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The Replacements

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Replacements

Starring: Keanu Reeves, Gene Hackman
Director: Howard Deutch
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 114 Minutes
Release Date: August 2000
Genres: Comedy, Sports

*Also starring: Brooke Langton, Jack Warden, Jon Favreau, Rhys Ifans, Orlando Jones, Brett Cullen, Gailard Sartain

Review by Edward Johnson-Ott
1 star out of 4

"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 film, using:


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 regular players:

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 nave 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 everybody 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 replaces him D. A full moon is approaching and he fears he will change into a werewolf

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

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