Retro Review – Blue Chips

I’ve got 100s of movie reviews in the can from. Over the next few weeks, I hope to reintroduce my “Guilty Pleasure Movies” to Motion Artifacts. In the mean time, here’s a review for one of my favorite fantastically terrible movies from 2010

0:01 – One time in my life, I’d love to see a sideline reporter interview a losing coach after the half. She (more than likely) says something along the lines of “Coach… nothing seemed to go right for you in the first half. What did you tell the guys at the half?” I then want the coach to say “…well, have you seen Nick Nolte at the start of the movie Blue Chips?”

0:02 – I’ll argue until I’m blue in the face, but this movie has to be the quintessential Nick Nolte movie. He’s good in other stuff, but if someone 40 years from now asks me “…who’s Nick Nolte?,” I’m mentioning Blue Chips first

0:04 – Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but is Blue Chips the only modern “big time college basketball” movie? He Got Game dabbles in it, but it’s a movie about a kid and his dad – basketball is just the vehicle. Love & Basketball is a hoops movie when a few characters happen to be going through college, but again, basketball is only the vehicle… it’s a chick flick if you strip it down. Glory Road is the only other college hoops film that I can think of, but it’s historic. I can’t believe that college basketball is such a huge entity (ESPN is about to pay a bajillion dollars for the March Madness rights) and there is only one pertinent movie? How’s this possible? By the way, wouldn’t this concept make for a great 13-episode a year tv show. Think Playmakers, only not so over the top, but on Showtime or HBO.

0:05 – It’s funny how the big names in college change, but at the same time don’t. Featured as coaches in Blue Chips: Pitino, Bob Knight, and Jim Boehim. Only other coaches that would be on the modern day Mount Rushmore of college coaching would be Coach K, Roy Williams, and Calipari – all of whom were relevant in 1994 as well.

0:06 – Featured on this Texas Western team – George Lynch, Chris Mills, Ed Stokes, Rex Walters, and Rick Fox.

0:07 – I like that they appear to be playing a real basketball game with real players on a real court. I’ve seen too many flicks where a 5’6” white guy with no real athleticism is rising above the rim to dunk on a eight and a half foot rim (see: One Tree Hill, Hang Time, American History X).

0:08 – I challenge someone to find me a better (non-sappy) sports movie moment than Nolte punting the basketball into the cheap seats. I’d pay big money to see this happen in person someday.

0:10 – “If I assert that you sleep with sheep, then it’s alleged that you sleep with sheep.” This sounds straight out of the Bobby Knight School of Handling Reporters.

0:13 – The only bad part of the movie… a boring storyline between Nolte and his ex-wife. Not as bad as the Affleck-Hartnett-Beckinsale love-triangle in Pearl Harbor, but bad nonetheless.

0:15 – In my entire history of tv watching, I’ve never turned the tv on the exact moment of something that I’d like to see. It’s always a commercial or a show I don’t want to watch or maybe like the third inning of a baseball game. Nolte turns on the tv and within 5 seconds, the tv reporter is talking about Pete Bell (Nolte) in a way that I’ve never heard a local tv guy talk in real life.

0:17 – Ahh… the Bob Cousy shooting free throws scene. As I’m sure everyone knows, he actually made all of the free throws he shot in this scene. By the way, I know this is somewhat sacrilegious to say, but Bob Cousy would stink today. If anyone ever mentions “Bob Cousy” along with the words “best guard ever,” simply look at them and say “…have you ever seen a video clip of Bob Cousy where he cross over and dribbles with his left hand?” He does the right handed spin a la every 5th grade basketball player I know in every video I’ve ever seen of him.

0:19 – Featured on the “Coast” team… Thomas Hill (who I always thought was brothers with Grant, Rodney Rogers, Matt Painter (as in coach of Purdue Matt Painter?!?), Allan Houston, and my favorite Kansas basketball player in the early-90s Adonis Jordan.

0:21 – We just saw the halftime score was 39-30 in favor of Coast. With 17:02 remaining in the second half, the score says 71-50. Meaning, in the last two minutes and 58 seconds, Coast has outscored Western 32-20 meaning one two point basket was scored approximately every 6.8 seconds. Why didn’t they show that? That has to be the single most entertaining three minutes in the history of basketball. Imagine… for a nearly three minute stretch, these two teams were on pace to score over 700 combined points in a game of basketball. Either that or the editor/director messed up.

