Over / Under: BASEketball

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

Find more posts: Film Retrospect, Opinions



I'm gonna take a guess and say that you're going to say American Beauty is overrated next week. Seeing as it won 5 Oscars, I don't see how you could say it's underrated.

Nick O. on Apr 12, 2008


AHHHHH... thank you for reminding me of this movie... WOOHOO... off to go rent the DVD tomorrow.. been too long.. haha Feel these nipples, You're excitied.... I think it was Costas... too long to remember... have to rent it again.. hahaha

Dusty on Apr 12, 2008


I totally agree with you Nick O. this is so predictable!

bltzie on Apr 12, 2008


Love this film and the soundtrack is awesome. One of the best all time sports comedies.

Heckle on Apr 12, 2008


I absolutly love this film, it's one of my favourites that I own on DVD and is definitly up for numerous watches. I think you got me in the mood to watch this again now lol

Noddy on Apr 13, 2008


So you hate Gump and Love this?! Whats next? Underrated: Baby Geniuses 2: Superbabies and Overrated: No Country for Old Men?

Ryan on Apr 13, 2008


Dude just stop your killing any respect any of us ever had for you.

PimpSlapStick on Apr 13, 2008


He's probably suffering from severe depression now that he has lost the respect of PimpSlapStick.

tommyturner on Apr 13, 2008


BASEketball is definitely in my top 5 all time favorite films.

Anonymous on Apr 13, 2008


Matt states: "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?... "While the idea of lampooning sports seems obvious and the surprise is why no one did it earlier,..." -------------------------------------------- When did you begin watching movies? Have you never seen or heard of Slap Shot, the 1977 film starring Paul Newman and Michael Ontkean and directed by George Roy Hill? It lampooned a time in which violence was the selling point of hockey, and how far one team would go to get fans in the stands to keep from being sold. I'm sure this was not the first lampooning of sports, it just happens to be my favorite, and the first to pop in mind. The fact that you are working for a website that reviews/discusses movies and yet apparently have no knowledge about movies made only 30 years ago amazes me. Let me guess, when people talk about World Wars I & II you think they mean the Gulf Wars of 1990 & 2002, right? All of you who think Basketball was funny, watch these clips for just a taste of the movie's humor, then treat yourself to a "reel" (pun intended) comedy meal and rent or buy Slap Shot.

Nunya on Apr 13, 2008


EDIT: I meant BASEketball.

Nunya on Apr 13, 2008


Slap Shot isn't a spoof. It has the Hansen brothers aaaaaand...nothing. It's basically the Bad News Bears for grown-ups. And I totally get the words "World" and "Gulf" confused. For instance, I'm not sure if I should say "there's a world of knowledge between what I know and you don't," and "there's a gulf of knowledge between what I know and you don't".

Matt Goldberg on Apr 13, 2008


I'd say there is a world and a gulf of knowledge between what you and I know, and you have a long way to go before you catch up.

Nunya on Apr 13, 2008


If that gulf and world is filled with films like "Slap Shot", it shouldn't be too difficult.

Matt Goldberg on Apr 13, 2008


So, to sum things up: * Makes fun of sports. * Makes fun of Texas. * Has the creators of South Park Trey Parker and Matt Stone in it (not great actors, which makes things funny) * Bachar is tiny, and funny! * A pretty woman is in the film. * Funny one-liners. With this formula, almost any comedy could be UNDERRATED. This is great news for the film industry!

Korinthian on Apr 14, 2008


When you have to use six bullet points, I don't think you really have a "formula" any more.

Matt Goldberg on Apr 14, 2008


Must be hard to rationalize your personal opinions on which movies are good/bad and make it sound credible, eh? And since nitpicking over words is your only comment I take it you agree with my point.

