Random News of the Day: Lights, camera, score!

Random News of the Day: Lights, camera, score!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010
12:28 PM

By Joe Collins

Baseball had "Field Of Dreams." Basketball had "Hoosiers". "Rudy" and "Remember The Titans" captured the spirit of football. "Miracle" did wonders for hockey. Heck, in certain ways, "Rocky" is bigger than boxing itself.

But a great movie doesn't necessarily have to revolve around the sport itself. Sometimes, a clutch sports scene can make a movie.

I remember watching "National Lampoon's Vacation" a while back. When the Griswolds finally got to Wally World, Clark and Rusty started running through the parking lot towards the theme park. The movie's producers even camped it up a bit (or a lot) with the "Chariots Of Fire" theme. I mean, how can you not want to go running after watching that?

I came up with a list of the best sports moments in NON-sports movies. Because sometimes, you just need a score, a goal, or a touchdown to make the movie, well, a home run:

"Wedding Crashers" (2005): It's the scene that made "Crabcakes and football: that's what Maryland does!" and "Sack lunch...num-num-num-num!" household expressions. I would post the clip, but given the profanity in it, I'd fear getting fired. Anyway, when you have Christopher Walken and Vince Vaughn playing quarterbacks, the scene instantly qualifies as a classic. But what makes the scene timeless is Rachel McAdams giving Owen Wilson the best flirtatious look in movie history. She lines up on 'D, against Wilson, saying she's going to cover him "like white on rice", then she gives this little head nod and smile. Man, it's just not fair.

"Lucas" (1986): This movie had everyone and everything that should make up a classic 80s flick: Corey Haim, Charlie Sheen, Winona Ryder and Kerri Green, that one girl from "The Goonies". Heck, it even had a very young Jeremy Piven. Nerdy high school kid Lucas (Haim) falls for the dream girl (Green). The nerdy kid gets trumped by the big man on campus (Sheen). The pint-sized Lucas then tries to win everyone over by joining the football team. As soon as I saw the climactic "Throw It To Lucas" scene for the first time, I felt bummed because I figured the filmmakers were aiming for the cliched ending. Fortunately, that didn't happen. "Lucas" turned Haim into a star. He would go on to headline such Oscar-worthy classics as "License To Drive" and "Dream A Little Dream".

"The Shining" (1980): I'm kind of pushing it when I say, "sports scenes in non-sports movies", especially when the sports scene is clubbling your husband in the head with a baseball bat and watching him fall down a staircase. Random trivia: the bat is signed by Red Sox hall of famer Carl Yastrzemski. I'm sure Jack Nicholson got a good look at it in point-blank range. I think it's the best five minutes of acting in Nicholson's career. And hey, when the Pirates saw what Shelley Duvall could do with the bat, they immediately signed her and put her in the leadoff spot.
"One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" (1975): I bet a lot of people still don't know where Boston Celtics legend Robert Parish got his "chief" nickname. It's a takeoff from Chief Bromden, a character from the 1975 Oscar-winning classic starring, once again, Jack Nicholson. The scene where Nicholson (Randle McMurphy) tries to teach Chief to play basketball goes down as one of the all-time greats. It's almost as good as the movie's inspirational World Series scene, where Nicholson ad-libs all things Koufax and Mantle.
"The Naked Gun" (1988): By far and away, the funniest use of sports in a non-sports movie. I have had conversations with people who know Reggie Jackson more for his "I must kill...the queen" line over anything the real Mr. October did in a real game. The clip makes fun of baseball in every possible way: the off-key rendition of The Star Spangled Banner by Enrico Palazzo, the highlight montage including a shortstop getting run down by a car, Queen Elizabeth II throwing the best curveball in history, umpire Frank Drebbin's crazy strike call and a bench-clearing brawl...complete with a thrown dining room chair. And Randy Newman's "I Love L.A." gives you a reason to love the city of angels.

Here are some others worthy of a mention:

"The Godfather II": Michael Corleone and Hyman Roth watching football"The Untouchables": Al Capone (Robert De Niro) shows how baseball is a "team" game"Airplane!": Ted Striker teaches the natives to play basketball; also, any scene with Kareem Abdul Jabbar"Diner": The Baltimore Colts quiz"Father Of The Bride" ('91): The father-daughter basketball game (hey...some girls read this column, too)"The Big Lebowski": Like "Kingpin," gave bowling a little shot in the arm"Swingers": Making Gretzky bleed in the video game"Forrest Gump": Forrest dominates the gridiron as a member of the Crimson Tide"Rain Man": The 'Who's On First' scene (or scenes)"Wayne's World": The "He shoots he scores!" hockey scene. Game on!"Short Circuit": 5 plays baseball and imitates either Cosell or Scully (yes, I just referenced "Short Circuit")"Cool Hand Luke": The boxing scene (stay down, Luke!)"Back To School": The Triple Lindy diving scene
And fade to black!

