“There’s winners and there’s nothing else. I don’t give a sh*t what those pinkos over in Russia say. You want to be a loser you go live in Russia. I’m not a loser. I’m a winner. I’m an American. Who wants to be John Wayne? Who wants to grab a root and hang on? Who wants to get a mean on? Get a mean on son.”– Coach Hisler, Johnny Be Good.
All I could think about last Saturday, while Johnny Manziel was breaking down Alabama’s vaunted defense, was Johnny Be Good. It’s one of the worst movies of all time, and it starred the assistant principal from Breakfast Club as a football coach, the nerd from Breakfast Club as some kind of great football player, and Robert Downey Jr., who wasn’t even in Breakfast Club. The soundtrack had the eponymous Chuck Berry song redone by Judas Priest, and also included a track from Ted Nugent. There are cameos by Jim McMahon and Howard Cosell, and the whole enterprise comes off as an indictment of the 1980s as one wildly implausible football scene piggybacks on another. To be strained would be a slap on the wrist for credulity in some of these scenes. I mean, this film is a trainwreck in every meaningful way.
Ed. note: This new column is about sports and the law. You can read the introductory installment here.
In June of 2005, my girlfriend asked if we could go see War of the Worlds. Tom Cruise was flying high, engrossed in a love that would last forever, and starring in a blockbuster that was getting okay reviews. While I was never a huge fan of popcorn movies, I relented. After two solid hours of explosions and other loud noises, I walked away surprisingly impressed with the effort. While the Academy may ignore this film, I thought, I had had a damned good time. The very next weekend, I visited home and caught up with my father. I told him that I thought War of the Worlds was pretty enjoyable and, since I knew he had seen it with my mother recently, I asked him if he agreed. His face puckered sourly and he muttered “No…no.” Then I launched into a litany of guesses, all wrapped in a pseudo-intellectual pose, as to why he disliked the film. Well, sure, it was a silly action movie, but you could do far worse. Spielberg may have “grown up”, but he was still a populist director at heart and quite good at directing the kind of movies that Michael Bay was consistently f**king up. And sure, it wasn’t deep and didn’t leave me with anything besides the faint memory of two enjoyable hours. But wasn’t that enough? Dad patiently sat there as his son prattled on for a bit. When I was finally winded, he said “You want to know why I hated that movie? You know that scene in the beginning where Tom Cruise is playing catch with his son?” Sure, I replied. “Well, Tom Cruise throws a baseball like a goddamned girl. He pushes the thing. PUSH. PUSH. How did you not catch that!? It’s plain as day. And I’m supposed to think he’s a hero!?”
* You know what’s really got to suck hard? Turning down a Supreme Court nomination to be governor, and then losing your gubernatorial re-election bid. Mario Cuomo is the Bad Luck Brian of our time. [New York Daily News]
* And speaking of bad luck, this prominent antitrust lawyer is like the harbinger of Biglaw doom. In the last four years, Marc Schildkraut has bounced from Heller to Howrey to Dewey. Good luck to his new firm, Cooley LLP. [Washingtonian]
* Another judge — this time from the S.D.N.Y. — has found that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Paul Clement, the patron saint of conservative causes, is probably facepalming right now. [Reuters]
* “I don’t know how you all practice law in Texas.” It looks like the judge presiding over the Roger Clemens case hasn’t been keeping up with all of our crazystories from the Lone Star state. [Wall Street Journal]
* “[T]he epitome of unprofessionalism”: State Attorney Angela Corey couldn’t take the heat from Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, so she threatened to sue the school and get him disbarred. [Orlando Sentinel]
* “What did you guys do to deserve me? How did you guys get stuck with this? Ay yi yi.” At least Jerry Sandusky’s got a sense of humor about a potential 500 year sentence. [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
* The election outlook for birthers may not be so bleak after all. Sure, Orly Taitz lost her bid to be a senator, but Gary Kreep might get to be a judge in San Diego County. We’ll find out later today. [North County Times]
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