This Movie Is Watchable When Drunk

Oh, boy. Another gratuitous movie review that will undoubtedly float unread in the ether, and I’m going to keep it short and sweet. Before I get into this flick–I feel the need to add that I admire Kurt Warner as a person. I always thought he was kind of humdrum–but overall he’s a likable guy, a funny prognosticator, a snazzy dresser, and someone who brought this once-proud franchise a bit of respect after being a laughingstock for a decade. 

The Kurt Warner movie American Underdog can be summed up by, “You don’t have what it takes.” 

And then he, indeed, has what it takes–the ultimate football movie trope. 

This is a very simple movie.  I expected a down and dirty, gritty football film, ( à la Burt Reynolds in The Longest Yard) but what I got was The Notebook with a sprinkling of working-class “don’t have a pot to piss in” schmaltz and vague spirituality around the edges. The football scenes feel artificial, with players moving in slow motion and the QB having the follow-through of a 12-year old who has never thrown a football in his/her life. The green screen effect makes you feel as if you’re in some sort of ethereal dimension (Shazam in the Multiverse?) rather than a football stadium, and that’s once you get past the multitude of quick-cut-edits that give you a vague sense that you’re having a stroke. 

In multitude were the scenes with Kurt’s wife trying to inspire #13 and giving him advice “a man can really stand by,” which are obviously supposed to be the tear-jerking, moral fabric, meat of the movie, but I was constantly distracted by Anna Paquin’s bad wig–a haircut never seen on a woman in my general stratosphere, which can only be described as “Star Wars Cantina” or “Canadian Chic.” There was also enough 90’s denim in this movie to throw Japanese hipsters into a collective murder frenzy. (but that could be a good thing?) All of the aforementioned coagulates into giving this movie a tinge of “it’s so bad it’s good” but never quite getting there because it takes itself way too seriously even though it teeters dangerously on being a Lifetime throwaway “chick flick.”

Coping mechanism

Actor Zachary Levi is the only thing that makes this movie somewhat watchable. I loved him in Shazam! and his character is just as likable here, but his sense of humor and comedic timing–which made the DC movie so enjoyable–is sorely missing. It’s almost a joyless slog. By the hour and a half mark of the film I was screaming, “Can you please just become a great player and win the goddamn Super Bowl already!”  

What it boils down to is that this is essentially a Christian propaganda film made to appeal to the pious, family-oriented, megachurch crowd…or a Rams fan. (but juuuust barely) Otherwise, I’d pass. Call me cynical, but all this over-the-top “inspiration” can sometimes prove to be exhausting, and also demonstrates that NFL scouts either have to embrace better analytics or that players can greatly improve by playing in inferior leagues rather than standing around and carrying a clipboard with their thumbs up their butt. 

** out of 5


23 thoughts on “This Movie Is Watchable When Drunk

  1. Steve Myers

    Hey Gary, the only football movie i’ve ever seen is Heaven Can Wait which stars a somewhat well known actor whose name i can’t think of right now, but he’s a quarterback for the Rams in the movie. I remember it being thoughtful and kind of funny too. Anyway, based on your review here, this movie doesn’t seem like one worth watching though i do have a little whisky left for my traditional Sunday night, pre-work week drink, a necessary drink because well, you know, who the hell wants to go to work tomorrow! After the whisky, maybe i’ll find a place to stream it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. retrosimba

    It sounds awful, Gary. With the long tradition of Rams in the movies and TV, there are so many better options. Just sticking with Rams quarterbacks, consider:

    _ Bob Waterfield, who, in addition to marrying actress Jane Russell, had a role in the 1951 film “Jungle Manhunt,” with Johnny Weissmuller.

    _ Bill Munson, who, along with Roman Gabiel, had a role in the 1965 “Perry Mason” TV episode, “The Case of the 12th Wildcat,” starring Raymond Burr.

    _ Roman Gabriel, who starred with John Wayne and Rock Hudson in the 1969 movie “The Undefeated.” Among Gabriel’s TV acting credits were appearances on “Gilligan’s Island,” “Wonder Woman,” and “Ironside,” (there’s Raymond Burr again).

    _ Warren Beatty, who played fictional Rams quarterback Joe Pendleton in 1978’s “Heaven Can Wait.” Real Rams appearing in the movie included Deacon Jones, Jack Snow and Les Josephson.

    There are so many other Rams in the movies and TV who didn’t play quarterback, but I’ll finish this missive with two:

    _ Lineman Tom Mack had a role in Woody Allen’s 1972 movie “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask). Don’t ask.

    _ Lineman Woody Strode was in many movies, most memorably in “Spartacus.” He also auditioned for a role in Cecil B. DeMille’s “Ten Commandments.” According to the Orange County Register, during the audition, DeMille said to Strode, “Son, may I see your legs?” Strode dropped his pants. DeMille said, “You’re the King of Ethiopia” and gave him that part.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jim Everett Table Toss Post author

      This is impressive Mark! I’ll probably refer to it many times because not only does it inspire me to watch these movies, but to write about them later. I was actually thinking about doing a piece on Bob Waterfield since he was the last QB to bring a title to Los Angeles, and hopefully Matt Stafford breaks that streak to bring that tidbit of trivia to the forefront.

      P.S. Did you forget about Fred Dryer in the 1980’s detective show, “Hunter?” Hahaha.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. rdfranciswriter

      “Another gratuitous movie review that will undoubtedly float unread in the ether.”
      — I too, feel this with every review I write. And I just keep on writing.

      My favorite football films are with those ersatz “professional’ leagues and teams. With that said: Go! L.A. Cougars! (coached by David Jannsen in 1978’s Superdome).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. J-Dub

    Two stars doesn’t really help me. I need to know how drunk do I have to be to watch this. Is it as drunk as I needed to be to watch “The Fearsome Foursome” doing a song-and-dance number?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mcbruce56

    I used to joke that “Heaven Can Wait” was obviously a fantasy because the Los Angeles Rams won the Superbowl. (I’m a long-suffering Rams fan). I used to say that the LA Rams wouldn’t win the superbowl till Hell froze over. then the Rams did it. The following Tuesday, there was a snowstorm in Victorville, in the High Desert. I guess I was right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jim Everett Table Toss Post author

      I know what you mean Bruce. The title in STL was great, but this one was special because the Rams won their first championship in LA since Bob Waterfield was the QB in 1951. I never thought I’d see it happen. Now I know how people feel when they see a miracle.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Alex Diaz-Granados

    My favorite movie that has any connection to NFL football is John Frankenheimer’s “Black Sunday,” which was (I believe) the first adaptation of a Thomas Harris novel. It was filmed in 1976, with some footage filmed during Super Bowl X at the Miami Orange Bowl. Other scenes shot after that real game featured Miami Dolphins players wearing the uniforms of the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers as stand-in members of those teams. (Sorry, no L.A. Rams appear in those scenes!)

    Incidentally, one of my high school classmates is the daughter of former Miami Police Department chief Kenneth Harms, who along with the Dolphins’ then-owner Joe Robbie, makes a brief cameo in a scene where security arrangements for the Super Bowl are discussed. My friend, Paige Harms Riveron, told me that every time she sees that scene she laughs because though you see her dad “talking,” the voice was of an SGA accredited actor.

    This was a hilarious and entertaining review, Gary!

    Liked by 1 person


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