What An Unfortunate Thing To Happen On Dozen-Egg Night!: BASEketball (Universal) Blu-ray Review + Screenshots
THE FEATURES ⭐⭐
Spotlight on Location: The Making of BASEketball (10m 49s, SD, 1.33:1)
A very standard making of that was done during the filming of the BASEketball. We do get to see how the cast and crew get along and there are a lot of laughs to be had. I wish that Universal, or Shout! Factory, would do something more substantial for this film, but seeing as the film's 20th Anniversary is next year, maybe the film will get the love that it deserves.
Music Video (3m 43s, SD, 1.33:1)
Reel Big Fish, who are the band of the BASEketball league in the film, provide their own take on Take On Me by A Ha. The video is ok, but their take on the song is pretty good.
Theatrical Trailer (2m 15s, SD, 1.85:1, 4x3)
THE PACKAGING ⭐⭐
The front cover showcases the VHS and DVD cover art, which is very close to the theatrical poster artwork, just with the addition of Jenny McCarthy. It is still appealing even if McCarthy is there.
The back cover is the usual Universal layout with the big "HD Picture and Theater Quality Sound" banner at the top, like we don't know what blu-ray provides us. We also get a few stills from the film, tech info, and a special features list.
The disc is black and white and has the name of the film and a few tidbits of info about the rating, aspect ratio, etc.
The disc is REGION FREE.
THE PICTURE ⭐⭐⭐
Universal gives us a solid, if not impressive, transfer. The film has always been colorful and this transfer lives to that by giving us very accurate colors. Detail is good with some scenes gaining a lot in detail, while others have not so much. This transfer is obviously taken from a dated master, but it still looks pretty good.
THE SOUND ⭐⭐⭐
The soundscape for BASEketball is a lot like other sports film, but less. The scenes inside the arenas are filled with a lot of surround sounds like the music from the live band and the spectators. When the film is not in these arenas, the surrounds quiet down and the center channel gets used more. That being said, everything sounds nice with clean and crisp dialogue.
THE FILM ⭐⭐⭐
Two losers from Milwaukee, Coop & Remer, invent a new game playing basketball, using baseball rules. When the game becomes a huge success, they, along with a billionaire's help, form the Professional Baseketball League where everyone gets the same pay and no team can change cities. Coop & Remer's team, the Milwaukee Beers is the only team standing in the way of major rule changes that the owner of the Dallas Felons wants to institute.David Zucker is one of the three from ZAZ (the others being his brother Jerry Zucker and friend Jim Abrhams) who basically invented the spoof genre with films like Airplane!, Top Secret!, and The Naked Gun series. He turned Leslie Nielsen, who was known for his dramatic work, into a comedic legend. Zucker has given some of the best comedies of the past 30-plus years, so he would be the right fit for a film that spoofs professional sports, right?
Well, the answer to that question is: We don't know. Outside of the opening scene where we are explained through a documentary like video how sports have gotten out of hand with their celebrations and selling out, and a trophy room scene and a few jokes about how many divisions there are in the sport of BASEketball, the subject of sports is not really spoofed. What is spoofed is what you would expect from a Zucker film: everything. Nothing is untouched in this film and, while a lot of jokes do land, some of them are just headscratchers. There is a scene inside of a hospital, where Trey Parker's character thinks that the kid he was supposed to hit three home runs for has died. He starts with the paddles, then moves to get other, more horrific hospital instruments to "save" this kid. Right in the middle of all of this he says a line with a slight scottish accent, turns to Matt Stone and says "I love you, always have." in the same accent. The two actors laugh and then get back into the scene. It is a very odd stop in what is a chaotic scene and stands out as something that should have been funny, but isn't because of where it is in the scene. Zucker probably left it in because it is a drop of character and allows the audience to see Parker and Stone as the real people they are, but it hurts the scene. The comedy is ramping up and then just stops and then tries to ramp up again, but fails.
This is not to say that all the jokes fall flat. Quite the opposite. When Zucker, Parker, and Stone are on they are on. There is the aforementioned opening scene where we see how sports have sold out, but there is also a scene that takes place in the trophy room of the villain, played by Robert Vaughn. We see all the usual things you would find in a trophy room, but then there is something you don't see: actual athletes and other famous people inside life size cases. When asked about, Vaughn says "When I see something I want I buy it." showing that everybody has a price. We see later the real life trophies clocking out for the day, which I thought was a brilliant way to end that sight gag.
This was not Parker and Stone's first live action film, although many think that it was. Of course they are known for the animated show South Park, but they made two films live action films before South Park hit the air. Their first film, Cannibal! The Musical, is a very funny film about Alfred Packer, a very famous person from Colorado who was convicted of murder because he ate all the members of his troop when they got lost in the mountains of Colorado during a winter storm. The film has some pretty good songs and is a good film to watch if you want to see where Parker and Stone started. They also made Orgazmo, a satire of the porn industry. Parker plays a mormon journeyman (where have we seen this before?) that becomes a porn star (who uses a "stunt cock" because of his religion) to make money so that he can afford to have his wedding inside of the big church in Utah. The film is even funnier that Cannibal! and has some of the most remembered dialogue from anything that Parker and Stone have ever done. ("I am Sancho", "I don't want to sound queer or anything, but", and "Dad, I don't think that I am going to do Hamster-style anymore") These may not sound funny now, but watch the film and you will be quoting them, and others, too.
So, Stone and Parker are very relaxed onscreen and they really do a great job here. Their friendship comes through on screen and they seem to be having a good time. The pair have both said that they are not happy with the film because it wasn't their style, but I think that they are the best part of the film. There are others who shine in the film, like Al Michaels, but Stone and Parker do a great job carrying the film.
BASEketball is a good film that I liked more when I was younger. I remember seeing this in the theater and laughing my ass off. Watching it for this review all these years later, the film doesn't hold up as well as I thought it would. More of the jokes fall than when I saw it first and there are some jokes that just plain don't work. That being said, the film is still a good watch. This blu-ray is a Best Buy Exclusive until October 10th, 2017, so get it while it is on sale.
BASEketball is a solid film with two great leads and some jokes that are just plain funny. While the film doesn't hold up after almost twenty years, it still holds a lot of what made it funny.
The blu-ray is good. The A/V quality could have been better and the special features are nothing but ports from the original 1999 blu-ray. It is still worth the low price that it is selling for and would recommend it to most readers.