, it’s like a switch. That wakes the truck-sized engine in Hawk’s body. I could tell you how the last round goes but you know. Still go see it, because it’s even better than you imagined.


Hawk or Hawks?

While watching the film, half of the time it seems people say “Hawks” instead of “Hawk”which is the character’s correct last name. Makes me think that the issue was so bad on set that the editors just used the best footage and didn’t care if the names were wrong. At least everything was in focus. New drinking game: pick on of the two variations and drink every time they say the opposite. Either way, you get drukn.



This is the movie Stallone made after Cobra but before Rambo III, just let that venom sink in. Head-esplode! Sly for president. Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the grandpa/bad guy is TV’s Robert Loggia. Stupid’s Alex’s favorite. Alright, your assignment for this week is to arm wrestle someone.





SBS Film Vault: Any Given Sunday

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Published on : December 5, 2016



The year was 1999 and a perfect storm was brewing. It had NFL style action, movie stars, from tantalizing director Oliver Stone and to top it all off, I was seeing it for the first time as a 14-years-old idiot. The film is Any Given Sunday and it’s a monster. Both good and bad but it’s a force to be reckoned with. It’s almost mesmerizing. Let’s crawl through the SBS Film Vault and enjoy one of my favorites.


The Stars

This one has it all. It’s like the Ocean’s Eleven of football movies. The stars include: Al Pacino, Jaime Foxx, Cameron Diaz, Dennis Quaid, LL Cool J, James Woods, Mathew Modine, Aaron Eckhart, Bill Bellamy, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor, Elizabeth Berkley, Charlton Heston, John C. McGinley, Ann-Margret, Andrew Bryniarski (Lattimer from The Program), Lela Rochon, and Lauren Holly. If that doesn’t get your Hollywood beak wet then I don’t know what will.  


The Football

Filmmaker, Oliver Stone, is famous for his flashy pics like Natural Born Killers, JFK and Platoon. His take on football is both fun and annoying. It’s totally over-the-top filmmaking that leans on the uber-dramatic. He honors the in game play with hyper-serious moments that deify the sport. It’s glorious and unreal. It slows down the game and lets the details breathe. Then, cranks up the action for a bone-crunching hit.


Any Given Sunday trio



– Cameron Diaz playing the evil boss bitch. She does it well and looks fierce. The great twist on this tired trope is that she knows the game of football really well and isn’t just some mean airhead.


– LL Cool J and Bill Bellemy partying with girls and doing powder drugs of their breasts. I didn’t even know that was a thing until this movie. For that alone, I thank Mr. Stone, from the bottom of my 14-year-old heart.


– Jamie Foxx’s character Willie Beamen’s super dope music video. Looking back, it’s hard to tell this isn’t a real thing. Call Total Request Live and vote for our boy Fox and think, this is all pre-Gold Digger.



– Willie Beamen pukes before every game. Great detail and fun texture that makes it all feel legit. These are the things that athletes see and understand. Small details go a long way.


– All the inventive end zone dances. The NFL has since banned celebrations that involve multiple people but the ones featured in Any Given Sunday are excellent. This one is my favorite. I call it the “atomic bomb.”



– *******SPOILER ALERT*******


The Miami Sharks lose at the end but it’s okay. This is this the harder ending to pull off and they totally do it. This is the real spirit of football. You lose but you see the potential for the future. Football lesson here.


The worst parts are where Stone takes us a detour that makes you think he’s never seen NFL action and he is just trying to make his Raging Bull. Lighting flashes, strange audio cues, weird editing effects show me that the author doesn’t get football because the real drama of the game is better than anything else.


No joke, this is still one of the nest NFL-esque movies ever. It’s captures the game in all its levels. It doesn’t always work but it swings at all the pitches and for that, I love it.





SBS Film Vault: Necessary Roughness

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Published on : October 31, 2016


It’s time to open the SBS Film Vault back up and dig deep for 1991’s Necessary Roughness. This is a film that is loosely based on the “death penalty” given to SMU in 1987 and only loosely funny, but full of so much early 90’s nostalgia that you’ve got to love it. Let’s open up the vault and take a look at this off the wall comedy about a sad excuse for a college football team.


