'90s Sports Montage
June 9th, 2008
NC: Hello. I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. You know, what is it about sports movies? They're rarely good, and yet we always seem to enjoy watching them. Why? It's like watching a tape recording of a baseball game. We all know what's gonna happen in the end, so why do we waste our time watching it? This question has been plaguing me for the last five minutes and I can't take it anymore. I have to discover the secret behind the Nostalgic Sports Movies.
Title card reading "The Secret Behind Nostalgic Sports Movies" followed by footage of various sports movies from the period
NC (voiceover): In the late 80s and especially the early 90s, we get a huge flood of children's sports movies. You could say the start of it all is The Bad News Bears. At least that's where the formula started. You know, the formula about the underdog team of misfits who don't look like they have a chance that SOMEHOW turn into the greatest team of all time within one season. It may have started with The Bad News Bears, but it was The Mighty Ducks that got the attention of our generation. It was about a lawyer who had to spend his community service time teaching peewee hockey to a bunch of rowdy kids. And as you might've guessed, hijinks ensue. Of course in a matter of no time at all, the team makes it to the championship because they start playing with heart. It wasn't a good movie, but it wasn't really a bad movie either. It's just kind of a generic sports film. But for some reason, we all saw it, which meant not one, but TWO sequels actually came outta this. With the exact same storyline.
NC: But wait a minute, how can the exact same team that won the championship suddenly need to be trained again?
Coach Bombay: Haven't you guys been training in the off-season?
Averman: You know, I knew we forgot somethin'.
NC looks around and leans in to the camera
NC: That's really lame.
NC (voiceover): So this film spawned dozens of Mighty Duck ripoffs, including Little Giants, Little Big League, Little Angels In the Outfield... Well, okay, maybe they weren't ALL little, but you get the point.
NC: Everybody loved this formula and abused it to death.
NC (voiceover): And if there's anything these films have taught us, it's that there's a very specific type of team you need in order to make it to the championships. For example, you always need the fat kid. The kid who apparently does nothing but eat food and talk about how much he likes eating food. After that, you need the geeky kid. The kid who always over-analyzes everything and has to wear glasses so that you automatically know that HE'S the geeky kid.
NC: (pointing to glasses) Which I HIGHLY resent, by the way.
NC (voiceover): And then of course, you need the girl. The only, single, solitary female who shows that girls can do anything that boys can.
NC: Except move a couch or pee standing up. We own that!
NC (voiceover): And last but not least, you need a good looking all-star. The character who's troubled, confused and could be the best player on the team if only SOMEONE would give him a chance.
George Knox (from Angels in the Outfield): You're up here, man.
NC: Me? But I'm just an emotionally troubled rookie! What could I have to offer?
George Knox: You got a angel with you right now.
NC (voiceover): Oh, yeah, apparently there's angels out there that help players by cheating at baseball games. At least that's what they tell us in Angels in the Outfield, a film that stars an actor that you MIGHT find to be a little familiar.
Dick Solomon: TOMMY! TOMMY! TOMMY!
NC (voiceover): That's right, Tommy from Third Rock From the Sun stars in this stinker, as he tries to ask his father when they'll be a family again.
Roger's Dad: I'd say when the angels win the pennant.
NC (voiceover): In a last desperate attempt, Tommy actually turns to God and asks him for help.
Roger Borman: God...I'd really like...a family. Maybe you could help them win a little? (cut to Dick and Harry Solomon laughing their asses off)
NC (voiceover): Faster than you can say "religious blasphemy", Tommy's visited by angels, who actually help out the team to get the pennant. Now what sense does that make? Are you seriously telling me God is up in Heaven somewhere saying...
NC is dressed (badly) like an angel
NC/God: A nasty earthquake kills billions? Sorry, not really my department. Oh! Thousands of children starving in Africa? Sorry, I do work in mysterious ways... (gasp) A little boy wants me to rig a baseball game so he can be reunited with his selfish, jackass father? ANGELS! TO YOUR DUTY!
NC/God (voiceover): You, stop that curveball, you help his pitching, you give him a backrub, you get that creepy angel that looks like Christopher Lloyd to do some pointless flashy special effects!
NC/God: My God, I've never seen a cause more worthy!
NC (voiceover): But not all sports movies necessarily have to follow a team. Like, how about The Karate Kid? You remember, the kid who learns karate by painting fences and waxing cars.
NC: Yeah, I know this sounds like complete bullshit. But I believe in this method. So much so, that I have been training for weeks, painting my fences and waxing my cars to become the ULTIMATE karate master! And now, I think it's time to put my newly founded teachings to the test.
He stands up, and the camera pulls back to show him standing next to a large, tough looking man, played by Rob Walker
NC: This is my opponent. And now, I will demonstrate the brute fighting force that *I* have become!
