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Jackass Number Two (2006)
20-somethings getting hurt is funny...30-somethings...not so much
Instead of bowling over with laughter where I probably should have, I felt a deep concern for these Jackass folks which I've spent the last eight years or so watching in very forms. To me, Jackass Numer Two was the passing of an era. The main thing I noticed is how incredibly old everyone in the cast is looking (and sounding) these days. The howls of pain no longer tickled my funny-bone. Instead, I felt sorry for these people. The creaking bones and pain pill addictions which invariably will come from performing these stunts, left me at times shaking my head. At one point in the film, Bam Margera turns to the camera and says something about not wanting to do a Jackass Three...as if that wasn't enough....there's a very tired and very drunk Margera at the close of the credits painfully trying to take off his pants, while falling into a booby trap set up by the crew. His body, wrecked with burn scars and bad tattoos, straightens up and he turns to the camera and says "This isn't funny anymore." And you know...he's probably right. Yes, there are certain moments of comedic genius to be found dressing up as a Bad Grandpa, but falling off an old-fashioned bike when you're pushing 35-years old is in a way sad. The most horrifying image of the film is a bloated Preston Lacy lying in a pile of garbage cans after doing an unwise slide for the musical number. You see the crew run to his aid, but they're not laughing...and shortly thereafter the film, which is filled with some of the greatest punk rock ever produced goes out in stone cold silence.
The Game of Their Lives (2005)
Possibly the worst sports film of all time
Certainly there have been sports films that were more technically unacceptable to this one, but never in the history of celluloid has so much carelessness for a true account been displayed on the silver screen. "The Game of Their Lives" is a revolting untrue story of the United States' 1950 World Cup upset of England. Having read the book the film is loosely )and I do mean loosely based on), the story plays on film like a made-for-Disney Sunday night TV movie. The half truths in this debacle start right from the outset as the St. Louis playground team gets notice of a World Cup tryout. The World Cup in 1950 was not the World Cup of today. It was only the fourth tournament, and first since 1938. For the players to suggest at that point in time that World Cup was considered the greatest sporting event in the world was for all intents and purposes false. The glamor and glitz associated with the World Cup did not come until later. According to the book, there wasn't much of a St. Louis-New York rivalry. It wasn't like the 1980 Olympic hockey team with its Minnesota-Boston rivalry. The players, if I remember correctly, came together without much fuss and did their job. The preoccupation with Stanley Mortensen is a mystery too. Did I hear correctly during the banquet introduction speech where he was introduced as scoring three goals in the FA Cup final in 1950? Sorry. That didn't happen until three years later. The book also said nothing about a scathing Mortensen speech. I highly doubt it would be in any player's nature to stand up and directly insult a team which had no chance of making an impact. And...The USA did NOT open the 1950 World Cup against England. They lost 3-1 to Spain a mere four days earlier, playing well against another good side. That game probably illustrated that the Americans weren't exactly a rag-tag bunch more than the England one, but the filmmakers didn't mention it. Or the 5-2 loss to Chile which ended the Yanks tournament. And guess what? After all the excitement made over topping England, the U.S.A. finished last in the group. England only picked up two points (a win was worth two points back then and not three) against Chile. So, the win over England might have been more of a story of a fading power than a miraculous upset. The crux of the book was the players relationship to their families and athletics. It only gets a basic treatment in the film. As for Haitian goal scorer Joe Gaetjens, the filmmakers treat his character like a right loon who is deeply under the spell of voodoo. It's laughable and racist to some degree in how he is portrayed. There also is no discussion of his life after he scores a goal. The film suddenly ends after the win. Sure we get to see the remaining remembers of the real team get a nod at the 2004 MLS All-Star game, but what about the others? Joe, I'm afraid wasn't one of them as he was kidnapped and killed in Haiti for political reasons in the 1960s. Why wasn't that in the film? The absolute worst part of the film was the presentation of the uniforms. (First of all, was not the constant begging for uniforms like the Bad News Bears a bit pathetic?) A general or some high-ranking military schmoe presents the players with the new uniforms on a tarmac in Brazil. What we get here is some of the most vile military to sports comparisons you'll ever see. It's the kind of stuff that makes you curl up and wonder what other countries will think when they see it. In fact, the whole movie is.