Meet the Armadillos

The Fightin’ Armadillos are the pride and joy of Texas State University and have been a perennial championship powerhouse in college football. That is, until the previous administration, coaches and players were found guilty of multiple NCAA rules violations. The sanctions handed down to the team are reminiscent of those given to SMU in 1987. The resulting “death penalty” forces the team to start the season with an entirely new slate of players and coaches. To top it all off, the dean of Texas State, is a total dick that keeps trying to sabotage the team so he can shut down the program entirely.


With no scholarships, the team must hold tryouts and after the dean declares many prospective players ineligible, they are left with 17 scrubs. The team is forced to play ironman football, meaning that the players play on both offense and defense. The head coach, Ed Gennero (Hector Elizondo) and his trusty d-coordinator and assistant, Wally Riggendorf (TV’s Robert Loggia), find themselves using some unorthodox tactics to fill the holes on the team. That includes finding older players who still have NCAA eligibility for various reasons.




Quarterback, Paul Blake (Scott Bakula), is a 34-year-old former high school football star who never attended college. Coach Riggendorf finds him working the family farm and convinces him to go back to college and play some ball. Good thing they get his old ass off the farm and onto campus because it’s Blake who recruits graduate student teaching assistant Andre Krimm, played by 90’s favorite Sinbad. Krimm is a braniac who left the game behind because he was told he would need to take blow-off classes if he wanted to play. Because of that he still has a year of eligibility and is able to join the team.


Under the leadership of Scott Bakula’s poor excuse for a Texas accent, and Sinbad’s light-hearted, fun-loving attitude, the Armadillo’s are ready to take on the world! And get beaten to a pulp. One last big roster addition is the move to secure a kicker. In order to do that, the coaches poach Lucy Draper, played by bombshell Kathy Ireland, from the school’s women’s soccer team. Add in a the guys who played Alvin Mack and Lattimer in The Programand a young, fresh-face Jason Bateman, and you’ve got the makings of one awful college football team.


Poor man’s Major League

All one has to do it look at the poster for this movie to realize that they are going hard for the whole Major League thing. They lay it on pretty thick, but they can’t really pull it off. It’s pretty hard to rip off a classic that was released only two years prior, and make it all come together. It’s got a similar story, in that this is a team that is horrible and regularly gets stomped by opposing teams only to pull it together in the end and beat the first-ranked University of Texas Colts, who the team also got into a bar fight with.


Perhaps the most egregious imitation of the film Major League is the the use of a quirky announcer to cut away from the game action and accentuate just how bad this team is. Instead of the the hilarious Bob Uecker, this movie brings you the insufferable Rob Schneider. The second you see it on screen you know they are ripping off a much better sports comedy. It’s mildly infuriating and sadly not very funny. Schneider brings the whole “makin the copies” thing to the broadcast booth and makes you want to break your tv.



So that’s our quick look at Necessary Roughness. Maybe I’m being too hard on this movie, but I really don’t think so. It’s too much of a Major League ripoff too soon. As a kid, I remember watching and being entertained but I think that’s only because Kathy Ireland was on a poster in my bedroom and I was a big Sinbad fan. But don’t take my word for it. Go watch it, and report back here in the comments section to give your opinion.



SBS Film Vault: Remember the Titans

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Published on : August 24, 2016



What if I told you there was a movie starring Denzel and a host of other up-and-coming stars, that also had an amazing soundtrack and was about football? Does that sound like something you might be interested in? I thought so. Let’s open up the vault and take a minute to appreciate Remember the Titans, a true story about football and race in the American south.


Classic Denzel

This movie show us some classic Denzel Washington. Goddamn, is this man smooth or what? But he can also give ya the business too if you get out of line! It may not have some of the memorable quotes that we in got in Training Day just two short years later, but he has got some serious attitude. And it plays great. Denzel stars as coach Herman Boone, a real life person who was hired to take over the football program at T.C. Williams High School in 1971. In addition to being the first African American head coach, it just so happens that he is taking over for a man named Bill Yoast (Will Patton), who is a legend in Virginia High School football. This obviously causes a stir, but Yoast decides to accept the position of defensive coordinator under Boone, after his white players say they will not play for Boone without him.



The entire team quickly realizes that coach Boone is a no-nonsense kind of coach who is going to drill his team until they reach perfection or the point of illness, sometimes both. Training camp under Boone is brutal and he breaks down his black and white players so that he can build them back up as a single team. Denzel provides some inspirational speeches, teaching his team to respect one another regardless of race and to judge people on the basis of their character.


