Before I was a small-time movie writer, I was a high school athlete, believe it or not. I love sports and I love movies. And I can say with some degree of certainty that these two worlds should not ever intersect. There have been some delightfully atrocious performances by big name actors in movies about sports. Hey, don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to see my point guard teammate perform a soliloquy, either. Hand my halfback a movie camera and all you’ll get in return is some high grade shirtless mirror selfies. These two worlds just don’t mix. Let’s investigate some examples.
Keanu Reeves as Shane Falco – The Replacements
Let’s start this list with by evaluating leadership skills and athletic ability. Have you ever tried to teach a stoner how to play chess? How about trying to explain a conspiracy theory to a surfer? I think we all know someone who lacks the ability to understand any scenario. But in case I’m wrong and you don’t know that person, let me direct you to Keanu Reeves as Footsteps Falco. This guy would have problems leading a pro bowl team over your local Pee Wee squad because he’d be so blown away by the concept of free juice boxes. “You mean if I get five yards we get four more downs? Uhh, whoa.”
Vince Vaughn as Jamie O’Hara – Rudy
What brilliant casting director on the first day of principal photography, in a panic, shouted out “Shit, we need a running back! What about that 6’5″ dipshit in the back who won’t shut the fuck up?” Vaughn’s big screen debut as Jamie O’Hara stumbles the pigskin forward like a drunk frat boy running to Arby’s before closing time. We really only get a brief display of this “ability,” but what we do get is the unintentional highlight of Vaughn’s comedy career. You going to argue for The Break Up?
Tom Cruise as Brian Flanagan – Cocktail
Does anyone remember the foul-shooting contest we did as children? (The Elks Hoop Shoot is what it was called where I grew up.) Well, Tom Cruise is that guy who doesn’t make a shot and still tries to talk shit. And yet he sells it. This dude sells everything through arrogant speeches (Katie Holmes can attest to that). But as you chuckle at the bad billiard form, please note this is pre-Scientology Tom, so he has yet to discover his true E-meter reading. So the director saves him from embarrassment with clever cuts and angles. Damn you, Xenu! Why did you not give Tom any athletic ability?
Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jon – Don Jon
There a few things more genius than casting Scarlett Johansson as your love interest in a movie you are directing. Props to you on that, JG-L. But you cancelled that credit for brilliance by showing yourself dribbling a basketball on screen. Let’s have another flashback to our younger days. It’s pretty painful to learn this studly bastard is actually bad at something, but that weird hook shot/layup is horrendous. It hurt me to witness. It hurt as much as Barbara hurt Jon. Except I didn’t take it like a bitch.
Kirsten Dunst as Lizzy Bradbury – Wimbledon
A Paul Bettany/Kisten Dunst love story. What’s not to like? Well, outside of the fact that there is no substance here, there is one thing I can think of that makes this film feel like an on court beating from Novak Djokovic. That’s Kirsten Dunst trying to convince us she can play tennis. After throwing her best John McEnroe, Dunst holds frame in a close up of her serve. Not only does she almost drop the ball tossed to her, she swings the racket worse than Charles Barkley swings a golf club. Do they not have stunt doubles for athletic parts in movies?
Micheal J Fox as Scott Howard – Teen Wolf
There is a very solid chance that this is the worst athletic display on this list, if not in the history of the world. What were they thinking when they decided to use the horrific behind the back pass and that ridiculous layup attempt more than once. The movie freaking montaged repeats of the same few shots to account for a whole game! “Turn into the damn wolf, Michael J Fox. Damn it. I can’t. I just can’t” – James Naismith in basketball heaven, watching Teen Wolf, regretting having ever invented the sport. .
Zac Efron as Troy Bolton – High School Musical
Zac Efron is actually a mixture of some of the greats to ever play the game. He travels more than Lebron , carries more than Allen Iverson, and shoots three pointers like Shaq. It doesn’t get much worse than that. If I were at a park and the last two choices for the pick up game were Efron and Michael J. Fox… well… I’m taking my chances on the wolf. But what do you expect? Disney blows the whole budget on vocal coaches and pays the hairstylist cocaine to teach the onscreen talent how to dribble.
Gary Busey as Chet “Rocket” Steadman – Rookie of the Year
I wouldn’t let Gary Busey toss me a napkin. We talkin’ about Gary Busey. I ain’t tryin’ talk about no Gary Busey. This just doesn’t make any sense. I can not wrap my head around why Gary Fucking Busey would play an MLB pitcher. Did you know pre-steroid era Barry Bonds is in this movie? Yeah, he started juicing up when he was told he had to stand in the box and take a fastball from Busey.
Emma Roberts as Abby – Winning Season
I’m under strict orders from the editor-in-chief to not make fun of Emma Roberts. The good news is, I don’t have to. Her play in this movie is its own punchline. Emma Roberts dribbles a basketball like she’s trying to pet the head of a running goose. Emma, you’re charming and lovely, but your layup form looks like Taco Bell kicking in in the lower intestine.
Matt Stone/Trey Parker as Doug and Joe – Baseketball
Congratulations! You get a double whammy on the last entry! Actually, quadruple whammy, because the two South Park creators have found a way to embarrass themselves in two sports at once! It’s a well-documented fact that Stone and Parker are anti-bullying because of their experiences in their small town Colorado schools. I don’t condone bullying, but I’m willing to bet the two jokesters did themselves no favors in gym class, as here they prove that they can’t even invent a sport that makes them look athletic.