Or something like that.

Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears


Recalling moments in Tom Brady history ahead of his likely last meeting with Bears

As Tom Brady approaches what in all reasonable likelihood will be his last game against the Bears and in Soldier Field, the first time this reporter saw Tom Brady comes very much to mind. Actually the first times, plural. Because they were indeed memorable, for different reasons.

That was back in 2001, when Brady should have started replacing Wally Pipp as the poster athlete for what can happen when a player has to sit out and his replacement never gives the job back. Drew Bledsoe, who’d gotten the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl, had gotten injured week two of that season. Brady, who’d thrown exactly one pass as a rookie the year before, stepped in and never came out, playing the Patriots into the AFC playoffs the same year the Bears were reaching and exiting the NFC playoffs when Philadelphia’s Hugh Douglas body-slammed QB Jim Miller on his shoulder.

After that the playoff assignments were elsewhere, including the Patriots-Steelers meeting in Pittsburgh for the AFC Championship. Brady started that game but left with an ankle injury and Bledsoe came off the bench to get the Patriots into Super Bowl.

Then came one of those rare moments when you are witnessing history but have the misfortune of not knowing it at the time.

The question of Super Bowl week was whether Bill Belichick would stay with Bledsoe’s winning hand or go back to Brady. Belichick of course waited deep into Super Bowl week before announcing his decision at 8 p.m. on a Thursday night, the second time that season Belichick had opted to stay with Brady over a healthy Bledsoe. And of course Belichick didn’t announce the decision himself (surprise); he had it put out by the team’s media relations director.

You did have to respect Belichick, though, going into his first Super Bowl as a head coach with a sixth-round draft choice at quarterback and leaving a former (1992) No. 1-overall pick with a $100-million contract on the bench. The Patriots upset The Greatest Show on Turf Rams in that Super Bowl, Brady was MVP, and Bledsoe was traded to Buffalo that offseason.


That Super Bowl also included one of those performance snapshots the Bears envision for Mitch Trubisky but missed a chance to let him attempt last Sunday at Miami in his 17th NFL start. Brady took the Patriots on a drive starting at their own 17 with 1:30 to play and no timeouts, ending with an Adam Vinatieri field-goal winner.

If Belichick was all right letting his second-year quarterback in just his 17th start throw eight straight passes starting from inside his own red zone, the next time Matt Nagy gets the football at his own 20 with timeouts and time in hand, best guess is that the decision will be to see if his quarterback lead a game-winning drive with his arm instead of handing off.

It may not happen this Sunday. Brady is a career 4-0 vs. Bears, and if there is one constant it is that his opposite numbers play really bad football against him, or rather his coach’s defense. Bears quarterback passer ratings opposite Brady, even in years when the Bears were good: Jim Miller 51.2 in 2002, Rex Grossman 23.7 in 2006; Jay Cutler 32.9 and Cutler again in the 51-23 blowout in Foxboro. Cutler finished that game with a meaningless 108.6 rating, meaningless because Cutler put up big numbers beginning when his team was down 38-7 after he’d mucked about with a 61.7 rating, plus having a fumble returned for a TD, while the Bears were being humiliated.

A surprise would be if Trubisky bumbles around like his predecessors (New England allows an average opponent passer rating of 91.6), but whether he can produce a third straight 120-plus rating…. Then again, Pat Mahomes put a 110.0 on the Patriots last Sunday night, but Deshaun Watson managed only a 62.9 against New England in game one.

Trubisky will make the third of the three 2017 first-round QB’s to face the Patriots. The first two lost.

Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night


Bulls Talk Podcast: The ultimate Bulls briefing to get you ready for Opening Night

On this edition of the Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski sits down with Kendall Gill and Will Perdue to discuss all the need-to-know topics to get you ready for the season opener. The guys analyze how Lauri’s injury will make its mark on the early season rotation, whether Jabari will return to the starting unit or embrace the 6th-man role and why Portis betting on himself is the right move. Plus, Kendall has the key to unlock a “6th Man of the Year” award for Portis this season.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: