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Baseketball (Widescreen Edition)
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From the director of Naked Gun comes a side-splitting comedy of professional sports. Starring Trey Parker & Matt Stone (South Park), as two guys who invent a game in their driveway that quickly becomes a national obsession and catapults them into the spotlight, BASEketball is a hilarious comedy about babes, brews and being number one.Critics call BASEketball "a comedy that is as smart as it is funny" and "absolutely, rolling in the aisles, hysterical!" Featuring a supporting cast of today's best-known talents, including Yasmine Bleeth, Jenny McCarthy, Robert Vaughn and Ernest Borgnine, as well as celebrity appearances by Reggie Jackson, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Dale Earnhardt, Al Michaels, Bob Costas, Dan Patrick and Kenny Mayne. BASEketball scores!
Gross-out comedy reached its peak (or nadir, if you will) when this celebration of juvenile crudeness was released in the summer of 1998. There's Something About Mary was a surprise box-office smash at the same time, and it's a much funnier and (dare we say it?) more intelligently conceived comedy, but there's something to be said for a couple of dudes who blissfully embrace bad taste and improper decorum. As they proved with their popular cartoon series South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are shameless purveyors of scatological humor, and no bodily function escapes their baser instinct for gutter-level guffaws. Here they play a couple of guys who are fed up with the hyper-commercialism of professional sports, so they invent "baseketball"--a hybrid of baseball and basketball--and soon find themselves in the middle of a booming national craze. As baseketball leagues thrive, so does the movie's appetite for puerile shock-jokes and disgusting gags. There are some great throwaway lines and a lot of funny cameos by the likes of Bob Costas, Al Michaels, Jenny McCarthy, Robert Stack, Reggie Jackson, and others, but let's face it--a little of this stuff goes a long, long way. If you laugh a lot, you may be suffering (as Parker and Stone clearly do) from an acute case of arrested development. --Jeff Shannon
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The movie opens on a flashback of Remer and Coop in the stands of the 1977 World Series. Reggie Jackson is at bat and hits a homer caught by Coop; Coop turns to Remer and proclaims that he will one day, too, be a big sports star. [Flash-Forward to the early 90s] Coop and Remer are in a rut of unemployment and unpaid bills, and what could set that in better than a reunion party with high school friends? Feeling that they haven't matured like their former classmates, Coop and Remer retire to the driveway for beer and baskets when two of the "matured" classmates propose a two-on-two.
Not ready to lose ground, Coop and Remer decide they will play only if their opponents agree to the new (nonexistent) "hood" variation of hoops. They make it up as they go along and dub it "Baseketball"--a combination of baseball, basketball/horse, and talking smack. Coop excels at the trash talking and psyches out his opponents at each attempted shot.
The only man who could take such verbal abuse, Kenny "Squeak" Scolari, is added to Coop and Remer's team, and the sport grows into a front-lawn sensation in just six months (Coop fashions the official Baseketball ball from a La-Z-Boy recliner; it becomes a recurring theme). The popularity and passionate fan-base begin to attract sponsors including millionaire Ted Denslow who makes a deal with Coop and Remer to form the National Baseketball League (NBL) under the condition that rules are formed which are intended to preserve the integrity of the sport. These rules are a contrast to most professional sports and prohibit player trading, team relocating, and individual player sponsorships.
[Flash-Forward to 1997] The sport is in full gear as Denslow's team, the Milwaukee Beers (captained by Coop and Remer) compete in the Denslow Cup. Amid the excitement, and next to his young wife, Yvette, Denslow dies choking on a hot dog. This is the point in the movie where the turmoil begins. Denslow's will bestows ownership of the team to Coop under the condition that the Beers continue winning and take the 1998 Denslow Cup; if they lose, Yvette gains ownership of the Milwaukee Beers meaning that the NBL becomes vulnerable to the antagonist owner of the Dallas Felons, Baxter Cain. Cain has his mind set on dissolving the league-preserving rules mandated by Denslow, and (strange euphemisms aside) Yvette has her mind set on Cain.
Cain insinuates to Remer that Coop may be making "team" decisions without consulting the team. The bond between the boys takes another hit when Coop seems to be the front-runner for the affections of Jenna, a counselor for terminally ill children. Cain exploits Coop and Remer's attachment to Jenna by pulling funding for her foundation, and then suggests to Coop and Remer that money could be raised by starting a team clothing line. Against Coop's judgment, the rules start to bend and Remer soaks up sponsorship stardom.
The divide between Coop and Remer has weakened the team enough that Cain goes in for his kill just as the Beers take the semifinals. Cain blackmails Coop and Remer demanding that they throw the Denslow Cup or he will expose the foundation-funding clothing line for harsh child labor violations. When wind of the scandal reaches Jenna, she leaves Coop causing him to take his frustration out on Remer. With no girlfriend, team, or best friend, what's a guy to do other than a little PR in Calcutta? After repaired the child labor problem in Calcutta, Coop barely makes it back in time for the Denslow Cup.
The rift between Coop and Remer accelerates into the seventh inning; the Beers are losing 16-0 when Squeak offers a motivational speech leading to a make-up between Coop and Remer. Yvette severs ties with Cain just as the Beers start to make their underdog comeback. It's a real clincher until La-Z-Boy blows out, and then it looks like all hope is lost for the Beers and the NBL. Using a replacement ball, Barcalounger, Coop fails to score but manages to `bat' the conversion for a homer. Of course, the two heroes can't be left without ladies, so Jenna comes back to Coop while Yvette and Remer "lay-carpet." As if it weren't cliché enough, the movie comes back around to the beginning when Reggie Jackson congratulates Coop for the win and gives luck for 1999.
BASEketball doesn't avoid the ticking clock, last-minute win, but it does give us lots of sight gags and random madness. Though I don't want to sell it short, the film is also a biting satire on modern sports and corporate sponsorship, something that I feel has spoiled sports across the whole planet. Many players no longer play for the love of the game, but for themselves, for obscene amounts of money.
As with his other movies (such as Airplane or Naked Gun), David Zucker makes sure there's at least one gag every thirty seconds. Many fail, but most work, so the film stays on our good side if you only want laughs and couldn't care less about satire.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone are a great comic pair, and have absolutely no shame or delusions. But an even funnier comedy duo are the real life sports commentators Bob Costas and Al Michaels, who have the funniest lines and most perfect delivery.
It's become a little dated now, a fault of movies that have too many pop-culture references, but there's still plenty to laugh at and enjoy with BASEketball.
As you can see from my review details, this was an Amazon purchase...in January 1999! I've owned this ancient DVD for nearly 12 years. I didn't even own any VHS tapes for that long! The DVD itself has a poor transfer, that in a time of HD, looks bad, bad, bad. In fact it looks like a MPEG clip downloaded from the internet, THAT is how bad the picture is. Universal should release a Blu Ray, but considering their track record for catalog movies I won't hold my breath.
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