He turns and waxes on and off with his opponent, who simply punches him in the face and knocks him down in one hit.
NC (voiceover): Okay, so maybe the idea IS a little far-fetched. But not as far-fetched as some of the other underdog stories, where the star of the movie is LITERALLY an underdog. Like in Air Bud. Yeah, you remember this piece of shit, right? The movie about a dog that was actually allowed to play basketball. In what universe is this?
Coach: Check in your rulebook.
Ref: He's right. Ain't no rule that says a dog can't play basketball.
NC: Oh, of course! It doesn't say in the book that I can't bring a dog in to play basketball. What was I thinking? And you wanna know what else? I'm pretty sure it doesn't say in there that I can't bring roller skating black bears in either. Or how about professionally trained, tap-dancing oragutans? Or how about a giant, urinating elephant with one testicle who can sing the classical works of Andrew Lloyd Webber? Is that in the rule book, is it? Is it? It is? Holy shit, how amazingly specific.
Opposing Coach: This is a joke!
NC (voiceover): Another film just dealing with one player is Rookie of the Year. In this film, a kid injures his arm so that it can propel back and launch like a catapult. So a baseball team actually decides to pick him up as a pitcher.
NC: Seriously though, what baseball team could be so desperate that they actually get a CHILD to pitch for them?
Chicago Cubs logo
NC: ...you sure this isn't a true story?
Kid from Rookie of the Year: Gotcha!
NC (voiceover): Another reoccurring theme you might have noticed in these movies is the villains. Somehow, the other team is always made up of the most evil, diabolically sneaky bunch of people that you've ever seen in your life. Like remember the martial arts teacher from The Karate Kid? This guy makes General Mao look like a princess!
John Kreese: Mercy is for the weak! Be careful old man. The enemy deserves no mercy! FINISH HIM!
NC: What karate teacher actually talks like this?
John Kreese: This is a karate dojo, not a knitting class.
NC: Well I expected this sort of treatment from the YMCA, but not from this establishment!
NC (voiceover): My favorite scene is when Mr. Miyagi asks the teacher to leave Daniel alone before the tournament.
John Kreese: You're a pushy little bastard, ain't ya? I like that...I like that!
NC: Yes, yes, very clever old man! The ball is in your court now. But, after the tournament is over, it is I who will possess the golden trophy! Me, ruler of the dojos set next to the Walgreens drug stores! Muahahahahahahahahaha! God I need a girlfriend.
NC (voiceover): Or how about the kids from Little Giants? Remember how intimidating they were?
Kid: We just came by to tell you guys how incredibly sorry we are that you didn't make the team.
NC: Oh, well, thank you very much. You know, maybe I had you guys pegged wrong. I always assumed you were harsh, mean individuals, but now I see you're just the playful type who don't really wanna hurt anybody's feelings.
NC: Not? Damn your witty reparté! You know there's no way I can talk my way out of the "Not" clause! It's foolproof!
NC: But I think my favorite villains have to go to the Germans from Cool Runnings. I don't know why, but I just love these guys. They're like the grade school bullies of bobsledding.
German Captain: Vhy don't you put some training vheels on that sled? You vanna say something Jamaica? Come on Jamaica. You have no business here, Jamaica.
NC: (bad German accent) Ya, and your father vas a viener-schnitzel.
NC (voiceover): Seriously, these guys are like the Nelson Muntzes of Winter Olympics. And of course, you can't have a kids' sports movie without the always popular sports montage. This is where you see the team working really hard in a couple of clips and then suddenly they become professional players. News flash guys, fast editing and an 80s song doesn't make you sports legends.
NC: In fact, you can do ANYTHING with fast editing and 80s song and you'll look like a hero. Watch!
A montage begins with NC going through his daily routine, to Eye of the Tiger
NC: You see?
NC (voiceover): But to be honest, not all children's sports movies are godawful. I mean, Cool Runnings isn't all that bad. And The Sandlot, in my opinion, is an All-American classic. But these films are few and far between, as these movies just succumb to the same idiotic clichés that make us all wanna get hit in the head with a curve ball.
NC: So why do we watch them so much? Because we love sports, and we always love the underdog. So much so that these films actually CONTINUE to follow us. Now, instead of making cheesy sports films for kids, they're making cheesy sports films for adults. And again, the good ones are few and far between. But I guess it's important to remember it's not about how good or bad the movie is, it's how you play the game. And of course, no children's sports movie will be complete without the GREATEST cliché of all. And so, to this cliché, I say...
He starts the slow clap; a montage of slow claps from the movies follows
NC: To Lucas...To Cool Runnings...To Rudy...Congratulations! You did it! You perfected the slow clap! (he begins crying) I'm the Nostalgia Critic, I remember it so you don't have to. Oh my God incredible!