Over / Under: BASEketball
by Matt Goldberg
April 12, 2008
For an introduction to this weekly retrospective column titled Over / Under written by Matt Goldberg, please visit the first post in the series.
After last week's overwhelmingly positive response to my column on Forrest Gump, I am so pleased to actually recommend a film rather than just trash one you love for no good reason.
BASEketball is a spoof from the genius that was David Zucker. Zucker was responsible the greatest spoof of all time, Airplane!, before deciding to embrace the anti-renaissance of spoof films that were Parts 3 and 4 of the Scary Movie franchise. But BASEketball was something different.
Yes, it parodied the sports film by using a convoluted made-up game called "BASEketball" where you play basketball with baseball rules and are allowed to "psych-out" the "batter" (or is it the shooter?), but the real target was professional sports in general and that's a parody that was long overdue. How did we go so long without making fun of the callowness of sports and their desire to sell-out as fast as humanly possible? Also, the film takes numerous jabs at Texas, which is always comedy gold in my book (seriously—I have a book titled "Messing With Texas").
While the idea of lampooning sports seems obvious and the surprise is why no one did it earlier, the film's real surprise are its three leads: South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and their friend Dian Bachar as scene-stealer Squeak "Little Bitch" Scolari. Parker and Stone are not great actors by any stretch of the imagination. They're not horrible, but what makes their performances so funny, especially Parker's, is that they're acting as if they're in a silent film. Everything is so exaggerated in their facial expressions. I don't know if I've ever seen a film with bigger reaction shots that wasn't sepia-toned.
But Bachar is the film's secret weapon. From his short stature, high pitched voice, and complete devotion to the role, he's absolutely hilarious in every scene he's in. Whether it's being mauled by a dog or arguing why he's not a "little bitch" or a "piece of shit", he's just brilliant.
The film even gets great performances out of acting veterans Ernest Borgnine and Robert Vaughn while thankfully not relying on the "comedy" of the "attractive" Jenny McCarthy. And if you've never seen her mug shot, you'll find former Baywatch-babe Yasmine Bleeth great eye-candy even if she has less acting talent than even Parker and Stone. And if you need one more reason to see this film, watch it for one-liners that professional sportscasters Al Michaels and Bob Costas will never live down.
Over / Under: UNDERRATED!
Next Week: American Beauty