0:22 – Final score – 88-73. For dramatic effect, we saw every single basket that Coast would’ve scored after 17 minutes in the second half and only one shot by Western. Bell’s got reason to be concerned after giving up 88 points, but they only gave up 17 in the last 17 minutes of the game… you can’t ask much more than that, can you?

0:23 – Hmm… interesting that Pete Bell would wait until after the last game of the season to really start recruiting hard. This year, national signing day for basketball is April 15th. Arli$$ (Robert Wuhl) points out that nobody is worth recruiting other than the top two guys in the country – Butch McRae and Ricky Roe. What do you think would happen if this was 2009? You are the coach from a once great, but now bad college basketball team (think a modern day Indiana or UCLA). You haven’t bothered recruiting all year. You’ve got a bad team, but sometime in late March, you’re going to give John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins (top two players from ’09) a call and say “Hey… I think you should play ball here. We were horrible last year, we don’t have much coming back, and I’m not willing to play under-the-table games. But you really should think about coming here.” Tough sell, huh?

0:24 – This has to be the coolest high school gym in the world. With a little research, I’ve found that I think it’s the “Old Gym” at Mount Carmel High School in Chicago. I’m just guessing this has to be the same gym that was featured in Above the Rim as well.

0:25 – How funny is it that they gave Jerry Tarkanian the line “…I don’t think we can get him in academically.” I promise you this is the only time he’s ever said these words in his life.

0:26 – It’s amazing how much Louis Gossett Jr and Scatman Crothers look like each other.

0:29 – I’ve seen this movie a million times. I never caught that Butch went to St. Josephs which is the same school as Isiah Thomas from the Pistons, numerous botched coaching gigs, and numerous sexual harassment lawsuits and Williams Gates from Hoop Dreams.

0:31 – If I were a fan of UCLA, I’d probably have dubbed this scene with the names “Reggie Bush” or “OJ Mayo” and posted it on YouTube. Kind of like they’ve done with that Hitler video from Downfall.

0:32 – I drove through Indiana once on a baseball trip with my brother in law. Incredibly boring looking state in the north (at least along I-90) but driving through the South part reminded me a lot of what you’d expect from “basketball crazy” Indiana. My claim to fame is that I visited Milan High School which I just happened to remember was the actual high school from the movie Hoosiers.

0:34 – Remember Matt Nover (aka Ricky Roe). He played at Indiana from 88-93. He never played in the NBA but he played overseas until last year (!!!). He’s now a head coach overseas. And he looks like a dead ringer for Luis Scola.

0:38 – Other famous people besides Neon Boudeaux from Algiers, Louisiana… absolutely nobody that I can find. There should be a sign that says “Welcome to Algiers… fictional home of Neon Boudeaux” as you come into town.

0:39 – Hold the phones… I thought we didn’t know New Orleans was poor until Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I’m watching Blue Chips which was made in 1994 and they are running through possibly the poorest neighborhood ever caught on film. And if New Orleans was this poor in 1994 and W didn’t start messing up the country for six years later, how can this all be his fault? He may not like black people, but as his time as owner of the Rangers proves, he seems to love his juiced Hispanic ballplayers. His 1993 team may be one of my favorite juicing teams of all-time – Canseco, Pudge, Juan Gone, and Raffy.

0:40 – One thing I’ve never understood about the streetball part of the film. Why is the rim about 1 inch in circumference?

0:41 – Watching Nick Nolte dance at the church is one of the more underrated 5-seconds if film history. Kind of like in “Finding Forrester” when Sean Connery yells “You’re the man now, dog.”

0:47 – When did they stop having the evil, smarmy (sometimes) rich guy in movies? As a director or writer of a movie, you’ve got an idea when the movie you make is in the same class as The Departed, No Country for Old Men, or The Dark Knight. 90% of movies are made just for money. Please do us all a favor and put a smarmy rich character in there, would you? Let’s say you are making a movie about a grocery store, I want the villain of the movie to be described as “Shooter McGavin of the produce aisle…”

0:48 – Here’s the funny thing about this movie… everything that Happy says is true and I completely agree with. “These athletes generate millions for our University. What do they get? Nothing. You get a multiyear contract. You get a six-figure shoe deal so your team can be a walking billboard. And that is all legal. And then you get another six figures for that lousy tv show. We owe them this money”

0:50 – All of this talk of SAT scores reminds me of one of my favorite cards to play to people much smarter than myself. Many of you are aware that Mensa is a high IQ group for people who have scored in the top 98% of IQ tests. In Spanish, mensa in an adjective that means “foolish” or “stupid.” The only reason I could imagine to join a group like Mensa would be to brag about how smart you are. At the same time, who wants to hear someone talk about how smart they are?

