Boys Klub

Boys Klub: A Rekap from Recent Memory

Never mind the lack of apostrophe, never mind that we can't spell, we can't even write our letters correctly!

A buddy of mine was visiting for a concert last weekend and, cinephiles both, we stopped off at a couple places to pick up some bad films (maybe we’re really not cinephiles, but cinesadists?) One which caught my eye was Boys Klub, a kids’ film starring Beau Bridges. Kid films are often “bad” by any adults standards, but are let off the hook because they’re “for kids.” Now, if I were kid and someone told me this, I might be a little insulted, but all the same for a kids’ movie to be bad, it has to really be bad. Little plot holes here and there, weak acting from the young cast, silly villains are all part of the genre and while they may qualify as camp objectively, when you remember that half the target audience hasn’t had a girlfriend it becomes far easier to forgive (granted, I imagine half the target audience for pretty much every film in my collection doesn’t have a girlfriend, but that’s another story all together…) My point is that I bought this movie for three bucks and never really expected to watch more than fifteen or twenty minutes of it because rather than awful it would probably just be silly and boring. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is one of those rare moments of ecstasy that bad movie aficionados live for: the unexpectedly bad movie. The movie which, despite all the hundreds of bad films you’ve seen, still completely pulls the rug out from under you. Because reviewing bad movies all the time can make a person jaded. Can make them think they’ve seen it all. That they know the genre inside and out. This person has never seen Boys Klub the most fantastically, giddily, goofily bad film I have seen in quite a while.

One of the reasons this film works so well as a bad movie (hehe, there’s one hell of a qualifier for you) is that its badness begs you to find out just why it was so bad. It’s like watching a mystery. I’m Joe Hardy trying to figure out just what the hell happened in the making of this film. The classic bad movie question: “What were they thinking?” begs to be asked over and over again.

Right off the bat (backboard?) the film is confusing. We open with Beau Bridges getting a new, completely generic job in Phoenix. One tiny problem: that means he’ll have to break off his vacation with his son, Mario. But wait! There’s hope! Beau agrees to play Mario a game of basketball to decide things. If Mario wins, Beau will not take the job and the vacation is on. If Beau wins Mario is going to San Francisco. First to score wins. Mario gets first ball. Of course, we know Mario can’t win, otherwise we wouldn’t have a movie. I guess the film could have let Mario win only for his dad to back out of the deal, but that’d just be mean and it’d make the dad look like a jerk, right? Well that wouldn’t be nearly as mean as what actually happens! The father and son begin the game and Beau immediately steals the ball, shoots a sky hook and scores. He then begins running around in circles whooping and hollering while we watch Mario’s heart physically break in half. What kind of a jerk is Beau Bridges? Holy cow, you just totally backed out on your son’s vacation, gave him false hope that you might change your mind, completely demolished him in a game of basketball, and then rubbed it all in his face! And I thought I was emotionally scarred from my dad beating me at Candyland! You see what I mean about the movie letting Mario win and then just having Beau back on it being way kinder? For the rest of the movie I kept expecting Beau to call his son and reminding him just how badly he kicked his ass.

Kafka would have a field day with this one.

I’ve actually left out a major description of this first basketball game, and this is where the whole bad movie mystery begins. You see, this whole basketball scene is intercut with footage of a young boy bicycling through the woods sporting a Jansport backpack. We see the same footage of him biking and running over and over, stopping occasionally to take out pictures of Beau and his son Mario. But, who the hell is this kid? Mario, we clearly saw, had short brown hair and looked to be fifteen or fourteen. This kid has long brown hair and looks to be no more than twelve or thirteen. His body is simply smaller. We never see the bicycle kid’s face, only adding to the mystery. So who the hell is he? He’s wearing the same backwards hat that Mario wears… but maybe that’s what all the kids are wearing these days. And he has pictures of Mario and his dad… but did he steal them? Why? Where is he taking them? Mysterious long haired twelve year old boy eventually throws the pictures into a river. Scene.

Watching this for the first time is the height of confusion, but in a good way. You really want to figure out who the bicycle kid is (well, I did anyway). Is it Mario in the past? A completely different person? Where is this taking place? When? So many questions! Don’t worry reader, we’ll work this mystery out in due time.

