If you would have told the 24-year old Michael that one day, he will go to see "Miss Congeniality II: Armed and Fabulous" on the Thursday night of the Sweet Sixteen, he probably would have stabbed you (or himself) with a KFC spork. Nevertheless, there I was last night at the Regal 24, enjoying date night with the wife and a theater full of teenage girls. The second preview before the movie was for "Fever Pitch" and it enraged me so much that my wife had to shush me when the movie started because I was still prattling on. Why doth this movie sucketh? Let me count the ways:
1. "Fever Pitch" is my second-favorite sports book of all-time, right behind "Season on the Brink". It helps that I'm a European soccer fan and know the author's Arsenal references, but even if you view soccer as a Bolshevik plot, it's terrific because it's the perfect description of the male sports nut's psyche, the way we get so carried away with wins and losses, the way we think we can affect the outcome of games, the way we know intellectually how silly our passion is and yet we keep with it. Based on the preview, it's been turned into "The Wedding Singer". My favorite sports movie is now a chick flick about sports getting in the way of a relationship. Think about that sentence for a minute or two. The Farrelly Brothers should burn in hell for this.
2. "Fever Pitch" has already been made into a perfectly good movie. More importantly, it starred Colin Firth, a reasonably masculine guy whom I can picture as an Arsenal nut. The new bastardization stars Jimmy Fallon, who could give Leo DiCaprio a run for the "least likely to be called a guy's guy" award in Variety. How could Nick Hornby allow this to happen? His protagonists have gone from Firth, Hugh Grant (enough of a cad for guys to appreciate,) and John Cusack (always a solid choice) to a clown who couldn't keep a straight face in some of the least funny SNL skits in history.
3. Are Americans so stupid that they couldn't relate to a movie about a fan of an English soccer team>? If I was English, I'd be more pissed about this than I would have been about "U-571" turning the protagonists of a plot to steal a German Enigma machine from Brits to Americans. Have the Star Wars movies made us incapable of seeing English people as anything but the enemy? What next, Ashton Kutcher as James Bond?
4. And as if we haven't had the frickin' Red Sox shoved down our throat enough over the past six months, here's another movie about their crazy fans. Wonderful. Those of us in the SEC football/ACC basketball region are just so AMAZED to see fans with such passion. Wherever would we see such foreign creatures? My campaign to not get excited about their "Greatest Season Ever (that didn't include a division championship)" is going to have to kick into high gear.
In short, the only good thing that can come of this movie is that it could provoke a riot upon the opening in London and Jimmy Fallon might be placed in the stocks on London Bridge. I was going to suggest that his limbs be sent to the four corners of Britain, a la the imagined William Wallace, but that seemed harsh. But only by a smidge.
I can't wait until ESPN does one of their gawdawful TV movies to destroy "Season on the Brink". Wait a minute...