vickyj asked: As coach of the Minneapolis Southtwelfths, a peewee team, what sport are you coaching, who are their main rivals, and what is the mascot? Tell me how they fare in their inaugural season.
Best answered in cinematic terms.
The Bad News Bears, obviously. That’s what we’re looking at: kids, playing baseball, badly. A lot of If… thrown in, too. The aimless violence and the uniforms. Inevitably, there’s some Rushmore, too. Look, I was nineteen years old in 1999. It was simply not possible to spend your teenage years living through the 1990s, one of the easiest times to be alive in American history, and then come out with very little to show for it besides a bad attitude, a shelf’s worth of Kinks CDs, and utter contempt for one’s peers, and then not get roped in entirely to the world of Rushmore. Like Ralph Nader, Merge Records and Cometbus, this is one of those things that made great, great sense to you at the time (and still does), but is now very hard to explain to people under 25.
Rivals? Probably some vestigial traces of Caddyshack in there. Snobs v. slobs. Rich kids, obviously. It’s always rich kids, but why not? Rich kids in America are always horrible. They’re probably worse now than they were when I was young. I guess some camp movies could make their way in, too, but actually, I was never that hot on camp movies and seeing Wet Hot American Summer negates the need to ever see a real ’80s camp movie, anyway. Those movies were all terrible, and Wet Hot American Summer wasn’t. Because Wet Hot American Summer is one of the few movies of the very, very, very late ’90s that manages to be really legitimately entertaining, and also act as a very cynical commentary on what it means to be “entertaining.” That was a very specific talent that no comic filmmaker born after 1970 has, and even the ones that were have probably lost it by now.
Kid actors in the 1970s. Oh my god. Paper Moon (Tatum O’Neal again), or Alfred Lutter in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore. A bunch of kids like that. Smart and freakishly well-spoken. All the kids of my artist friends are like that, because their artist parents brought them to parties and openings beginning at infancy, and so they learned to talk to adults from a very early age, and consequently get really bored when you try to talk to them like children. Some of those types of kids are in there.
More English kid-riot youth cult movies. Quadrophenia. Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. Withnail and I maybe qualifies. Britannia Hospital, too. Did you ever notice that both Withnail and I as well as Britannia Hospital end with a recitation of the “what a piece of work is a man” speech from Hamlet? So will this. I used to have this trick I did at parties where someone would say, “Hey, Andy, do your robot trick!” And I would get all jerky (physically jerky) and recite that speech in a robot voice (“WHAT A PIECE OF WORK IS A MAN HOW NOBLE IN REASON, “etc.). Killed every time. I haven’t done that one in a few years. Maybe I’ll put it in the movie.
There still aren’t a ton of great movies about Minneapolis, or at least that I’ve seen. I am not sure where that comes in. When will our do-nothing Congress get around to legislating quotas for film settings? For all the movies set in Southie, they ought to make one set in the southside of another city. South Philly. South Minneapolis. South St. Paul — that’s where the meatpackers lived. Give me a good movie about Irish immigrant meatpackers in Depression-era South St. Paul. Shit, you don’t even need to change many of the details when you transpose the setting from South Boston. It’s still Rory, Don, Shane, Cam, Mikey and Jackie. Priests, cops, shit like that.
The mascot is an anthropomorphic animal of some kind. I guess it gets kicked in the balls at some point. I mean, there are rules about these things not even I can break.
Also, in the inaugural season? They lose. They lose all their games. But by losing, they secretly win. Losing — losing in a certain way — because you’re too smart to do things right in the first place, because people that do things right in the first place are the real losers. That’s a powerful thing. That’s another thing the kids just don’t get these days.