But for now we cut to Beau and Mario at the Greyhound bus station. Mario seems to have recovered from his defeat and is keeping a good attitude about things. He also has short hair and is definitely at least fourteen years old. Beau tells Mario he can always call to reach him. Onto the bus we go! Now, I’ve ridden plenty of Greyhound busses in my day, not the most pleasant experience to be sure. It’s kind of a gloomy sense of every body’s got somewhere to go, just sit quiet and let’s get there. This film, however, overlays footage of yellow flowers in waving fields on top of Mario riding in the bus. Why I’m not sure. Mario also happens to be sitting next to a total babe. Nothing is made of this. There is something peculiar, however, about Mario. It seems in one shot he has the short hair that we're familiar with, but in another it's suddenly long… no, no. Must be my imagination. Long bus rides (and bad movies) will do that to you.

We arrive in San Francisco and Mario is picked up by his Aunt and Cousin, Fooley. Yeah, that’s right, his cousin’s name is Fooley. And you were probably snickering at Mario! But no, this movie features some of the dumbest names of all time including said Fooley, and other characters named Tank, Shag, Tata, Papi, Chief, and Country. But we’ll get to them in time, because first Fooley has to establish how big an ass he is. And we’re talking Queen big (that was a rather inscrutable reference to “Fat Bottomed Girls”… oh well, not worth fixing). Fooley makes it quite clear that he doesn’t want to spend any time with Mario. He doesn’t even offer to carry his bags into the house. And he’s his cousin! I mean, sure bullies exist, but are they so nasty they pick on their own relatives? I guess I grew up in a pretty nice family, but this still seems extreme (especially when we see the full extent of the plans Fooley has for his cousin).

Fooley and the Aunt live with “Grandfather,” I might add, who is the aforementioned Tata. Grandpa Tata is a mysterious figure who’s always fishing and who gives Mario a little wave when he first arrives. I get the feeling more scenes were written for this character but cut, as he’s clearly implied to be some sort of Mr. Miyagi at the beginning but is only in one or two other scenes that are entirely inconsequential.

That night Mario calls his dad, Beau Bridges (he’s actually credited simply as “Mario’s Dad”) and lies and tells him everything is going ok. It becomes immediately clear that Beau Bridge’s immense star power (har) meant that he couldn’t bother to actually film this movie, but agreed to sit in an office and say his lines into a telephone for an hour or so, take his check, and leave. And he gets first billing!

Mario is forced to sleep on Fooley’s floor and we come to learn that Fooley has some major gastrointestinal problems, driving Mario to crash on the couch downstairs instead. Now, it’s kind of dark in this scene, but it looks like Mario is at least a year younger and is wearing a wig because his hair is suddenly long. Hmm… a clue to the mystery perhaps? Naw, must just be my imagination. It’ll all make sense in the morning…

The next morning Fooley (just typing his name makes me feel ridiculous) is off to the "klub." His mom insists he take Mario with him to which Fooley says no way, no how! But the Aunt forces him to and mother and son have a very odd tender moment where say they love each other and then Fooley briefly reaches across the kitchen table to hold his mom’s hand. What? The Aunt, I have to admit, is a rather lovely woman and so I already had some less than gentlemanly thoughts about her, but the way Fooley attempts to hold his mom’s hand makes me think the actor actually kind of has a crush on her too. He doesn’t really just hold it, like a son would, he kind of paws at it like an “oh you!” kind of way. It might be my imagination, but I could’ve sworn the mom pulled her hand away just a little bit. Of course, I suppose I am a bit penchant to constructing bizarre mother-son relationships in my reviews… Anyway, the two both agree that having Mario stay with them is kind of a burden, but little do they know Mario is right there lying on the couch listening to them until he sits up and says “I’m right here!”

Now, in the Aunt and Fooley’s defense, they probably didn’t know that Mario was on their couch because he has magically grown his hair out to nigh shoulder length and has shrunk from a fourteen year old to a twelve year old. Just what kind of gas was Fooley expelling last night? This at least kind of explains the mystery from the beginning of the film: the bicycle kid who threw the pictures in the river is indeed supposed to be Mario. It doesn’t, however, explain how the hell this kid grew his hair out several inches and looks two years young overnight! Obviously this movie was filmed out of sequence and apparently the actor playing Mario went into puberty overdrive during the course of filming. I can forgive that, I guess, but what idiot let the kid cut his hair in the middle of the shoot?! My god, even my high school musical director would have killed me had I done that during a production. So for the rest of the movie we will see Mario drastically changing age and hair style which the director meekly tries to cover up by having Mario wear a baseball cap the whole time. So the mystery is explained, kind of, but I still want to find someone who worked on this film and ask them just what the hell they were thinking. This kind of mistake almost blows Manos out of the water for me. I mean to have your main character constantly changing physical appearance every other scene just seems too egregious to be comparable to, well, anything! Bad movies are rife with continuity errors, but this is the most blatant I have ever seen. By far. Ever. It’s just continuously discontinuous. Agh!

