Saturday, March 24, 2007

Uncle olvlzl Learns a Lesson

Posted by olvlzl.
Baseball season would appear to be on us again. I would have been able to ignore it as usual if it hadn’t been for my 12-year-old niece begging me to let her watch a movie last night. Uncle olvlzl was baby-sitting. As I was reading the paper and it was a Friday night I asked her what movie she had in mind. “Bad News Bears”, she said. Not being much of a movie watcher I had a vague memory of something featuring Walter Matthau in a sort of seedy O Henry role. Ok, I said. Lesson one, don't let the name fool you.

Before a minute had passed the Hollywood school of rock music informed me that this wasn’t that movie. After another ten minutes I was disgusted to find that there had been a remake with Billy Bob Thornton leading a bunch of foul-mouthed, sexist piglets in a thoroughly awful movie. Now, there are generally three plots that comprise the entire oeuvre of the sports movie, young athlete gets cut down in his prime, immature jock can’t cut it in life, and, worst of all, team of misfits gets their asses in gear and win. This was the last one and it was the most revolting example of that genre I’ve ever had the misfortune of experiencing. The Thornton character, Morris Buttermaker starts off a boring, vulgar, stupid, sexist drunk and goes downhill from there. The rather would-be cloying wisdom that gets introduced (according to formula) only makes things worse.

I don’t know what kind of children Thornton or the director, Richard Linklater, know but these movies that present obnoxious guttersnipes as examples of cute kids aren’t only disgusting, there have been enough of them to be intensely boring. The scene of the little leaguers victory celebration at a Hooters leads me to wonder what the producers got by way of product placement.

The irresponsible in loco parentis plot device probably reached its highest point with Jason Robards in “A Thousand Clowns”. He had the last word in 1965. It should be retired.

Another lesson, 12-year-olds aren't old enough to pick out the movie unattended.