All Star Roster

Remember the Titans features quite the cast of other players. In addition to Denzel (my man!) and Will Patton, we’ve got one of my personal favorites, Wood Harris who plays defensive end, Julius Campbell. Harris is perhaps most well known for playing Avon Barksdale in HBO’s The Wire. This dude kills it and, besides Denzel, his relationship with all star linebacker Gerry Bertier (Ryan Hurst) is a focal point of the entire film. They go from all out race war to brothers in arms during the course of the season and it’s their combined leadership that elevates the Titans to greatness.



We also get a very skinny, baby-faced Ryan Gosling in this film. He plays linebacker Alan Bosley, who continually gets burned in coverage. When coach Yoast pulls him from the game and replaces him with that guy who played Turk on Scrubs (Donald Faison), he takes it like a champ, but his fat asshole of a dad begins yelling at the coaches from the stands. In comes a very young Hayden Panettiere, who plays Patton’s daughter/football wizkid to put that jerk in his place and tell him that his son sucks. This movie even gives us a Kate Bosworth appearance or two, to cap off this who’s who of turn of the century young stars.


The Soundtrack

As far as football movies go, I consider Remember the Titans to be one of the better ones. It’s still not all that great, but most football movies aren’t very good. One reason that you should definitely tune in to this film though, is the soundtrack. Top to bottom, this movie is filled with hits and it uses the music to put you in the moment. When the Marvin Gaye kicks in immediately following this moment of cultural exchange, you know that the team is going to be alright. Check it out for yourself.



Marvin Gaye, War, Cat Stevens and Ike & Tina Turner are just a few of the hitmakers to grace this soundtrack. If it wasn’t for the music, I would not be such a fan of this movie but the fact of the matter is that it really ties the whole thing together. The music in this movie invokes feelings of joy, pride and sadness. If it doesn’t make you a fan then you probably have no soul.


That’s it for this trip into the SBS Film Vault. Remember the Titans is a high school football classic that shows us that racial prejudice is only a construct of a racist society. If we all take the time to shed our ignorance and hate, see people for who they are instead of who we believe they are, and groove out to some hit tunes while playing some football, we can end racial hatred for good.



SBS Film Vault: The Sandlot

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Published on : August 3, 2016


In 1993, the world was set on fire by one backyard baseball movie. And that, was The Sandlot. It was funny, heartwarming and told a story of youth that we can all relate to. Thematically the film is less about sports and more about life but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s bust into the SBS Film Vault for a quick game before the streetlights turn on and we have to go inside for dinner.


The kids

Our narrator (also the writer and director) takes us back to the summer of 1962 where the young version of himself, called Scotty Smalls, first meets the Sandlot crew and his life is changed forever. There is Benny the superstar, Yeah-yeah, Timmy, Repeat, Squints, Ham, Kenny, and Bertram.


The-Sandlot crew


This cast is stacked. Like the original dream team. The actor who plays Benny also stars in D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks. Also in D2 is Brandon Quintin Adams, who plays Kenny. He is also in the original The Mighty Ducks and one of my favs, The People Under the Stairs. Ham is played by Patrick Reena who was also cast in The Big Green, another kid’s sports flick. Plus it has Dennis Leary in the only role I like him in other than Demolition Man. Also, Smalls’ mom is Karen Allen, who you may remember from such small films as Animal House and Raiders of the Lost Ark. 


The plot

Newbie Smalls, takes a Babe Ruth signed ball from his stepdad (Leary) and brings to the Sandlot for their daily game. The ball gets hit over the fence before any of the other guys know what they are playing with. But you can’t just go over there and get the ball, because behind the fence lives: THE BEAST. A monstrous junkyard dog that kills anything that goes over that wall. Now, Smalls and team must do the unthinkable and recover the ball, no matter what it takes.





– On a super hot day, Squints, jumps off the deep end of the city pool forcing smoking hot lifeguard, Wendy Peffercorn, to save him. Mid CPR, we learn it was all a plan to get some lip-on-lip action with Wendy. Classic. And kind of rapey.

– Ham teaches Smalls how to make his first s’more. First you take the graham, stick the chocolate on the graham, then you roast the mallow. When the mallow’s flaming, you stick it on the chocolate. Then you cover it with the other end. Then (and I’d say most importantly) you scarf.

– PF Flyers. AKA, the dopest shoes in the galaxy. Literally makes you run faster and jump higher. This flick was way ahead of it’s time. It even had a shoe tie-in. That’s clever.

******Spoiler Alert******

– The epic chase between Benny and the Beast in the third act. It’s like it’s own episode of Looney Tunes. It’s filled with visual jokes and dramatic setups. It’s almost Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. 


sandlot jones


– James Earl Jones shows up at the end. That’s right, Darth Vader and Field of Dreams makes an appearance in the last reel. The kids discover that the mean old man with the killer dog is really just blind Mr Mertle and his old hound, Hercules. Not scary at all. On top of that, he knows everything about baseball and helps Smalls replace his Ruth ball with one signed by a the whole 1927 Murder’s Row Yankees, including Ruth.


Memorable lines, great characters and a solid cast make The Sandlot a classic. It has that awesome quality where the story is for kids but it plays to the adults as well. And above all, it captures that feeling of youth and makes you want to get outside and throw the ball around. It’s a movie I’ll always remember for-ever-er.


You’re killing me Smalls.



SBS Film Vault: Ace Ventura Pet Detective

Written by :
Published on : May 26, 2016




Jim Carrey owned the 90s. Films like The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, Batman Forever, Cable Guy, Liar Liar, and The Truman Show were staples of the decade. But maybe the best of them was Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. It says ‘pet’ in the title but this flick is more NFL than anything else. Dan Marino, the Miami Dolphins, and their field goal-kicking mascot, Snowflake, round out the background of this laugh-riot. Let’s bust out the VHS and re-explore Ace Ventura, ScoreBoredSports style.


The plot

The mascot of the Miami Dolphins, a dolphin named Snowflake is kidnapped just before the Super Bowl. Jim Carrey’s character, Ace, is hired to find the fish (mammal) before the big game kicks off. Did we mention the dolphin kicks field goals? Yeah, so this is super important. It should be known that Ventura is an animal expert with a wicked sense of humor. So sit back and get ready to enjoy. Oh yeah, and Courteney Cox is there, too. She works for the football team.


Dan Marino



The film has Marino in the Super Bowl which only ever happened once in 1985, and they lost. But Dan is one of the best QB’s ever, and he is pretty funny in the movie. Maybe he should do more film work, like his part in Bad Boys II. Late in the film, Marino gets kidnapped by the bad guys so he’ll miss the big game. Ace saves the day and gets Dan back for the second half of the Super Bowl. That would be a pretty amazing story if it were real.


Tone Loc

This smooth-ass brother deserves his own segment. His character, Emilio, is the only person in the Miami Police Department that tolerates Ace. Tone Loc also has an original song in the movie. This guy does it all. But really it’s all about that deep voice. I hear it and I think about Loc’s hit “Wild Thing” or the movie FernGully: The Last Rainforest where he voices a cartoon lizard. It’s real gold from my childhood. Emphasis on hood. Reptile jokes aside, Emilio believes Ace when no one else will, and having a cool black friend is always good for your weird white protagonist.


Ace Ventura 3


I close out with Ace beating the crap out of the Philadelphia Eagles mascot during the Super Bowl. The mascot scares away a rare bird Ace has been trying to capture all movie. They start brawling, then the camera goes on Ace and they introduce him as “a lover of all animals” while he continues to wail on the eagle. Just perfect.


Alrighty then.



SBS Film Vault: Varsity Blues

Written by :
Published on : May 19, 2016


Imagine being a 15-year-old that stumbles upon a movie with sports, drama, and nudity. Varsity Blues is one of my top 15 movies. The movie itself isn’t all that great. Watching it again as an adult, I’m less enamored with the nudity and the hijinks of the football players. However, there is a nostalgia attached to it that takes me back to sitting in my bedroom watching every detail intently, hoping my high school years would mirror the movie.


Although, I couldn’t relate to some of the plot points of the movie (I had yet to lose my virginity and I definitely was not a star on my football team) it still was interesting to me. Lead character Mox (James Van Der Beek) had a roller coaster senior year. He went from being a bench warmer to the starter. His arm talent was always there but his shortcomings were that he was more a scholar than jock and that he was treated like his dad was decades before. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree in the eyes of Coach Kilmer (Jon Voight).


                                                                  Tweeter is up to his tricks again.