Fooley takes Mario to the klub (which is basically just a high school gym) but makes it quite clear that if Mario ever tries to interact with him, Fooley will beat the crap out of him. At the klub we finally meet the rest of our cast. And boy, what a cast it is! I’ll try to summarize this as eloquently as I can. The klub is a Catholic-run institution headed by Father Sal, a kindly priest who wants all to feel welcome at his camp but does a terrible job achieving it, as we’ll see. Then there’s Coach Baxter who is so unbelievably evil I just… well I just can’t believe it! Coach Baxter runs the A-Team which is basically a basketball team for bullies featuring Fooley and a purple-haired boy named Tank as its stars. As you might have guessed, these guys are complete jerks. Their jerseys are black, too, just to make things clear. Then there’s the Janitor named, frighteningly, Shag. He is introduced almost as if he were mentally retarded when he begins cleaning the basketball court while the A-Team is practicing, which does seem like kind of an idiotic thing to do. But if that were dumb, it doesn’t compare to Coach Baxter’s reaction which is to scream at Shag, yank out the power cord for Shag’s poor-man’s Zamboni, and tell him to get off the court. Overreact much? Keep in mind, this camp is basically the YMCA we’re talking about here. Not to mention an officially Catholic institution. Father Sal watches this outburst, but does nothing. Finally, we meet the kind-of appropriately named Misfits. The Misfits are the Rebel Alliance to the A-Team’s Galactic Empire. I guess I can see why some of these kids are misfits. Country (yup, that’s his name!) is a little overweight and Ernie is an incredibly skinny (and fey, more on this) nerd. But the other two kids don’t seem to have anything wrong with them except, oh wait, one’s African American and the other’s Native American. Misfits indeed. The Native American, named Chief (groan, I hope he doesn’t throw any sinks out the window!), is actually a pretty athletic looking kid, and the African American, Papi (I don’t even know what to make of that etymology…), doesn’t seem to have any apparent physical ills either. Maybe they’re sexual deviants or something. Or illegal immigrants. Yeah, yeah. That must be it. Anyway, rather than play basketball, the Misfits just sit around all day playing very, very bad pool. Seriously, throughout the whole film we see as much pool played as basketball, and I don’t think anyone makes a single shot! Ernie bets Country that he can’t sink his next shot, and if Country misses he has to tell Tank that Tank’s mom is fat. Country misses, of course, and gets a swirly for his troubles. Hilarious.

Meanwhile two agents show up in non-descript sedans. They wear identical black suits and sunglasses and, we learn, have homophonous last names (one is Marks, the other Marx “with an X”). It turns out they’re scouts… for local high schools! Uh, what? Since when do high schools have budgets for basketball talent scouts? I think it’s an educational travesty that universities employ scouts, but high schools? So we find out that these two dufi are competing scouts trying to recruit from Father Sal’s basketball camp. Father Sal agrees to let them scout his camp, but only if they change into more non-descript clothing and don’t talk to any players or make any offers until the final game of the season. The scouts agree, but then immediately walk off camera saying “Hey, lemme talk to you!” so I guess they aren’t too good at following orders.

Meanwhile poor Mario is just trying to fit in and does so by bouncing a basketball outside by himself. Fooley finds him and immediately attempts to pick a fight, which unfortunately doesn’t develop. Did I mention Fooley is a jerk? Also, Mario looks completely different once again, just in case you forgot that he changes appearance in every scene.

