For Love of the Game, I am marking the beginning of football season this year with a review of one of my favorite goofball football films, 2000’s The Replacements (trailer). I watched this many times around the turn of the century in the years following its release, but it has probably been a decade since I busted it out, and I was ecstatic that it got a long overdue BluRay release just a few months ago. Needless to say, it did not stay in the backlog box for all that long.
Remember how a few years ago the NFL almost went on strike and the sports world nearly went bonkers after we ended up missing only one preseason game and ESPN went out of their way interviewing arena laborers about how they were going to make a living by missing their NFL gameday paydays? Meanwhile the NHL went on strike for about a third of their season later that year and no one really bothered to blink an eye at them. Anywho, The Replacements throws a what if scenario out there if a strike really happened midseason and the league ended up using replacement players to finish out the season. Since the NFL does not want to envision a strike ruining a season, they or the NFLPA did not endorse this film, so instead we get a fake NFL logo representing this fictitious league and fake teams ala Any Given Sunday, and the starring team of this film is the Washington Sentinels. If the Redskins do wind up getting renamed, I vote they change it to the Sentinels in honor of this legendary sports film, much like if the Chiefs are forced to rename then I want them renamed the Chefs after that legendary Snickers commercial.
Of course it would not be a sports film without a love interest, and head of Sentinels’ cheerleaders Brooke Langton (Annabelle Farrell) takes that role. She has a unique side story where apparently the cheerleaders went on strike too and she winds up recruiting her own ragtag bunch of replacement cheerleaders who are featured prominently throughout the film showcasing their talents.
Some quick highlights that I want to point that stand the test of time is a classic bar brawl with the replacement players and striking players that leads to Orlando Jones’ character leading up a legendary prison dance scene set to “I Will Survive.” Whenever I hear that song I still think of that classic dance scene in what will probably be for better or worse, the highlight of Orlando Jones acting career. I want to give props to Mark Ellis who is the sports coordinator and is responsible for all the well shot football scenes of the film. He has a nice small role in this film as the San Diego head coach, and it was nice seeing him go bezerk at some of the questionable tactics the Sentinels use against him.
The BluRay format debuted in 2006, and it is a shame it took nine years for The Replacements to land there. I do not think it could have been too much work for Warner Bros. to track down several of these stars for a quick 10-minute retrospective piece on The Replacements, or assemble a few of them for a bonus 15-year anniversary commentary, but I guess I should be thankful that Warner eventually decided to release on BluRay at all. Regardless, while predictable this is one of my favorite sports comedies. If this went under your radar back then, then now is the perfect time to experience it in time for the NFL season.
Other Random Backlog Movie Blogs
12 Angry Men (1957)
21 Jump Street
Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie
Atari: Game Over
The Avengers: Age of Ultron
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
Cabin in the Woods
Captain America: The First Avenger
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Clash of the Titans (1981)
Clint Eastwood 11-pack Special
Field of Dreams
For Love of the Game
Good Will Hunting
Man of Steel
Marine 3 & 4
Running Films Part 1
Running Films Part 2
ScoobyDoo Wrestlemania Mystery
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Star Trek I-XII
Take Me Home Tonight
The Tooth Fairy 1 & 2
The Wrestler (2008)