Now the guy I thought was the coolest was Tweeter (Scott Caan). A total badass and goofball, Tweeter definitely made a scattered movie, funny. From stealing a cop car (he also detained a few hot, naked girls) to hitting an old school alum in the groin with a bat, Tweeter definitely is must watch in this movie. On the other end, there was more to be desired in the movie for a young Paul Walker. He plays star quarterback, Lance Harbor. Not too far into the movie he suffers a horrible ACL tear and with that he becomes part of the supporting cast.


The tear-jerking moment comes when Coach Kilmer berates and kicks the lovable offensive lineman Billy Bob (Ron Lester) out of a post-game meeting. At this point, you see how important football is for these kids and more so how much it is like religion in the state of Texas. Billy Bob is an interesting character, and as much as he is stupid, he is also kind hearted.


There’s even the stereotypical black guy role. Wendell Brown (Eliel Swinton) is the black kid that isn’t great in school but is the bell cow for the football team. He has all the rushing yards but no touchdowns because the coach prefers the quarterback gets the glory. Brown made the most of his opportunity and was a great supporting role.


                                              Just football dudes, doing football dude stuff.


The highlight of the movie is when the guys decide to go to a strip club the night before a big game. Too young to drink but they’re allowed in the club anyways and they’re having the time of their life. Then, they become witness to their favorite female teacher performing on stage at her second job. It leads to all kinds of hijinks and more nudity.


Overall, while not my favorite movie, it is one that remains etched in my mind based on when I viewed it. If I had one suggestion, I would tell a first time viewer to watch it with their significant other. After the movie, ask them to make you a sundae.



SBS Film Vault: Space Jam

Written by :
Published on : April 25, 2016



The Monstars, the Tune Squad, Michael Jordan and Bill Murray. How could Space Jam not be great? It’s got that sweet R Kelly song “I believe I can fly” plus Danny Devito lends his voice to the roll of of the villianous manager of the Monstars, Swackhammer. 1996 could only be so lucky. This was obvious pandering but it worked out so well. So let’s take another look at a perfect hybrid of NBA action and Saturday morning cartoons that was Space Jam. Hands down, Jordan’s best movie. Maybe the best thing he has ever done.



During a relaxing game of golf, hall of fame basketball player, Michael Jordan gets sucked into the cartoon world where he is recruited by Bugs Bunny to play a basketball game against the Monstars. A super charged group of aliens who mean trouble for the tunes. Jordan agrees to help Bugs and the others. Now, MJ must whip the Tune Squad into shape before the big game. But that is easier said than done.


Space-Jam 2
                                                                               Squad goals


Good guys

Besides Jordan, the Tune Squad is made up of Bugs Bunny, Lola Bunny, Taz and Daffy Duck. These are your starters with Michael as player/coach. On the bench is Elmer Fudd, Tweety, Sylvester, Foghorn Leghorn, Wile E. Coyote, Yosemite Sam and some other animated scrubs. Bill Murray Joins later.


Bad guys

The Monstars come from a place called Moron Mountain and are led by coach/evil space tycoon Swackhammer who will stop at nothing to trap the Looney Tunes and force them to be entertainment back on Moron Mountain. Swackhammer stole the athletic ability of known NBA stars Charles Barkley, Larry Johnson, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing and Muggsy Bogues and transferred that power into his own team. Making a pretty lethal squad. Luckily for the tunes, they have Jordan.




The big game

At halftime, the Tune Squad is getting destroyed. MJ gives this great speech and all the tunes drink this secret potion they think is going to make them play great. It’s really just plain old water but the stupid tunes don’t know any better. I’m kind of surprised they went with a performance enhancing drug angle. But hey, it was the 90’s.


Let’s talk real basketball real quick. The Monstars literally have no bench. You think that fatigue would catch up to them in the second half. Also, if the ref (Marvin the Martian) called even a faction of the fouls that the Monstars routinely commit then they would all foul out of the game by the second quarter.


Also there is this insane Pulp Fiction reference where Elmer and Yosemite pull guns on the court. Totally illegal by the way.


space jam pulp fiction


Cut to the end of the game. It comes down to the last possession. Jordan gets the ball. Clock running out. He takes a dribble and…well I’m not going to spoil it. If you don’t know then go watch it.


There have been rumors about a Space Jam 2 with LeBron James but I don’t ever think that is going to happen. Maybe drop James and replace him with Kevin Durant or maybe Steph Curry. I know they will make (or remake) anything these days but I kind of hope they never make a part two. The original was a perfect storm of popular things colliding that trying to reproduce it will almost certainly be a failure. If one must expand the world of Space Jam, then can I suggest changing the sport? Make it soccer with Messi or football with Cam Newton. I’d pay to see that.