Next day, back at camp. Our talent scouts really took Father Sal’s words to heart as they are now dressed in B.U.M. athletic gear (identical, of course) and are riding low-rider bicycles around the gym! They act like idiots on the side lines meanwhile Mario tries to play basketball with the A-Team. He does this by standing at the base line while the A-Team practices. Well, at least he’s not as obnoxious as Shag the Janitor. He finally manages to get the Coach Baxter’s attention. Of course, the only attention Coach Baxter can express is pure, unadulterated rage, so he screams at Mario and tells him to get off his court and go play with his loser friends instead. Again, this is a Catholic camp? Damn, if the yuppy basketball coach is this nasty, I can only imagine what the nuns are like!

This time Father Sal finally calls Coach Baxter out. Unfortunately, he doesn’t fire the jerk, but instead brings him up to his office where Shag the Janitor is polishing his trophy, if you know what I mean (no, seriously, he’s actually polishing trophies. That’s not a joke). Father Sal gives Coach Baxter the memo which he seems to have missed: this is a boys’ camp, not Andersonville. Coach Baxter agrees to let Mario try out for the team, but says the kid hasn’t got a chance. Father Sal says ok but at least that means Mario gets a fair chance. How Father Sal thinks Mario could possibly get a fair shake from a coach who clearly already hates his guts is beyond me, but as we’ll see Father Sal takes the whole freely they stand, freely they fall thing to a baffling extreme.

Mario has meanwhile finally fallen in with the misfits (can I get some props for how subtle that transition was?). First they test his misfittedness and Mario tells the sob story we’ve spent the past thirty minutes watching. They agree to let him into their group. Whoo, I hope getting into grad school is that easy… and about ten billion times more rewarding. Being a Misfit, however, isn’t all roses. In fact, although these kids are treated like crap by the A-Team and Coach Baxter, they’re kind of jerks themselves. They steal Coach Baxter’s pants from the bathroom and parade around in a dance line right in the middle of the A-Team’s practice!

But lest you thought I was letting the A-Team off the hook, we see in the next scene Tank and Fooley plotting to start a fight with the Misfits. How? Why, by challenging them to a basketball game and then beating the living crap out of them. Overhearing this conversation are the two idiot talent scouts who, if I recall, are supposed to be adults, but they don’t do anything about Fooley’s little plan. Even more insane, Coach Baxter shows up and Fooley and Tank tell him the plan to which Baxter agrees!!! Are you serious? They are now all guilty of conspiracy to commit assault. Maybe I was wrong earlier, maybe this is Andersonville!

Meanwhile, in a completely unrelated subplot which has no bearing on the outcome of the film, the Misfits, we discover, are actually peeping toms who stare through a supposedly buxom neighbor’s fence everyday when she hangs her bras out to dry. So, I guess I wasn’t too far off when I called Papi and Chief sexual deviants before. The gang agrees to synchronize their watches to go off at two o’clock the next day so that they’ll be sure to catch the bras’ owner when she comes out to bring in her clothes (I’ll ignore the obvious flaws in that logic). They all sync their watches except Mario who claims his is broken. Ernie says he’ll fix it and grabs Mario’s wrist but we discover—surprise surprise—that Mario doesn’t own a watch. It has never been established at any point that Mario is poor, so I’m not sure why he’s so ashamed to not have a watch but whatever. Ernie gives him a knowing look and says in a loud voice “Don’t worry, I’ll have it fixed by tomorrow.” I think they call it love.

The next morning, Mario is awaken by the Evil Aunt who tells him that Tata (the grandpa, remember?) wants to go fishing with Mario. Ooh, maybe we'll finally get to learn about Tata, a character thus far almost as mysterious as Mario's hair length. We cut outside to two people who may or may not be Mario and Tata. They're filmed from far away with a bunch of flower's in the way and the film footage is run slowly such that it looks like a crappy video downloaded off of YouTube. Suddenly a voice (we assume it's Tata's but it's clearly overdubbed) shouts "I got one! I got one!" and the scene ends. Phew, I'm glad we established that scene… The next paragraph is going to seem really disjointed, but it's really not my fault. It's the movie's I tell ya! The movie's! So…

Apparently J’ing O in the shower that morning didn’t do it for the Misfits, because they are now hiding under the bleachers at the basketball camp while the cheerleaders practice. They employ the old two-dollar-bill-on-a-fishing-line trick and reel in a cheerleader who looks almost identical to Ernie (nothing is made of this except in my own twisted mind) in an attempt to look up her cheerleading skirt. Classy, guys, real classy. Meanwhile, Ernie gives Mario a new watch. Awwwwwww, who needs a cheerleader when you’ve got Ernie just longing for you?

