Case Study #23
Where we explore the more
obscure movies that bombed
A thoroughly enjoyable
sports movie that tanked
First things first. I really like this movie, and have seen it many times. And I still laugh every time.
The jokes are fresh, the characters are original and funny, and the actors are all on top of their game. The Replacements - released in 2000 - did not do well at the box office, however, barely breaking even.
And with names like Gene Hackman, Orlando Bloom and Keanu Reeves on the movie poster, that's a fail.
Reeves was still riding high from The Matrix, released a year earlier, and this movie should have been a slam dunk.
On to the movie....
Reeves plays a former football star named Shane Falco (and references his Point Break character) that is a has-been cleaning boat hulls for a living.
Ed O'Niel (played by the late Jack Warden) has a problem as the owner of a fictional football team called the Washington Sentinels.
His players are on strike over salary negotiations, and he needs to win the next 3 out of 4 games to enter the playoffs.
Enter Jimmy McGinty. (Gene Hackman)
McGinty is a former coach of O'Niel's, and is brought on to find replacements for the striking players and win those games.
McGinty asks for complete control over who he chooses to play - and he gets it.
Here is where I'm going to shake things up a bit.
I usually focus on the plot, camera work and pacing at Film Cemetery. But The Replacements is so funny, and uses its character so well, I'm going to target that instead.
Shane Falco - Keanu Reeves plays this character - a washed up college football player - with a wink and a smile. It isn't a perfect performance, but he is a good foil for the other zany characters.
Danny Bateman - A absolutely mental police officer played to perfection by Jon Favreau. Bateman - as a defensive linebacker - goes beserk when he sees the color red.
Nigel Gruff - A Welsh soccer player and star placekicker played by a delightful Rhys Ifans. If you liked him in Notting Hill, you'll love him here.
Clifford Franklin - A running back with slippery hands played by Orlando Bloom. Bloom has some of the funniest lines in this film.
Jumbo Fumiko - A Japanese sumo wrestler played by Ace Yonamine. A grossly overweight and extremely funny offensive tackle.
Some of the best laugh-out-loud scenes, however, are found with the Sentinel's cheerleaders - both the tryouts, and the exotic dancers that eventually make the cut. They are led by a pretty Annabelle Farfell (Brook Langton)
Note, also, that Annabelle (Falco's love interest) is horrible driver - and take a look at the very real expression of fear on Reeves face as she negotiates traffic in her Jeep.
Watch The Replacements if you've never seen it or it has been a while. It isn't a perfect film, by any means...but, by God is it funny.
Seriously, give it a shot.