0:51 – Every time I see this movie, I forget how freaking good Penny Hardaway was at basketball. By the way – I was looking up Penny stats and found out that he was on the 1992 USA Basketball Developmental team that played the Dream Team in an exhibition. Other members of the team included Bobby Hurley, Jamal Mashburn, Eric Montross, Rodney Rogers, Chris Webber, and Grant Hill. How insane is it to think that of those guys, four were great NBA players – Mash, C-Webb, Hill, and Penny. Of the four of them, Grant Hill is the only one still playing. Webber had a good but not great NBA career that should’ve included a trip to the Finals (refs be damned!) but 2002-2003 was his last good year. 2002-2003 was the last good year for Mash as well. Penny’s last good year was 1999-2000 although he still wasn’t the player he was in his first four years in the league due to injuries. To think that Grant Hill is still a productive player on a good team 7-10 years AFTER these guys washed out is insane. In his first six seasons in Detroit, he put up point, rebounding, and assist numbers that could only be matched by Larry Bird and Oscar Robertson. He was traded to Orlando and in the next four years, he played 47 total games. Maybe he’s been able to play a little longer because his 37-year old body didn’t get four years worth of NBA punishment, but enough hasn’t been made of the fact that this guy is playing well after his career looked to be done 10 years ago. For the first time in his NBA career, he didn’t miss a game this year!

0:53 – I wonder if Matt Nover practiced the scene in which he asks Nick Nolte for $30,000 in order to come to Western in front of his real life college coach, who also appears later in the movie, Bobby Knight? That would’ve made for the single best DVD extra of all time, no?

0:56 – I thought this song playing in the background was the same song Chris Farley and Brian Dennehy sing before Big Tom Callahan bites the big one in Tommyboy. I was wrong… that song is “What I’d Say” by Ray Charles. This song is “Your Love Gives Me Such a Thrill” by Lee Andrews. Both are black guys with both a first and surname that can be a firstname. Here’s my “holy crap” moment of the day. Lee Andrews had a son who is none other than ?uestlove from the Roots. How is it possible that I didn’t know this?

0:58 – We all have heard about college players that have been “paid” to play. What do you think the average dollar figure is? Did Reggie Bush or OJ Mayo get $10,000 worth of cash/stuff? $100,000? $1 million? None of these dollar figures would surprise me, but I honestly don’t know what the going rate is. By the way, one of my ten favorite pictures on the internet is of Reggie Bush during the state high school track meet. You’ll have to click on the link to find out why it’s so funny.

1:00 – Who do you think went to more class in the second semester of their freshman year? Fictional Neon Boudeaux or the real life DeMarcus Cousins? Fictional Butch McRae or the real John Wall?

1:01 – Second question… pound for pound, who’s gained more weight since this movie has been released – Ed O’Neil or Shaq?

1:03 – Over an hour into the movie and it still hasn’t been explained why Coach Bell and his ex-wife get together all the time. Other than Larry King, Pamela Anderson, and Liz Taylor, do you know of any situations not involving kids where a couple of divorcees would willingly get together for any reason?

1:04 – I’m going to go out on a limb and saying that doing the “I’m going to roll a basketball and you two guys slide and go get it” is a drill you see 100 times more often in high school than you do at high level division 1 basketball. By the time these guys get to the NBA, they won’t even dive after a ball unless it’s a playoff game.

1:05 – Coach Bell speaks a few words that Kurt Rambis said exactly zero times all season. “Play the two man game.”

1:07 – Butch McRae asks if his mom will lose her house and job if he leaves school. It’s quite an interesting scene… definitely one of Penny’s toughest scenes in the movie. If he would’ve tried to film this scene just five years later, he probably would’ve sprained an MCL following around Coach Bell.

1:10 – Why are we supposed to care that the ex-wife of a disgruntled college coach isn’t happy with the way he’s doing things?

1:15 – I blame scenes like this scene where Coach Bell goes up to Tony’s dorm room for the two most disappointing things about my college experience. First, every college dorm room looks like the size of the most expensive suite a typical Marriot has to offer. The more realistic size is somewhere between a large walk-in closet and a small storage room. Second, I just assumed that everyone in college hung out in the hallways of dorms blaring loud music. People blared loud music, but never was it music that you wanted to hear. I woke up to Saliva or Rammstein or something similar.