Meanwhile Shag the Janitor is expressing doubts to Father Sal as to whether or not he can continue working there as a janitor. Apparently Shag was once a boys’ klub boy rather than employee and had his own bad experiences with the game of basketball. Father Sal convinces Shag to stay.

Meanwhile the A-Team challenges the Misfits to a basketball scrimmage. The Misfits agree and say they need ten minutes to get ready. They retreat to the bathroom and discuss their strategy which is, apparently, to let the A-Team foul them so that the Misfits always have the ball. If the Misfits always have the ball, the A-Team can’t score! I’d be curious to hear what Phil Knight would think of this plan (Knight, by the way, has got nothing on Coach Baxter), but whatever. The Misfits meet the A-Team at center court. But wait, they need a ref! Coach Baxter offers to ref (this man is truly demented) but the Misfits wisely say no way. Luckily Shag the Janitor shows up and offers to ref instead. He’s about to toss up the jump ball when “BEEP BEEP BEEP” It’s two o’clock!!! You know what that means: bra woman time! The Misfits bolt out of the gym in ridiculous fast motion and for no apparent reason the talent scouts run after them. We are then treated to everyone running around the block to bra woman’s house. And the gods smile upon the Misfits, because bra woman does indeed make an appearance. The movie shoots this through a CGI (if you can call it that) hole in the wooden fence which hilariously moves around as the camera pans to follow bra woman walking around the yard. Might wanna get that wood reinforced!

Mario loudly tells the other Misfits to be quiet which of course bra woman overhears. Oh, and I just looked in the credits and discovered that bra woman is actually called “The Goddess” according to the film, excuse me. The Goddess (bra woman) calls out to her husband and the kids bolt. The talent agents didn’t quite get this, however, and instead look through the hole in the fence. So now we have two adult black males spying on a blonde white woman taking her clothes off the line. Nice. As you might expect the husband comes and beats the crap out of the scouts. Well, at least no one can accuse this film of being politically correct, or commend it.

The second act gets under way with the Misfits wanting to form their own basketball team with which to take down the A-Team. They want Shag the Janitor to be their coach, but he refuses over a game of pool (in which, not only does no one sink a shot, but they keep re-using the same footage of the cue ball breaking over and over. Maybe they should try breaking harder). But there’s unfortunately another obstacle in the Misfits’ way. In order to enter the basketball tournament, each team must pay a fee. Now, ok, this makes sense. Five bucks a team to cover the expenses of juice boxes, rosaries, and what not. After all, it’s not like the Catholic Church has any money in its coffers, oh no, of course not. Ack, sorry, my tangent is missing the point. The entry fee for this basketball tournament isn’t just five bucks. Not even ten. Twenty? Nope. Fifty? Wrong. A HUNDRED? STILL SHORT! That’s right, in order to enter the tournament each team must pay a fee of ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS. ARE YOU KDDING ME?!?!?!?! So that’s how they pay for the gas in the Pope Mobile. A thousand dollars? Keep in mind, this is a boys’ camp, you know, to keep teens off the streets by giving them a safe environment in which to have fun and learn valuable lessons. But the only way I can think of to raise that kind of cash is selling drugs on the street!

Well, actually, that’s not the only way. In fact, there are far, far more horrific ways to raise a quick thousand bucks, as we are about to find out. Now, I know I’ve been making some tender jokes about the effeminacy of the Ernie character. Maybe you’ve been thinking I’m just as big a bully as Coach Baxter. Seriously, I’m just as much a third wave feminist as third way feminists allow me to be. I believe, for example, that gender is as much a social construction as a biological one. Indeed, what we are about to see confirms this theory quite nicely.

Ernie’s brilliant idea (and I’m not surprised at all that Ernie is the one who thought this up) is to have a car wash. Of course, no one’s going to pay to have a bunch of twelve year olds wash their car, right? (I’ll restrain myself from making any priest jokes here as Father Sal is at least likeable, though completely out of touch with reality). Instead, Ernie says that if the Misfits all dress up as girls they’ll make lots of cash. This statement is sadly confirmed as we see the boys now dressed up in skirts and dresses dawning wigs. Thankfully none of them have stuffed their shirts, but cars still stop by in droves which really makes me wonder if society is any better for wanting to have twelve year old girls wash its cars rather than boys. Of course, the fact that it’s really twelve year old boys in drag makes the message all the more confused. If I were in the mood, I’d work this into a thesis of some sorts, but watching the scene is simply too outrageous, especially the fact that most of these kids pass as relatively attractive twelve year old girls, especially Ernie and Mario and oh god, what am I saying?

