Today is Thanksgiving in the United States so I wanted to wish everybody down there a very joyous turkey day right off the bat. I’m Canadian and since we celebrated our Thanksgiving sometime in the summer, today is more like Thanksfootball for me. I’m also in a good mood since my Patriots smacked the Broncos last week so in honor of that win and Thanksfootball, I wanted to focus in on a couple of famous football flicks this week: THE LONGEST YARD (1974) vs. ANY GIVEN SUNDAY. Let the bone cracking begin...
Crewe puts together a band of misfit inmates, dubs them ‘The Mean Machine’ and prepares them for the ultimate game in which they can try to get their revenge. Besides revenge, they also want a crack at attempting to reclaim both their dignity and humanity against the brutes that mistreat them on a daily basis. Midway through the game, Crewe gets blackmailed by the warden (I told you he was an a-hole) into throwing the game and selling out his teammates or face getting framed with a longer jail sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. What will our hero do? This movie has laughs, hits, cheap shots, charm and a whole bunch ‘o’ heart!
This is an Oliver Stone picture so football is also a metaphor for life, for war and probably two or three other things that I completely missed. We’re taken on a fast ride into today’s world of pro football and we witness all the beauty and horror that lies within it.
It’s incredibly fun seeing these guys use football as an excuse to try and kill each other. The final football sequence is a beauty and the way it’s played out and directed makes it one of the coolest moments of the entire movie.
Pop: “For me it was.”
2) Walking Boss: [after the game] “Fuck you, boy!”
Crewe: “Not today, boss!”
3) Samson: “I think I broke his fuckin' neck!”
Announcer: “I think he broke his fuckin' neck!”
Team doctor: “One side, one side.”
[Examines injured player]
Team doctor: “Get the ambulance! I think he broke his fuckin' neck.”
Samson: “See! I told you I broke his fuckin' neck!”
4) Paul Crewe: “Whattya got for me, Sunshine?”
Caretaker: “I can get you steroids, vitamins, greenies, anything you want. You name it. I'm the best hustler in the joint.”
Paul Crewe: “How much of what this guy says he can do, can he do?”
Nate Scarboro: “He can get you laid in here... with a woman.”
5) Paul Crewe: “Nate, if you're thinking about winning this game, then you're as crazy as he is.”
Nate Scarboro: “Well, maybe so. But you spend fourteen years in this tank, you begin to understand that you've only got two things left they can't sweat out of you or beat out of you. Your balls. And you better hang onto them, because they're about the only thing you're gonna have when you get out of here.”
2) Tony D'Amato: “You're a goddamn quarterback! You know what that means? It's the top spot, kid. It's the guy who takes the fall. It's the guy everybody's looking at first - the leader of a team - who will support you when they understand you. Who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. 'Cause you make them believe. That's a quarterback.”
3) Tony D'Amato: "Now I can't do it for ya, I'm too old. I look around, I see these young faces and I think, I mean, I've made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I've pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who's ever loved me. And lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror."
4) Tony D'Amato: "It's TV, it changed everything, changed the way we think forever. I mean the first time they stopped the game to cut away to some fucking commercial that was the end of it. Because it was our concentration that mattered, not theirs, not some fruitcake selling cereal."
5) Tony D'Amato: "We're in hell right now gentlemen. Believe me. And we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb outta hell... one inch at a time."
Moral #2) Decent and honest wardens don't exist in prison films.
Moral #2) If you can outshout somebody, you usually have a pretty good shot at winning the argument.
Moral #3) Everything used to be better “back then.”