Monday, February 6, 2012

Division III: Football's Finest (2011) - February Filmathon Film #5

On the Menu:

Ingredients: Andy Dick, Marshall Cook, Alison Haislip, Mo Collins, Michael Jace, Bryan Callen, Paul Henderson, Greg Fitzsimmons, Kevin Covais, Adam Carolla, Will Sasso, Debra Wilson and Sally Kirkland. Directed by Marshall Cook. Run time: 98 minutes. Rated: R.

At First Bite: In honor of the Super Bowl, I wanted to watch a football-related movie. BIG FAN would have been perfect had I not already seen it.

DIVISION III is about a crappy football program at Pulham University, a liberal arts college. The previous coach suffered a heart attack, and the school president brings in Coach Rick Vice (Dick) for publicity. If he can't coach PU to a winning season, then the program will be cut.

So, it's a familiar underdog story... with Andy Dick.
Tough to Swallow: The school's name is Pulham University, but if you watch the movie with subtitles, it's Pullham University.

IMDb categorizes this as a romance?
Something to Chew On: Cook starred in, directed, produced, co-wrote and edited the movie. It is his feature debut.

Dick and Henderson are the other co-writers. Dick is also credited as an executive producer.

This movie is based on Cook's short film DIVISION III (2006), which also starred Dick.

Cook graduated from Occidental College, a Division III school, where he also played quarterback for 2 years.

Collins, Callen, Sasso and Wilson are all "MADtv" alumni. You know, back when "MADtv" was funny and the cast didn't go out and make EPIC MOVIE, DATE MOVIE and crap like that.

Covais was a finalist on Season Five of "American Idol." Remember Chicken Little?

Sasso played a commentator, the voice of Boo Venals and also did the voiceover in the beginning of the film.

Cook's mom has a cameo as the librarian.

Coach Vice wears a brace on his left leg. When he and Roy race down the sidelines, it starts to break. Roy yells, "Run, Forrest, Run!" Michael Jace was a Black Panther in FORREST GUMP.

The teabag scene really happened. Apparently, there were multiple takes done.

In the credits, one of the sponsors listed in the thank yous is Adult Chocolate Milk. I thought maybe it was a band, but it is in fact a drink.

There are outtakes during the closing credits.
Aftertaste: I've been disappointed with bigger comedies so far this month. BAD TEACHER and 30 MINUTES OR LESS didn't live up to expectations, considering the A-to-B-list casts. This movie, however, stars Andy Dick, so you don't expect anything more than offensive humor. Well, good news. DIVISION III has offensive humor in spades.

The team mascot is the Blue Cock. The rival mascot is the Cougar (there's also a team named the Beavers). There are lots of balls. And, the coach is borderline racist and slightly insane. Imagine the fun.

My favorite moments include the first pregame speech and prayer, and the food fight.

The story is old: Loser coach takes over a losing team and tries to turn things around. But, really, this movie isn't about the game. There aren't a lot of in-the-game scenes. The movie is more about the characters and the jokes. To me, even the final game takes a backseat to the commentary by Carolla and Sasso.

This movie was also my introduction to the lovely Alison Haislip (former correspondent on "Attack of the Show!" on G4).

I think just the fact that Andy Dick is a lead will turn people away from watching this movie. I don't necessarily like his antics, but I didn't find him that off-putting here. Heck, I even watched it a second time with the audio commentary (provided by Cook and Dick).

Get some. As Coach Vice would say.

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