Well the boys eventually get arrested. Why, I’m not really sure. Is the car washing or the dragging illegal? Anyway, we now have five twelve year old boys in drag in prison and I just don’t even want to think about it. Shag the Janitor shows up and bails them out, but not before taking the money they had earned and giving it to the police. Gee thanks. Shag agrees, however, to be their coach, but only if they raise money in a more honest fashion.

And really, as an aside, this is one of my problems with the Church. I believe Foucault makes the point nicely. The Church’s sense of raising money in an honest way here is really just enforcing traditional gender roles which obscure the fact there are a lot of creepy people out there who want their cars washed by twelve year old girls. Rather than confront this aspect of society, the Church insists on the boys acting like boys and avoids the situation completely. If that’s all there is to get out of this movie, well… well shit I got that from Foucault, not this damn movie, what am I saying?

Anyway, as we learn, washing cars while not in drag nets you far less customers. As something of a gift, Shag brings Father Sal’s convertible by for a washing which the kids gleefully give it (while leaving the top down!) but they then say they can’t accept any money for washing Father Sal’s car. And why the hell not? Father Sal has no problem accepting a thousand dollars of your money just so you can play in a stupid basketball tournament!!! Shag is impressed by the boys’ selflessness and says that he has a surprise for them. He drives them to a used car lot and a car salesman informs the boys that they can wash all his cars for some cash (how much is never specified). So the boys wash 135 cars (I remember the number for some reason) over the course of the day. They all pile back into Father Sal’s convertible when a thirty year old Latino-looking guy approaches them and asks if they know of a place to eat, he’s new in town. Shag tells the man there’s a restaurant down the road. The man then asks if they know of a place to stay. Shag says he doesn’t know and begins to pull away when the Latino guy snatches the wad of cash out of Ernie’s tender little hands! And actually, this scene is kind of well done. There's an ominous feeling to this man's questions which isn't propped up soundtrack or over-acting from any of the kids. It's actually a pretty realistic mugging. But enough about that…

Let the chase begin! Shag and the boys chase down the thief in a stupid boring sequence I won’t bother to describe. They finally pin him down and get the money back. Then what do they do? Why, they bring him back to the camp where Father Sal can mete out God’s justice, of course. Sal interrogates the man in that holier-than-thou way that only priests, I guess, can pull off with any authority. The man confesses and says he lost his job and needed money to feed his family. And so he steals from a bunch of kids? That’s pretty damn low, buddy. But to my cynically utter surprise, Mario comes in with the money and gives it to the thief (who immediately takes it). Mario says the thief needs it more than the Misfits do. This is all very moving blah blah but all I can think of is how quickly the thief took the money back. Just how remorseful was he? Father Sal, however, is so impressed by the Misfits’ charity that he tells them he will make sure the sponsors pay for the Misfits’ team entrance fee. What the hell? So Father Sal can just give out a thousand bucks to whomever he sees fit? This is one shady operation we’ve got going here… And just who are these mysterious "sponsors…," the Gilgamek?

Meanwhile we get some footage of the Misfits training with Shag the Coach and we watch as Country blatantly cheats on his suicide runs meanwhile Ernie is pathetically a half lap behind all the other boys. Nice.

But who cares? The Misfits are ready to go and it’s time for the third act: the basketball tournament. Fooley, we find out, has had a bit of a change of heart once he overhears Mario speaking kindly of him even after Fooley tried to assault him. As a result, Fooley calls Beau Bridges and leaves a message telling Beau to come to the tournament to see Mario play. At the time I was curious how they’d get Beau to do this, as it’s been clear so far that he’s barely putting any time in on this movie (indeed they don’t even show him responding to Fooley's phone call). But don’t worry, the movie will solve this problem at a level consistent with everything you've seen thus far…

Meanwhile, Mario’s mom (WHO???) shows up at the tournament, which I guess is nice except we have no idea who she is. Is she married to Beau at this point? Where has she been all this time? Why is Mario staying at his Aunt’s instead of with her? Whatever.

