¡Fo Reels, Yo! (...and for rants, and for other things too.)

July, 2008
(Rant updated, September 3rd, at bottom of page)

after movies, maybe before movies, sports is BkA's greatest love. Mixing the two, however, usually leads to bad things.  

Exhibit A: Ed, starring Matt LeBlanc and a chimp.  

Don't think the chimp ever worked again. As for LeBlanc, thankfully it's been a few years since anyone asked "How you doin'?"

Then again, since BkA is hammering out a Bocce script (left inset) maybe we shouldn't put the pair down. If we can't get the chimp, LeBlanc could come in handy. For all we know he's still in contact with Astoria born, David Schwimmer.

Exhibit B: Hoosiers, starring Gene Hackman.

Here, an Academy Award and Indie Spirit Award nominee, a film which just last month was named AFI's 4th best sports flick of all time, still manages to suck. Not "suck" in an Uwe Boll type of way. Or in a '76 Buccaneers type of way. Or in a war criminal Dick Cheney type of way. More like sucks in a Bon Jovi type of way. Predictable, safe, cliched, dim, and oh yeah, packed with enough cheesy moments to cover the heads of all fans who brave Lambeau Field's frozen tundra. The slo-mo's and 80's Casio music alone should make all accolades null and void.

Of course not all sports movies suck.

The original Bad News Bears (shame about that Linklater/Billy Bob remake) was just about the first film to show kids swearing and cursing the way most often do. Blond, upper middle class suburban ones from flag waving homes, at that! Mixed in with the swearing, the film deals with a frivolous law suit, hypocritical parents, competitiveness run amok, and oh yeah, a dash of chilling child abuse too. In the end, this was more of a slam on the little leagues than a celebration. Problem is, Bears was shot back in 1975! So what has Hollywood given us since?

The original Rocky which came out at the same time as Bears, could still be decent if it didn't come with 17 cartoony sequels (yeah, we know, the little leaguers had sequels too) and wasn't on TV every couple of months.

Breaking Away holds up better than Rocky but is that really a sports movie? Raging Bull is perhaps the greatest film of all time, but again, does a movie about a guy who happens to be an athlete make it a pure sports flick? All the Right Moves? Rudy? Friday Night Lights?  All pretty good, but, not quite game breakers. We won't even touch the Adam Sandler compilation.

Funny thing, Hollywood has a decent sports script right under its nose.

Hollywood United, a soccer club established by former Sex Pistol, Steve Jones, and currently chaired by Emmy and Golden Globe winner, Anthony LaPaglia, just accomplished something pretty incredible. Holly U is an amateur team, created 20 years ago as a place where ex-patriots living in LA and in the industry could get together and kick the ball around. LaPaglia initially joined the club as the team's goalie. Over the years they've become more organized and developed different squads for different levels of play. Their main team, no longer composed of any industry insiders, but still very much an amateur group, made up mostly of locals, recently participated in this year's US Open Cup.

For those who don't know much about the world's game (get with it!) the US Open Cup is a summer long, one-and-done tournament open to all American soccer teams. From top flight ones like David Beckham's LA Galaxy to rec. league squads that your neighborhood social club might sponsor.

This summer, Hollywood United swept through the prelims against other amateur sides before squaring off with a top notch pro team, the Portland Timbers (of the United Soccer League) in the Open Cup's first round. The Timbers play in a 20,000 seat stadium, and are known for having the loudest, craziest fans in all of the land.  Then again, Hollywood United was founded by a Sex Pistol. The group that gave us lyrics like "I am an anarchist! I am an antichrist!"

Edge, Holly U.

That was the only advantage visiting United held in this showdown against a home side featuring a former World Cup player. It was enough as Hollywood came from behind and prevailed 3-2 on a last minute goal. With the dramatic win, United advanced to Round Two to face another USL team, the Seattle Sounders, an Open Cup semi-finalist in 2007.

The Sounders (owned in part by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen, who also owns the NBA Trailblazers and NFL Seahawks, and in part by actor/comedian Drew Carey) ended Hollywood's run the way every pro team, in theory, should. 

Seattle, in the process of skipping leagues from the USL to MLS, could have named the final score, and was merciful to only beat down the upstarts 6-0. Still, for a rec. league side to make it all the way to the final 32, one which has all the back story that Steve Jones can provide, well, there might be a good story here. Maybe not Bad News Bears good, certainly not Sid and Nancy good, but Drew Carey as the cigar smoking fat cat villain alone should at least make it Rudy good.*

(Note: Brooklyn Atlantic is known to tear up McCarren Park from time to time. Word is born, Holly U!)

UPDATE - September 3rd, 2008: DC United (MLS) captured this year's US Open Cup with a 2-1 victory over the Charleston Battery (USL). The win qualifies DCU into the 2009-2010 North American (CONCACAF) Champion's League. The winner of that intra-continental, 16 team tournament qualifies into the FIFA Club's World Cup, to be played in December of 2010 in Abu Dhabi.

The 2008-2009 North American
Champion's League kicks off this September 16th, cumulating with a championship game in April of 2009. Two MLS clubs (DC United and the Houston Dynamo) as well as two USL clubs (Montreal Impact and Puerto Rico Islanders) are amongst the top 16 squads from across the continent looking to reach the 2009 FIFA Club's World Cup, to be played in December of 2009.