I believe I can fly.



SBS Film Vault: The Program

Written by :
Published on : April 8, 2016



I don’t know about you, but I LOVE this movie. Maybe it’s because of the times I enjoyed watching it with fellow high school football teammates and getting pumped up before games or maybe it’s just because it’s a totally badass college football movie. I think it’s probably a little bit of both, but it really has everything you could want in a football flick. Sweet game footage, PED use, a U of M victory, Halle Berry, a Bo Schembechler cameo. Those last parts are more for me personally, but you get my point.


Let’s take a look at this wonderful film about the fictional ESU Timberwolves and re-live some sweet 90’s memories.


Epic trash talk

There is some seriously great trash talk in this movie. Much of which was co-opted by my teammates and I during our glory days of high school football. Take star linebacker, Alvin Mack for example. This guy knew how to talk some serious shit to the opposition. Many high level athletes, especially defenders, believe that the mental aspect of the game is just as important as the psychical. Alvin Mack would say some wildly fucked up shit to get inside the head of his opponents. Watch below and enjoy.



Star studded cast

There is some real star power in this cast: James Caan, Halle Berry and Omar Epps. Sure it is more relegated to the 90’s (Epps), and some of it has stood the test of time through the decades (Caan). But no matter how you slice it, there’s some talent in this cast, and it’s needed in order to carry some of the less talented thespians.


Caan takes us into the world of the coach of a major college football program who is having the screws put to him by his superiors at the school. In his desperation to keep his job, he shows the kind of moral ambiguity that hollywood would tell us is characteristic of people in his position. Halle Berry and Omar Epps bring one of the stronger romantic relationships to The Program. With Berry’s sharp tongue and Epps’ suave demeanor, there are times when their relationship is one of the better parts of the film.


THE PROGRAM, Al Wiggins, Halle Berry, Omar Epps, 1993. (c)Touchstone Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection


Sick game footage

The game footage in this movie is off the chain. Sure, it’s over the top and probably too artistic, but it is a movie after all. The hits are violent and everything is in slow motion. It really romanticizes a sport that is mostly a lot of standing around interspersed with the occasional 10 seconds of action. For that, I love it. Maybe not everyone can handle watching an entire football game, but I bet everyone would love to watch the game scenes in this movie.


The seedy underbelly

Besides all this other totally bad ass stuff, this story shows the dark side of college athletics, and college life as a whole. First off, there’s the use of steroids which wasn’t really a the hot button issue back in 1993 that it is today. We see the coaching staff look the other way as Steve Lattimer, who put on 35 lbs of muscle over the summer and seizes the starting defensive end job while scaring the shit out of everyone around him.



Other than that, this film touches on substance abuse and sexual assault. Both of which are prevalent on college campuses. In a ‘roid-fueled rage, Lattimer, whose calming presence we witnessed above, attempts to force himself upon a girl at a party. His actions draw the ire of the university and his coaches, but it is all swept under the rug so that the team doesn’t suffer.


As for the substance abuse, we all know that alcoholism is something that is ever-present on just about every college campus. The team’s star quarterback is an alcoholic following in the footsteps of his drunken father. After getting a DUI, the coach is forced to send him to rehab. He overcomes his drinking problem and faces his own father in order to address the underlying issues. In the end, he finds peace of mind and gets the girl.



The movie ends with a few of the coaches walking away from the team’s final game and already discussing next season. Illustrating that college football is a beast that is bigger than it’s individual parts. The faces and the names on the back of the jersey may change, but the program keeps moving forward. Nothing can stop it, and for that we are thankful.




SBS Film Vault: Cool Runnings

Written by :
Published on : March 26, 2016



The best movie about bobsledding ever. I dare you to name another. I’ll wait while you look it up. Cool Runnings has it all: jokes, laughs, humor, redemption, John Candy. And no, I didn’t photoshop that picture. Let’s once again crack the SBS Film Vault and dissect one of the coolest pieces of sports cinema.


If you haven’t seen this retro masterpiece then do it. If you’re pressed for time then watch the trailer. It pretty much gives the whole movie away. I’d say it holds up pretty well. Is that 1993 or 2016? I can’t tell the difference. Looks HD to me.