1:18 – Why is Pete Bell going to his ex-wife’s house? This makes absolutely no sense. Can’t he go get a drink with the boys like they do in other movies? I’m missing the emotional impact of this. A divorced wife is disappointed into her ex-husband. And he feels sorry. What is the point?

1:20 – You almost forget that Indiana was once a powerhouse, don’t you? Tom Crean definitely has the potential to bring them back, but it’s almost funny to think they were top dog not that long ago.

1:22 – How is it possible that 16 years ago, at the age of 56, Dick Vitale looked 62. Present day (16 years later at the age of 70), he still looks 62. Do we have any pictures or video of when Dick Vitale didn’t look 62 years old? Amazingly enough, Bobby Knight is 69 years old. 14 years ago, he looked about 62 years old as well. Right now… would you guess he still looks about 62 years old? What are the chances?

1:23 – Somewhere on my bucket list would be watching Blue Chips in a room alone with John Calipari… just to see if he squirms a little bit.

1:24 – Of the teams we’ve seen play, Indiana is definitely the one that had the least real life talent. They had Calbert Chaney, Bobby Hurley, and not much else. The only other guys that are recognizable are Eric Riley (the best non-freshman on the Fab Five Michigan teams) and Keith Smart who made the game-clinching shot on the 1987 Indiana national championship team.

1:25 – What are the odds that Bobby Knight actually sounds like a better coach than Nick Nolte? The stuff Knight is saying actually makes sense… Nolte is just using lingo but it doesn’t make a ton of sense.

1:26 – Another classic “whoops” basketball moment. Bobby Knight calls for one shot which is typically something a coach is going to do at the end of a half. You look up and there is 3 minutes and 11 seconds to go on the clock. Whoops.

1:26 – Before the Shaq-era, someone would’ve watched these basketball scenes and said that they look realistic, but there are too many dunks. Then Shaq came around and you realized that’s really where a majority of his points came from much like Dwight Howard today.

1:27 – This play call is complete BS. Coach Bell draws up four passes and a handback with no screen to get an open free throw line jumper off the dribble. There’s no way without a screen that a college coach is going to call that play. What’s the point? A play like that is more of a read.

1:29 – If Coach Bell’s ex-wife is so disgusted in him, why is she at this game?

1:32 – Missed opportunity here. Instead of having a locker room scene, they should’ve shown a fake press conference of Bobby Knight losing. In fact, they should release a director’s cut where they splice in some press conferences like here, here, or here. Or you could just go to YouTube and type in Bobby Knight Golf Video (caution… the language is that of which you’d expect from Bobby Knight).

1:36 – This has to be one of the worst lines in movie history. Ed O’Neil asks Nolte if the rumor was true that he bought Neon a car. Nolte says Neon didn’t even want it. Then he asked the “Friend of the Program” Happy if the car was fully loaded. Happy responds by saying “No… no… coach. It was a nuclear surfboard.” Nuclear surfboard? Nuclear surfboard?!?! That’s the best line we could come up with there. I’ve never heard a worse line and that’s counting every anime cartoon I’ve ever seen? What’s worse, is why does everyone laugh at the line?

1:38 – This is definitely an era before YouTube. If this movie is shot right now, Happy gets a million and a half hits in one day for going off on Coach Bell and that scene somehow makes the movie.

1:41 – Why is such a big scene made when Pete Bell says “I quit.” Didn’t he essentially get himself fired with everything he said over the past five minutes? This is like every movie I’ve ever seen where one guy says “…you’re fired” and another guy retorts “…you can fire me because I QUIT.” It’s always seemed like a ridiculous movie cliché.

1:42 – We saw the game was tipping off at 8 PM. Most college basketball games last right around 2 and half hours. Then coach Bell had a press conference. We can safely assume it’s at least 11 PM and more likely 11:30 PM or later. So when Coach walks out of the press conference (and, by the way, none of the press follow him), he goes by an inner-city park (we can tell it’s an intercity park by the graffiti and ripped down signs all over the place) where there are approximately 25 kids between the ages of 8-15 are playing pickup games. Because we are assume at 11 PM at night in November (first game of the year, right), most kids are playing pickup basketball outside with no adult supervision.

About The Author


Other posts by

Author his web site


09 2012

Your Comment