Saturday, November 5, 2022

Why 1991's "Necessary Roughness" is the worst sports movie of all time


It's not because it "stars" Scott Bakula as a 40-year old former High School quarterback who hasn't thrown a football in 22 years yet can still compete against guys half his age with twice his muscles and three times his muscle memory.  

It's not because it features Sinbad as a 30-something former High School defensive tackle who "has one year of eligibility left" who despite not being in any kind of shape can compete against guys more than a decade younger than he is.

It's not because it also includes Roy Schneider as an obnoxious play by play announcer who is apparently hooked up to a loudspeaker so he can pretend he's doing television and call plays as they develop on the field because that's how that works.  Schneider is actually only in this film to beat to death the schtick he was kind of known for from a few SNL skits in 1990 ("FUMBLEREENO! FUMBELAYA! THE FUMBELATOR!"), and his two minutes of total screen time is at least a minute and fifty seconds too much. 

It's not because we see Robert Loggia slumming it as the worst coach of all time, reacting to dropped passes by screaming NO NO NO and throwing his playbook to the ground because We've All Seen That Before. 

It's not even because Kathy Ireland shows up for about eight total minutes of screen time because There's Nothing In The Rule Book that says (insert nonsense that you can bet IS IN THE RULE BOOK.)

Necessary Roughness is really, really bad for all of the above reasons, but none of them are the reason, and all of them put together wouldn't make this the worst sports movie of all time.  No, the reason this film fails so badly is because it takes concept that had already been done much better in Major League and would later be done much better in The Mighty Ducks- the Triumph of the Plucky Underdogs- and sticks it into the least plausible of all sports, college football.   

Anyone out there ever WATCH a college football contest?  On a weekly basis, a ranked team will defeat an unranked team by five, six, seven touchdowns or more.  Last Saturday Ohio State beat a very good Kansas team by 44 points, and that wasn't close to the biggest blowout of the day.  Every once in a while, yeah you see huge upsets, but those occur when an underrated squad ambushes a tired, overconfident or injury-riddled favorite.  But in Necessary Roughness, a team of old, out-of-shape, undersized and basically talentless dopes walk into the final game of the season with an 0-8-1 record and end up defeating the UNDEFEATED NUMBER ONE TEAM IN THE COUNTRY which for some reason is in the same conference as the Scott Bakula-lead Loveable LosersTM.  Oh, and did I mention that Bakula's team wins while playing Iron Man Football (in order to keep the "stars" on the field, the same players are on offense and defense?)  Oh, and did I mention that despite the team being old, out-of-shape, undersized, talentless and playing Iron Man football, the same players play every game and NONE OF THEM SUFFER ANY INJURIES?

In real life, this team loses 100-0 every week except for the last one, when they play the national champs and lose 150-0 with the final three quarters being played with the loveable loser starters watching from the hospital.  This is really, really bad because it doesn't even get over the ridiculously low bar that American audiences are willing to set for films of this type.  We'll accept an undersized high school basketball team which includes a morbidly obese kid and a 110-lb. Michael J Fox beating a much more talented group of kids because it's Local High School Basketball.  We'll accept a kid who has never been in a Karate Tournament and basically learns to fight on the spot ending up winning because hey none of us has ever been to a Karate Tournament and probably didn't even know they were real things.   But we are so familiar with college football that this is just way too much for any of us to watch with an open mind. I mean, come on give me a break.

Oh, and Fred Thompson (RIP) is in this dumpster fire too.  As if we needed another reason to avoid it.  All in all, a completely forgettable film which is also an insult to the intelligence of anyone who even casually follows college football and which leaves us wondering why it was ever conceived at all. 

1 comment:

  1. It was commissioned for one reason: as a sop to the Al Bundys of the world who want to believe in miracles and live in a world where they win all the time. It's why we have that runty goofball Stallone racing around with more guns than a small country posturing when in reality, he'd be ventilated in five seconds.