From the minds that brought you “Airplane!” and the “Naked Gun” series comes a sports movie for the common man starring the guys who brought you Jakovasauras, Towelie, The Coon, Professor Chaos, Awesome-O, Faith + 1 and PC Principal. That’s right, I’m talking about “Baseketball“.
“Basketball” is built around a few simple questions: what if sports were still about having fun with your buds? What if corporate sponsorships and mega salaries didn’t exist? What if you could drink beer while playing in a professional sporting event? Did Shaq make more money in college or with the Lakers?
“South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone answer all playing main characters Joe Cooper and Doug Remer — two guys in their late 20s whose top priorities are goofing off and chasing girls. Coop fell in love with sports by catching New York Yankees’ first baseman Reggie Jackson’s third home run in his legendary three-homer game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1977 World Series. But, as he got older, he realized sports had become corrupt. No longer was it about the sanctity of competition and having fun, it was about the quickest way to make a dollar.
So, when Coop and Doug are challenged to a game of basketball by two athletic guys at a high school reunion, they come up with baseketball because it gives them a fighting chance. The game involves shooting jumpers without moving and talking shit — two things Coop and Doug excel at. They wipe the floor with these guys and the game takes off from the backyard to a neighborhood phenomenon to a professional sport.
There are laughs, cries, “dudes”, cameos and most importantly, the dissection of what selling out does to a friendship. However, there are six reasons “Baseketball” is in a class of its own when it comes to sports movies.
They Somehow Landed Bob Costas & Al Michaels
Bob Costas and Al Michaels are two of the most legendary sportscasters ever. Whoever persuaded them to work with guys who questioned if Kim Kardashian was a hobbit is more convincing than SoDoSoPa was in landing Whole Foods in South Park, Colorado. Costas and Michaels appear as the broadcast team for baseketball games, and they don’t disappoint. We see them in a completely new light — cracking jokes, talking about their nipples, etc.
Costas and Michaels were reportedly pitched the idea based on David Zucker and Jerry Zucker, two of the best comedy filmmakers ever, directing it, and Oscar-winner Ernest Borgnine and Robert Vaughn being in it along with Parker and Stone. Plus, Costas made $50,000 while Michales made $60,000 for only a day’s work. Although, Michaels was originally set to make $15,000 and was furious to learn Costas was making three times more than him while they were shooting. He hired a lawyer on the spot to renegotiate his contract.
These days, Costas and Michaels vehemently distance themselves from the film and allegedly took measures to remove it from public consumption. However, the baseketball gods came through and you can hit up Amazon and STARZ to hear Michaels talk about…ugh…cheerleaders.
The Psych Outs
Playing defense in baseketball is doing whatever you can to make your opponent miss. And when I say whatever, I mean WHATEVER. Like saying the name of legendary Journey frontman Steve Perry, wearing masks, miming, clipping off your fingers, eating aluminum foil or drinking liposuctioned fat from Marlon Brando’s ass.
Baseketball isn’t a sport for the mentally weak. Your mind has to be a steel trap to withstand the pressure, but, if you are one of the unlucky few who has to square off against Squeak….pray for mercy. Speaking of Squeak…
Every good baseketball team needs a third. Remember when New Orleans Beads won the 2000 title? They couldn’t have done it without Pierre “Big Cahuna” LeFleur. Anyway, Squeak Scolari (played by Dian Bachar) was that guy for the Milwaukee Beers. Squeak is always dealt the short end of the stick. Within five seconds of being introduced, he’s mauled by a rottweiler and dubbed “little bitch”. When the guys go pro and Coop is nicknamed “Airman” and Doug is “Sir Swish”, Squeak is still “Little Bitch”.
Squeak doesn’t have to do anything else to be an effective teammate other than be himself. He’s a psych out god because he can just stand there and throw shooters off their game. And, telling the shooter Squeak is dating your sister or mom is a guaranteed out. Squeak is Mariano Rivera in his prime, but he’s treated like a spit stain in the dugout.
Joey the “Health-Challenged & Survival Impaired” Kid
It’s the duty of a professional athlete to give back to the community. Coop does his part by forming a relationship with Joey, a health-challenged kid part of the Dream Come True Foundation. Joey has dreams of big game hunting, poisoning reservoirs, turning flesh-eating fish into a public swimming pool and a date with Chelsea Clinton, but he’s also a big baseketball fan. As his last wish, Coop, his favorite player, promises to hit three home runs and takes Joey out for a night on the town.
Coop, Joey, Remer and Squeak hit up a bar before the big matchup and play a drinking game every time a fight breaks out on Jerry Springer — classic guy stuff. But, Coop gets too drunk and fails to hit a third homer, which causes Joey’s health to decline. He undergoes a successful life-saving surgery, but the guys think he didn’t make it. They visit him and perform intricate medical procedures to save his life.
Don’t tell me athletes are selfish.
Coop & Remer’s Competition for Jenna
Throughout the movie, Coop develops a relationship with Jenna — the head of the Dream Come True Foundation. Despite Jenna having obvious feelings for Coop, Remer continues pursuing her. He starts courting her with what every girl wants: a pretzel and mustard. Eventually, he plans on giving her a pre-commitment ring — a promise to pledge that they’ll think about getting engaged as soon as they’re ready to make a commitment. This is to combat Coop’s commitment ring — a symbol to let Jenna know he’s ready to think about dating her exclusively.
Coop gets the girl in the end, but he could’ve sped up the process with a pre-pre-commitment ring: An assurance he’ll consider hanging out with Jenna in a non-threatening social environment like a farmer’s market or pumpkin patch.
The Radio Gets Real
Parker and Stone love making songs. “South Park” is full of them, and they wrote the Tony Award-winning musical “The Book of Mormon” as a side project. Most of the time, Parker provides the vocals, as is the case in “Baseketball”.
When Coop is down in the dumps, he hits the open road with his slug bug to clear his mind. He turns the radio to a song precisely relevant to his situation, even his biggest bodily shortcomings. Sometimes, songs can hit too close to home.