BLUE CHIPS is the classic morality tale of the basically good
character selling his soul to the devil when he gets down on his luck.
In this case, the good guy is the college basketball coach played by
Nick Nolte and the devil is the head of the alumni association played
by J. T. Walsh. There is a throwaway roll of the coach's ex-wife
played by Mary McDonnell who was once so wonderful in DANCES WITH
WOLVES and GRAND CANYON. There are lots of basketball players in it,
all about the size of small skyscrapers, who are either corrupt or
stupid with the exception of the Shaquille O'Neal character.
Easily the best part of this movie is the ending. Wrapping up a
morality play is tricky - this one does a really nice job of it. It
also has a neat epilog that makes you think, incorrectly, for a few
minutes, that maybe this was all a true story after all.
The movie was directed by William Friedkin. Friedkin did the
highly imaginative and innovative FRENCH CONNECTION as well as TO LIVE
AND DIE IN LA. I loved both of these shows. They are both full of
energy and intelligence. There is little visible intelligence in any
of the actors or characters in BLUE CHIPS however.
The story runs 1:47 and the time passes quickly. The problem with
BLUE CHIPS is that watching it is like eating a pastry that has been
whipped so that it is all air. You ate it, but there was nothing
there. It is a very homogenized movie that never offends, yet never
seems to be for real either. It gets a PG-13 rating for the typical
bad language you hear in any locker room. Well, it does insult
religion, but most Hollywood movies feel that is mandatory these days,
so no surprise. There are a lot of good sports movies that have been
made. For basketball, go rent HOOSIERS rather than see this one. I
give the movie **, and do not recommend it.
Copyright © 1995 Steve Rhodes