There are some crazy racial stereotypes all over this flick. Back when it was okay for Disney to put stuff like that in kid’s movies. You mostly have to look past that junk. Generally speaking, the narrative is positive and preaches a story of inclusion. That’s the thing about sports that I truly love. It’s power to bring people of different backgrounds together. Just like the Olympics or in this case, the winter games.


This is John Candy’s version of A League of Their Own but with Jamaicans instead of women. Another classic underdog story where we spend most of the time seeing these outsiders fail in a hilarious ways until they put it all together. Earning the respect of their Nordic bullies in the process. There are many great scenes but I think we all remember them training in the bathtub as a real standout moment. It’s imagery like this that keeps Cool Runnings in the zeitgeist. And it’s pretty funny.


cool runnings bathtub


I think we like stories like this because it reminds us that we can succeed in areas we have never tried. That is the promise of hope. That maybe you are a great bobsledder or writer or chef and you don’t even know it yet. We all want to believe there is untapped potential still ahead of us. Isn’t that a warm thought? This is a message we as a people need to hear more. Call me corny, just don’t call me late for dinner.



I will discuss the end of the movie in medium to light detail. Be warned. But also keep reading anyway. It’s rude to stop this far in.



I dig the end because it follows the Rocky model where they don’t win the big game but they get the emotional win and finish with pride. Because sometimes going the distance is enough to change perception. These types of endings are great and realistic. I always give a filmmaker credit for having the guts to wrap their feel-good story up with a loss. It takes real chops. But Any Given Sunday nails it. And those bittersweet conclusions are what sports movies are all about.


The takeaway is don’t write off anyone and don’t write off this movie. Behind the goofy exterior is a lion’s heart. And a dream of a better tomorrow.


Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up! It’s bobsled time!



SBS Film Vault: Futuresport

Written by :
Published on : February 24, 2016


This movie is wild. I only wish the game was real. It’s kind of like Quidditch, but sexier and with hoverboards. It’s got Dean Cain AKA the original Channing Tatum. Also Wesley Snipes and Vanessa Williams. Throw in some cheap sci-fi thrills and maybe this straight-to-video release is better than you think.


This film is like the movie Rollerball (1975 version, not the 2002 remake which is a disaster) but Cain plays the Caan part. Simple right? Considering, this game is made up, it is pretty cool. Teams of five compete in a banked arena. Object of the game is to secure possession of the ball and throw it into the goal. Team with the most points at the end of regulation, wins.


James Caan in Rollerball


The ball starts pulsing with electricity after 5 seconds of being held. To encourage players to pass and not hold the rock for too long. Many players attempt to keep the ball longer than the 5 seconds, this is affectionately called “ride the lighting.” Nice Metallica reference. Also, the defenders are allowed to carry these metal staff looking things that they use to attack opposing players. Futuresport is violent and there doesn’t seem to be many rules for player safety. Just the way we like it.


Each team has Flyers, who are the forwards on the hoverboards. These are the star players who are supposed to score the majority of the points. Dean Cain’s character, Tre Ramzey, is the top Flyer in the world. Then you have the Blockers, these are the big boys with the metal sticks. They are also on roller blades and move a little slower. These enforcers try and slow down opposing Flyers any way they can.




Later in the film, we learn that the game of Futuresport started in streets AKA the Down Zone with gangs playing on skateboards to settle turf wars in a non-lethal way. Then the sport got a mega-corporate facelift. Some say Tre Ramzey is a sellout for taking the cash and fame. Wesley Snipes’ character, Obike Fixx, is a boss in the Down Zone and does a weird Jamaican accent. I’m not sure if that’s a flaw or selling point.


The only problem with this picture is that there is a bunch of plot and not enough Futuresport action. The first game isn’t ’till minute 18. That’s way too late. The second act sets up a crazy plot line about the North American government clashing with the Pacific Commonwealth over who should control Hawaii. To prevent a possible war, Ramzey suggests playing a game of Futuresport where winner gets the islands. So now the teams are all switched up and the fate of millions hangs in the balance. Juicy.


The big final game is pretty dope. They set up and pay off a lot of things and it’s satisfying. I’d say more but you should watch it. I was looking for a good clip but here is the whole damn movie:



Futuresport takes place in 2025 (and Chelsea Clinton is President). So that means we got 9 years to get our shit together and makes this sport real. Who wants to invest? I’ll start the bidding at $1.


Dean Cain.



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