We have our first participant in the finals of the Greatest Football Movie Ever tournament, as we just completed what might have been the most hotly contested match-up that we've had thus far. After a lot of bouncing back and forth with both movies taking the lead and the relinquishing it, the victory was finally pulled out by Shane Falco and the crew of The Replacements, who managed to knock off Any Given Sunday by a tally of 163 to 152.
Our next battle is a true underdog match-up, as these two movies were the two lowest seeds in the College bracket, and now they're battling it out for a shot at the finals.
In this 1998 release, Adam Sandler plays the role of Bobby Boucher, a 31-year old serving as the water boy for the SCLSU Mud Dogs. As someone that takes his duties rather seriously, he is constantly mocked and made fun of by the football players, until one day Mr. Coach Kline (Henry Winkler) tells young Bobby Boucher that he needs to defend himself against such indignities.
Bobby then rushes out on the field during practice, destroys the Mud Dogs quarterback, and Coach Klein asks him to play for the football team, and he agrees. . .on one condition. That nobody tell Bobby's mother (Kathy Bates) that he's playing the "foosball," because his mama feels that football is the debil.
The Waterboy will never be considered a cinematic masterpiece or anything like that, but it's one of those movies that is good for a few laughs, particularly if you want to just sit back, watch a movie, and not have to think to much. . .sort of in that whole Naked Gun/Airplane! kind of vein. (Although The Waterboy should never be placed on the comedic level of those movies, either, in my opinion.)
And now for a movie that not many folks would term as "inspirational."
Necessary Roughness is the story of the Texas State University Armadillos, a football program that was once prominent, but had suffered the "death penalty" similar to the one that hit the real Southern Methodist football program in the late 80s. As a result, they have only one returning player from their previous season, and no scholarships available to entice new players, so they're pretty much looking for volunteers.
Head coach Wally Riggendorf (played by Robert Loggia) thinks he can solve at least one of his problems. . .the quarterback position. He does so by bringing in Paul Blake (Scott Bakula), a star high school quarterback who never played in college because of the death of his father. Oh, did I mention that his father's death was 16 years ago? That means Blake is all old and stuff. But, since he never played, he's still eligible to enroll as a freshman and play for the football team, which is exactly what he does.
The story follows the Armadillos and their rag-tag bunch of misfits through their season, including female kicker Lucy Draper, who is played by Kathy Ireland. . .and we get an understanding of exactly why pretty much every guy in my age range had an undeniable, glassy-eyed, drooling crush on her for an extended portion of their teenage years.
Funny tidbit about this movie. . .when the film was made in 1993, there was no such thing as "Texas State University." However, in 2003, Southwest Texas State University did, indeed, change its name to Texas State University-San Marcos. The majority of the filming was done at the University of North Texas in Denton, and the Armadillo's green-and-white color scheme is exactly the same color scheme that North Texas employs.
While Necessary Roughness will probably never go down as a "classic" or anything like that, it does have its moments, and is definitely good for a few laughs.
Debate away, ladies and gentlemen. . .one of these two movies will move on to the finals of our tournament, and it's up to you to decide which one!