"The Replacements" is a wacky underdog sports movie, the latest in a
long series of films that rigidly adhere to a crowd-pleasing formula.
Despite the presence of a talent like Gene Hackman, the Keanu Reeves
football comedy is a pretty anemic piece of work, which got me thinking:
Why watch a lame formula flick when you can crank out one of your own?
Just grab your camcorder, round up some buddies and create your very own
THE DO-IT-YOURSELF WACKY UNDERDOG SPORTS MOVIE KIT
Instructions: Simply stick to the following story points. Feel free to
use your imagination, but don't get carried away. Remember, original
ideas don't go over very well in this genre.
Story Point One: The team needs to win in the worst way, and that's
probably the only way they could, because the owner is:
A. Itching to sell the franchise
B. A cynic just going through the motions
Story Point Two: The owner hires a new coach; a great guy except:
A. He has a haunted past
B. He has a problem with anger management
C. He drinks to excess
D. He's Republican
Story Point Three: The coach must round up new players fast, because the
A. Are on strike
B. Got drafted
C. Have lost their passion for the game
D. Were eaten by dingoes
Story Point Four: He rounds up a colorful group of misfits, including
(select as many as you wish from the following):
A. A handsome rebel
B. A wildly over-enthusiastic kid whose bravado masks his fears
C. A fat guy
D. A hopelessly naïve idealist
E. A gigantic man who practices voodoo
F. Three dorky brothers who turn into maniacs on the playing field
G. An over-the-hill former star whose body is giving out on him
H. A convict (former or current – it doesn't matter) who scares
I. A noble athlete often picked on because he is deaf, gay or a hick
Story Point Five: Practice begins, with the ragtag team comically
screwing up on the field (accompanied by numerous classic rock songs)
and squabbling in the locker room. A crusty real life sports broadcaster
(sometimes two) provides humorous commentary, while inexplicably
following the team to all of their games. Meanwhile, the handsome rebel
player establishes a relationship with:
A. A plucky cheerleader
B. A plucky barmaid
C. A plucky barmaid who moonlights as a cheerleader
D. His ex; hardened by their breakup, but secretly plucky
Story Point Six: Inspired by the burgeoning relationship and determined
to prove the naysayers wrong, the handsome rebel manages to pull the
players together. Despite their unorthodox methods, the team starts
winning games. The crusty broadcaster stops making fun of the team and
the empty stands fill with fans juiced by the sight of athletes who are
on the field for the "right" reasons. Unfortunately, on the eve of the
Big Game, the handsome rebel loses confidence because:
A. The coach gets sick or dies
B. His old demons return to haunt him
C. The evil owner, who secretly wants the team to lose, suspends or
D. A full moon is approaching and he fears he will change into a
Story Point Seven: Luckily, at the last moment, he receives an
inspirational speech from:
A. The coach
B. The plucky love interest
C. A teammate
D. Another werewolf
The speech will include at least one of the following statements:
A. "I look at you and see the man you are and the man you ought to be –
someday those two are bound to meet."
B. "Go ahead and give up. But just remember that if you do, you'll prove
that those jerks were right about you!"
C. "Don't you understand that you have a chance here that most men only
dream of having, and you're on the verge of throwing it all away?"
D. "Hey, asshole! Have you thought about the endorsement possibilities?"
Story Point Eight: Invigorated by the speech, he rallies the team.
Against all odds, under the worst possible conditions, they hit the
field, employing their wildest (and most illegal) plays yet. Things look
bleak, but at the very last second, the handsome rebel suggests a play
that is impossibly outrageous and:
A. They win.
There you have it. Sure, you can watch "The Replacements" and get the
expected results or you can go out and make your own movie. I have a
pretty good idea what your decision will be, though, because when I look
at you, I see the man you are and the man you ought to be – and I think
today is the day the two will meet.
Copyright © 2000 Edward Johnson-Ott