A terrible 1979 movie
, yet it quite possibly has the most funk per square foot
of any film
At its most basic level, the movie is very clichéd. A bad pro basketball team (the Pittsburgh Pythons) is at the bottom of the league and is plagued by petty squabbles between players. But, a cute kid gets everyone to pass the ball and play as a team, and they win the championship.
But, this movie has far more to it. Far more.
- The lead role is played by Julius Erving, aka Dr. J. He has a beautifully large and massive afro. (As does most everyone else in this movie).
- The cute kid's modus operandi is astrology. He convinces the team's crazy owner to release all the discontented players -- everyone except for Dr. J's character, Moses Guthrie -- and replace them with people who, like Guthrie, are Pisces. This, the cute kid explains, will make the squad "cosmically compatible."
- The team changes its name to the Pittsburgh Pisces.
- The Pythons/Pisces fire their coach, replace him with an incompetent assistant, and then hire the first team astrologer in sports history. She's played by Stockard Channing, of "Grease" fame.
- Some of the new Pisces players include "Set Shot" Buford, a skinny white guy with a crew cut who never jumps when he shoots; Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon as the Rev. Grady Jackson, the preacher of the post; a disk jockey who shakes his booty after making a basket; a Nation of Islam member who wears an Arabic-style cloth piece on his head. (A gutra, I think? I'm not up on my Middle Eastern clothing items.)
- Whenever someone makes a basket, there's a short musical piece -- like, a couple notes on the xylophone -- to remind us that this team is, in fact, magical.
- Foretelling the XFL, Set Shot Buford's jersey reads "Set Shot" on the back.
- Cameos by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Connie Hawkins, Jerry Tarkanian and Marv Albert.
- A halftime show by the Sylvers that's so utterly funky that no one minds that it lasts an hour ... or so. (In one of this movie's many puzzling qualities, they never say how long it lasts.) This factors into the plot.
- A soundtrack that's, well, incomparable.
I can't stress this enough
. Rent this movie