"I gotta take a tinkle...save a chick for me, I'll be right
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 12/06/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"From Crown International Pictures, who describe themselves as a `leading force in independent film production and distribution', which is just a fancy way of saying purveyors of schlock, comes Jocks (1987), another in a slew of dumb teenage comedies released throughout the 1980s. Directed by Steve Carver (Big Bad Mama, Lone Wolf McQuade), the film stars Scott Strader (The Karate Kid), Mariska Hargitay (Ghoulies, "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit"), and Perry Lang (1941, Alligator). Also appearing is Richard Roundtree (Shaft), R.G. Armstrong (Children of the Corn), Stoney Jackson (Angels in the Outfield), Adam Mills (Snowballing), Don `Ogre' Gibb (Revenge of the Nerds), Trinidad Silva (UHF), Christopher Murphy (Valley Girl), Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), and Tom Shadyac, whose since gone on to directing such films as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), The Nutty Professor (1996), and Bruce Almighty (2003).
As the movie begins we learn the men's tennis program at L.A. College is in jeopardy, even though they've been winning under their coach Chip Williams (Roundtree). Why? Well, it seems the head of the athletic department and coach of the football team named Bettlebom (Armstrong), a creepy, tracksuit wearing jackhole with a ridiculous hairpiece, wants to take the scholarship monies for the tennis team and use it for his football program (oh yeah, he also believes tennis is for pansies). But here's the thing...since the men's tennis team are the only sports program with a chance of winning a national title, the president of the school, played by Christopher Lee, won't allow Bettlebom to discontinue the program. We soon meet the members of the tennis team, a group of misfits lead by a prodigy of sorts called `The Kid' (Strader), whose somewhat of a loose cannon who'd trade his rackets for a six-pack specifically because `you can't drink tennis rackets'. Other members include the nerdy goody goody Jeff (Lang), Andy (Jackson), who's fancies himself a ladies man and looks a lot like singer James DeBarge, jerry curls and all, a BS artist named Tex (Mills), a psychotic named Ripper (Gibb), and Chito (Silva), `the human backboard'. As the team arrives in Las Vegas to compete in some sort of tournament they engage in all sorts of antics, some of which endanger their chances of winning while going up against a couple of evil jocks from Dallas Tech, who also happen to be their main competition. Eventually evil forces conspire against the team, The Kid specifically, as the competition wrangles him into a blackmail scheme involving a bet against L.A. College. Will The Kid throw the match under the pressure and cost his teammates their scholarships, or will he risk his own reputation and come through thereby saving the program? I'll never tell...
Jocks is pretty typical of the type of innocuous, slightly sleazy teenage type comedies produced throughout the 1980s, although I sort of wondered if the well was running dry at the time it was made given the backdrop of the story, that being a men's college tennis team. I suppose if the dumb teen comedy genre had remained strong, we may have seen films featuring such activities as curling, badminton, and competitive unicycling. Ah well...I thought this film no better or no worse than any number of other similar movies release throughout the decade, as while it did feature some amusing bits, I didn't find myself outright laughing at anything in particular. The main gist of the comedy seemed to stem from the characters and their unusual methods of style in terms of playing. For example, if Andy found himself losing during a match, he'd turn around and act all ridiculously effeminate towards the other player, which, in turn, would tend to throw the competition's game off. Ripper, on the other hand, would just bash the ball, make threatening noises, and appearing menacing in general. Tex would mess with his opponent's head by engaging him in a large wager based on the outcome of the match (the player then would become preoccupied with the money instead of playing), while Chito would go through an elaborate Catholic, somewhat comical prayer ritual on the court, prior to his match. Jeff had no tricks, and was pretty much the dead weight in the group who tended to lose (mainly because he was the nerdy goody goody type), while The Kid, on the surface, wouldn't seem much in terms of talent until he stepped up, which usually occurred during the match. As far as the performances they were all pretty standard for this type of film, although I'm unsure how Roundtree or Lee got roped into a movie like this, other than perhaps the desire to pick up a check and the fact they had nothing better to do at the time. As far as Ms. Hargitay, she plays a character named Nicole who's a possible love interest for The Kid, but seems to be involved with his competition, one of the evil jocks from Dallas Tech. The writing isn't very good, in my opinion, even for a film like this, as I was hoping for a few more chuckles than it actually produced. There is some nekkidness in the film, typical of the genre, but it wasn't as prevalent as in some of the other films in the genre (there were a couple of brief topless scenes, neither of which included Hargitay). One bit I thought odd was somewhere in the middle, we see the boys hitting a bar, one that appeared to be engaging in a wet t-shirt contest. Only thing was, I never saw any of the s-shirt clad females actually get wet. Ah well, another missed opportunity.
The picture on this BCI DVD release, presented in widescreen anamorphic (1.78:1), looks better than expected and the audio comes through clearly, although I'm unsure the actual format. There aren't really any extras provided except for a handful of trailers for other Crown International/BCI DVD releases like The Beach Girls (1982), Weekend Pass (1984), Tomboy (1985), and My Chauffeur (1986).
In case you're wondering, someone at some point during the film does get crotched with a tennis ball...it seemed inevitable, to me, at least, given the caliber of comedy present throughout the movie.
My Uncle's Movie
Brian J. Lanahan | 10/03/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"So my uncle Michael Lanahan wrote this movie back in the 80's. He originally titled it "Road Trip" but the distributor titled it "Jocks" something he hates. He said to me the film was meant to portray what colege life was back in the 80's.
There is an interesting cast my uncles favorite being Christopher Lee (evil wizard from Lord of the Rings) whom he got to know well. So there is a little background.
So here is my opinion of the movie, I like the character of Ripper and the Black guy, there the funniest in my opinion. The story is good but I mean it was almost to easy, I wish things got a little more complicated before they manage to win the Tennis Championship. I laughed some but I never was cracking up, like with "Old School" or Animal House". So all in all I give the movie a "C"."