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The Shutdown Corner movie of the week: 'Wildcats'

MJD
Shutdown Corner

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Every Wednesday (or Thursday) Shutdown Corner will take a second to focus on a recent or not-so-recent book or movie. This week, it's '80s football classic, "Wildcats," starring Goldie Hawn and directed by Michael Ritchie.

Let's start with the reasons you might not want to see "Wildcats", perhaps the most underrated football comedy of all-time:

• A woman (gasp!) ventures into what's traditionally a man's world, but because of her plucky, spitfire attitude, becomes accepted as an equal. We've only seen that movie 734 times.

• It has elements of the "racial feel-good" movie, where a white person feels the need and has the magical ability to go into the ghetto and make life better for poor black people. And because everyone's able to put cultural differences aside and focus on inner beauty, everyone gets along swimmingly. We've seen that movie 891 times.

Those things exist. There's no way around it. There are clichés here, and there is also major cheese. Don't expect a high level of realism in the football action, either. But it's an '80s comedy, what do you want?

At the end of the day, these things don't matter, because the movie's funny enough and good-hearted enough to overcome them. If the bullet points above represent the downside, the ones below represent the upside, and they're more than enough to compensate.

• It's the first sports movie pairing of Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes. They're not featured quite as heavily in "Wildcats" as they are in "White Men Can't Jump," but the magic is there. You can see it.

• There's a completely gratuitous nude shot of Goldie Hawn in a bathtub. There's absolutely no reason for it other than to get people to say, "Hey, I heard Goldie Hawn's naked in that movie." I admire the bold filmmaking decision..

• The movie embraces profanity and uses it expertly.

• Nipsey Russell is at the top of his game. Okay, you got me, I have no idea what "Nipsey Russell at the top of his game" means, but he's extremely enjoyable as Principal Edwards.

• In 1986, it was okay to swear around and at children in movies. Getting them drunk was not off-limits, either.

• Also, 1986 was one of the prime years for cheesy musical montages in movies. "Wildcats" has some classic ones. It's the "Scarface" of football movies in that sense.

• Woody Harrelson has the greatest snap counts in football history.

• Wesley Snipes's rallying cry at halftime of the game against the Cougars.

I'm not telling you that this is the perfect football movie. What I'm telling you is that you'll have fun watching it. And in the long and lonely NFL off-season, any little football fix can't hurt.

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