Brett Favre will be remembered for many things. The first touchdown pass on Super Bowl XXXI's second play from scrimmage, his performance the night after his dad's sudden death, the almost incomprehensible consecutive start streak, and his seasonal flirting with his inner Hamlet. Another amazing feat: for a very long time, Favre was the second most winning quarterback in Soldier Field history, behind Jim McMahon. That is almost as impressive as his consecutive game streak.
Personally I will remember him for hitting a wide open Sterling Sharp in the final minute of a playoff game against the Lions at the Silverdome, leaving a boy just shy of 10 absolutely devastated. And then there is of course this (this too if you have the right software).
Which got me to thinking, what are the most unintentionally hilarious/awkward athlete appearances in movies. Ray (Jesus) Allen in He Got Game doesn't count. But these do.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Airplane!
Please put aside that Airplane! is one of the greatest comedies in American cinematic history with some of the wittiest dialog. Put aside that KAJ actually turns in a pretty damn good performance as Roger Murdock. And that his rant about trying to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes is the perfect response to what must be every athlete's unsaid emotional frustration with fans. The often aloof and mercurial Laker legend seems like such a bad pick for the role that he is perfect. And I suppose we should be thankful that Bill Walton wasn't cast. "OHHHH STRIKER! FLY IT DOWN, BIG FELLA!"
Best line: "Huh....Huh....Huh....What?!"
Dan Marino in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
The closest Dan Marino ever got to a Super Bowl championship ring was while filming Ace Ventura, and perhaps rightly so, because as putrid as his performance was in Ace Ventura, it was worse in Super Bowl XIX (1 TD, 3 INTS in a 38-16 loss to the 49ers). I'm not sure I even need to write any more about this. If you have seen the movie - and if you are reading this blog, my guess is that you've seen a handful of times - you know how painful it must have been to film. At least every young football fan learned an invaluable lesson...that when a field goal is missed it isn't always the kickers fault; and that laces out mean a world of difference. Right Lois Einhorn? And Tony Romo?
Best Line: Ace: Please don't kill me. I'll never tell anyone. Kill him, he's the one you want. Dan: No, no kill me. (see what I'm talking about...there's nothing here)
O.J. Simpson in the Naked Gun series
This goes up there with the KAJ appearance in Airplane! It was hilarious when it came out, still is to a large degree, but unlike KAJ, watching and laughing at O.J. now just seems wrong. And it is too bad, because the movies are pretty good and they stand up well over the test of time. But it is tough to enjoy. It is further complicated by the fact that Simpson stood as an example of sport's egalitarian qualities. He parlayed his on-field popularity into becoming the first black celebrity to be featured in a national corporate ad campaign, running through airport terminals for Hertz. In the mid-70s, a poll of grade-school children commissioned by Ladies' Home Journal named Simpson the nation's most admired figure. He starred in a number of other films, A Killing Affair, a made-for-television movie which stands as one of the first instances of interracial romance depicted in the mass media. Not quite as light-hearted as the other examples, but I think it's important to point out. At least we can still laugh at picturing Nordberg stuck on the underside of a bus on its way from L.A. to Detroit.
Best line: "Nobody run, just walk. Single file. That's it. Now if we just stay calm, no one's gonna be harmed by the huge bomb that's gonna explode any minute."
Shaq in Kazaam
I suppose you could have picked Blue Chips, but that was actually a pretty decent movie. Steel was much closer to making the list. But I picked Kazaam cause Steel didn't have the line "You smell like hippopotamus butt". Regardless, I don't think it's too surprising when you realize that Shaq started winning championships after he left his acting and rapping career behind. But he is a man of many interests and talents, as his recent law enforcement pursuits have shown.
Best Line: "Grab my belly and make a wish." That is also what he reportedly told Steve Nash after he was traded to the Suns. I suspect that wish wasn't "To slowly fall out of contention in the Western Conference playoff race."
Gheorghe Muresan in My Giant
I haven't seen the movie, but me thinks this might be one that Billy Crystal would like to have back. However, I included it mainly because Muresan's Wiki page says that he played a ventriloquist in Eminem's "My Name Is" music video. This astounds me. This should also astound you.
Brett Favre in There's Something About Mary
Some of Favre's performances in domes were pretty lame, but his appearance late in TSAM as Mary's former lover was just atrocious. (If that movie was made now, Peyton Manning would be the premium choice...just tell him it's a commercial and he's there.) But we have to give it to Favre, a lesser man would have fallen back into his pain killer addiction after prolonged exposure to Ben Stiller. And his amazing MasterCard and Prilosec ads show a much more comfortable Favre.
Best line: "I would have looked out for the water main, but that's just me" Whoops...that's the MasterCard ad.
Pele in Victory
I do feel bad for Pele. He is a world icon that has (let himself) been used as a political pawn and sullied some of his legacy (great chapter in How Soccer Explains the World). It may be a good thing since Victory wasn't exactly the epic soccer movie of our time. (Actually, if it wasn't, then what was?) What this movie needs is "Pele Stallone", not Pele and Stallone. Pele couldn't act. And Stallone (in the blue shirt) couldn't possible be believable as a goalkeeper. It just wasn't going to happen. Goldberg was a more believable goalie. But if you can suspend disbelief that Stallone knows soccer rules and that Pele (as Luis Fernandez) would have ended up in a German POW camp, then you can enjoy the movie. Even if you think soccer is for a bunch of hippie panzies. (I've played soccer for my entire life, so clearly I don't think that.)
Best Line: "Where do I stand for a corner kick?" - Stallone. I'm virtually certain that Stallone needed to know that during filming, so he at least "played his part."
Dennis Rodman in Simon Sez
I don't even need to explain this one, right?
Anything obvious I missed?
Link to my best sports logos post.