Korinthian on Apr 14, 2008


I don't really think it's "nitpicking" over words when you're trying to criticize my writing and you lack writing ability. If you want to have a serious discussion over why you disagree with my choice, that's fine. But your comment doesn't even make any sense. What you describe is not only too specific to be formulaic, but formulas don't really apply to reviews. It would apply to what a studio does to make a comedy (studios and even filmmakers for that matter, are rarely aiming for "underrated" when they're making a film). The word you were looking for was "criteria". Since you obviously can't even grasp the correct words to make your argument, I conclude you're not a person to take seriously and so I just find you silly. And no, it's not difficult to rationalize my personal opinions on movies. As a rule, people tend to consider themselves rational, whether they are or not and thus can rationalize most of their actions. The difficulty comes in making it sound credible. But that's why I care about making an argument with correct word choice and you care about firing off a silly little post without understanding the difference between criteria and a formula.

Matt Goldberg on Apr 14, 2008


Dismiss me as "silly" for using a word you don't agree with if it makes you feel better about your review which you seem to think is worthy of much praise. But I think most people would understand that your reasons for thinking this movie is UNDERRATED could apply to a lot of comedies out there. Also, thanks for the lecture on psychology. Though, perhaps you shouldn't make a career out of that subject (either). This column makes me wonder if you get paid for writing or if you spill your tripe over the internet (lack of capital "I"! Strike fast!) for free.

Korinthian on Apr 14, 2008


It does make me feel better. Thanks! I actually don't think my review is worthy of praise. I wrote it as badly as I could because I get sexually aroused by negative criticism of my writing. You alone have given me three orgasms tonight. Thank you. Yes, the term UNDERRATED could apply to a lot of comedies out there if they happened to be exactly like BASEketball. Also, all foods would be delicious if they tasted exactly like Honey Smacks. You're welcome for the lecture on psychology. I don't think I should make a career out of it either. Are you a guidance counselor? You totally should be if you're not. And yes, I do get paid for writing. I really hope that makes you a die a little inside. That way I will have removed a fraction of you from the planet and done my good deed for the day.

Matt Goldberg on Apr 14, 2008


Oscars winners have never been a guarantee of a quality film - ever. In fact, the Oscars are over-rated! When did an opinion that opposes your own point of view meant that you must dislike, or hate someone? Very bizarre commenting here on a little known movie that is actually very entertaining and the reviwers opinion of that. Forrest Gump's Oscar success by no means translates into a classic movie. The reviewer here in the case of Gump makes a very good point in relation to the book's original intent which is ignored in its transition to the screen. BASEketball is simple good ol' fashioned fun - not as classic a spoof as both Airplane movies (in imo) but good fun nonetheless. Comedies are almost without fail ignored by the Oscars - this makes no sense. The writing, acting, direction, etc is as good or often of a higher quality than in 'serious' movies. And please don't think I believe BASEketball to be Oscar worthy - it certainly is not. But rarely does a comic performance or movie win at the Oscars, which is ridiculous.

Someoneornoone on Apr 14, 2008


I don't think BASEketball is Oscar-worthy by any stretch of the imagination. I just think it's a great comedy that's over-looked when it comes to spoofs.

Matt Goldberg on Apr 14, 2008


If you don't like BASEketball then you're a Nazi.

DCompose on Apr 14, 2008


I have it, bought it the same day it came out....wonderful movie. Now I leave you with the great car song from the movie. "Your life is spinning out of control Seems the whole world is out to get you Everything is wrong nothing seems right Theres a sinking feeling inside And you best friend has turned his back But you cant let it bring you down No youve got to fight it Cause you try but you cant get go Cause when youre down you gotta get up Dont let them walk all over your face Stand up for yourself and make everything right again Even if some guys trying to blackmail you And your girlfriend thinks you suck Its up to you to let them know it was all just part of some rich guys evil plan Look out ahead theres a truck changing lanes You got some yellow crumbs on your upper lip And those warts on your dick aint gonna go away Unless you start using topical cream everyday"

Gabriel Maldonado on Apr 14, 2008


In my OP I took issue with your statements that prior to BASEketball no movies had made fun of sports. Did Slap Shot not make fun of hockey and its use of violence to sell tickets? And actually, I think Paul Newman and Michael Ontkean give fantastic comedic performances, while the Hansen brothers merely provide the slapstic humor.

Nunya on Apr 14, 2008

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