We find out that the tournament is played over several rounds, each game lasting for 20 continuous minutes of play. Twenty minutes? So that means the teams that lose in the first round (half of them) will have paid a thousand bucks to play twenty minutes of basketball in the lousy boys’ gym!!! Can you say SCAM??? There’s just one problem though, for absolutely no reason whatsoever, Ernie has “injured himself again” and can’t play in the tournament. WHAT? Where the hell did that come from? I at first theorized that the actor playing Ernie had quit the film in disgust at that point. Or maybe he had a transgender operation. Or, most likely, the producers realized that the actor playing Ernie actually sucked so bad at basketball in real life that it would be impossible to film him even fake playing. After watching Ernie on those suicide runs, I’m guessing this is closest to the truth. Meanwhile of course, we’re left to wonder just what injury Ernie has received. The way Father Sal says “again” makes it sound like a frequent occurrence. Hmm, twelve year old boy, nerdy, girly looking, I wonder if he has, snicker snicker, carpal tunnel syndrome. Heh. Heh. Right? Well, we never find out, but if you’re as dirty as I am you’ll laugh when you see that it is indeed Ernie’s left hand which is in a cast. Of course, this is a mystery I probably don’t want to solve…

As a replacement Father Sal points to some random kid on the sidelines who we haven’t seen at all prior to this and says what about what’s-his-name (I’m sure he has a name, but as the movie has never bothered to introduce me to this character, I’ll be damned if I can remember it) as a replacement. New kid puts on a shit eating grin and runs over to Mario and Father Sal while taking off his shirt. Ooh, I bet Ernie is steaming jealous! It would appear that this kid is at least a couple years older than everyone else (even keeping in mind Mario’s propensity for age changing) and actually has six pack abs! Nice pick Father Sal! Of course, I wonder how this kid now feels about being termed a Misfit…

Anyway, the Misfits actually win all their games, and half way through the tournament who should show up but the Latino Thief guy sporting a fancy leisure suit! Wow, really strapped for cash, were ya bub? Riiiight. Starving family at home? Riiiiight. Anyway, Leisure Suit has bought jerseys for the whole team who previously had just been wearing T-shirts with MISFITS scrawled on them with magic marker. The new jerseys don’t look much better, but in a surprising moment of quasi-sound logic, the new kid also gets a jersey, but there’s no name typed up on it. I guess this makes sense, kind of.

Anyway, game on. It’s finally the Misfits versus the A-Team in the battle we’ve all been snoozing for. Things get off to a pretty rough start as there is a blatant foul by the A-Team as early as the first jump ball! One kid just throws an other on the ground and no whistle is blown! I guess the kids on both teams realize that the ref calls will be, uhm, a little loose today and so they really begin to just hack at each other. Fouls are getting tossed about like beads on Mardi Gras and at half time (I thought this was supposed to be 20 minutes of continuous play?) Coach Baxter instructs Tank to “take em out.” Fooley protests saying they don’t need to play dirty, but that doesn’t amount to anything.

In fact, the whole play dirty thing doesn’t really amount to anything as the game just comes down to a buzzer beater which Mario makes, winning the game (though interestingly after Mario sinks the shot the clock keeps counting down. The A-Team should have had at least two seconds left to make a last ditch in-bound play to win, but instead the game just ends. What is this, the 1976 Olympics?)

And who should happen to be in the doorway when Mario makes the shot but good old “I Just Kicked Your Ass and You’re Going to San Francisco” Beau Bridges. Who says “Great shot!” But there’s something a little suspicious in all this in that we never see Beau in the same shot as, well, anything else indicating that he is in the same location as everyone else in the movie. Instead we cut between him and the crowd celebrating Mario’s victory (he’s awarded a trophy for his efforts… that better be one hell of an expensive trophy!) We also, by the way, never hear from the talent scouts again either.

We then see Mario running into Beau Bridge’s World and would you be surprised if I told you that Mario has transformed once again? This time he not only has short hair, he also has magically changed back into the old crappy jersey the team got before Leisure Suit bought them all new ones. I guess he liked the original design better. I’ve always been a bit of retro guy myself. Anyway Beau and Mario embrace and the movie ends. Well, the credits roll anyway. There are so many loose ends left in this story that I’d hardly call it an ending. Kinda like this.

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