Note from shimes: With the re-release of arthouse hit
Bend It Like Beckham for an August run in multiplexes,
I chased down my man Jim Rome to get his take on this inspiring
story of girls sports and soccer. Let's see if Van Smack comes
strong and doesn't suck!
Rome is Burning About Bend It Like Beckham:
"Clones, Maybe I Just Don't Understand
the Passion...and Creativity of Teenage Girls Who Worship
a Soccer Player"
Clones, what is up! In Los Angelos, I am your host, Jim Rome.
There are a lot of things I want to get to, so let's get to
it, Clones. First, with my new TV show "Rome Is Burning,"
I haven't been able to grab a vine with the Filmsnobs since
my epic, classic smackdown on Like Mike. You remember
that one, right Clones? The movie featuring....Lil Bow...check
it, just "Bow Wow"...throwing down on Allen Iverson
and Jason Kidd. At the time, the take was, "Hey, what's
up with putting wife beaters like Allen Iverson and Jason
Kidd in a kid's movie? Uh, that can't be good...right? Maybe
the NBA should use it's more respectable, fan-friendly stars
for cameos in their orphans-in-the-Association movie."
You know, like Kobe Bryant.
But more on Kobe in a second.
Clones, I was in D-Town for the tour stop last weekend, and
I had a few hours to kill. What was I going to do, Clones,
GO TO A TIGERS GAME?
Um, no. As much as I wantno, NEED!The Tigers
to lose one hundred twenty games this year, I only want to
think about it as an abstraction....I don't actually want
to SEE it!
So the wife wanted to take our son to see Bend It Like
Beckham. And let me tell you, Clones, NEVER HAS MORE PASSION...AND
CREATIVITY GRACED THE SILVER SCREEN! I mean, this girl kicking
a soccer ball in the park with boys....THE SKILL! THE PASSION!
THE....CREATIVITY! There's about seven soccer montages in
this movie, Clones, and I gotta say, I was worn down by all
THE PASSION....AND CREATIVITY by soccer scene three. I mean,
it takes so much more PASSION...AND CREATIVITY to kick the
ball into the goal than it would to, say, THROW the ball into
the goal. Or BAT the ball into the goal. But because they're
KICKING the ball, Clones, THERE'S SO MUCH MORE PASSSION....AND
Ok, I've got to Reset this movie. This girl in England, Jess,
wants to play...soccer, and she's really good, but her parents
won't let her. They're Indian, and her culture prevents her
from playing soccer. But because she has so much PASSION for
soccer, she does it anyway. And who, Clones, inspires this
Why none other than David Beck-a-ham, of course. You know
Beck-a-ham, right Clones? The guy whose PHYSICAL was televised
across Europe! I mean, I like Emmit Smith as much as the next
NFL fan, but I wasn't glued to ESPN News to see Dr. Jellyfinger
tell E to turn his head and cough so he could get greenlighted
for the Arizona Cardinals. I guess in sports where they use
their hands, there's so much LESS PASSION...AND CREATIVITY
that we just don't understand why you WOULDN'T want to watch
your favorite player get the jellyfinger.
Um, I guess. And what is the dream Beck-a-ham inspires in
Jess? TO PLAY FOR THE SAN JOSE CYBERRAYS OF THE WOMEN'S UNITED
SOCCER ALLIANCE!OR WHATEVER THE HELL "WUSA"
That's right, Clones, Jess' big dream is to play in WUSA.
Um, this is where the movie loses me, Clones. I mean, WUSA?
Freaking WUSA? Are you kidding me?
Is Jess aware that WUSA....doesn't actually have any fans?
I mean, who has actually been to a WUSA game?
I know who has been to a WUSA game: Those twelve people that
mobbed Manchester United at the Portland airport. Did you
hear about this, Clones? Apparently the biggest soccer team
in the world...the New York Yankees, Los Angelos Lakers, and
Detroit Red Wings all in one ..landed in Portland for a game
with the Washington Generals...or whoever. And security for
MAN U. had to hustle these guys by ALL TWELVE FANS WHO SHOWED
UP! Apparently....there were more security guards than there
I mean, how did that go, Clones? "Go! Go! Go! Get these
guys away from this mob....of TWELVE FANS! These guys might
be mobbed by THESE TWELVES SOCCER FANS! No time for autographs!
Not with THESE TWELVES FANS MOBBING THE AIRPORT! They've got
lattes! They've got lattes!"
I really can't blame security for being a little cautious
around Soccer Fan, though. I don't know if it's all the PASSION...AND
CREATIVITY that causes Soccer Fan to riot. Hey, all I know
is that WHEN THEY ROLL OUT THE ROUND BALL, PEOPLE DIE.
I don't know what it is, Clones, but I do know that.
C'mon, Jess! Surely you've got bigger dreams than....WUSA.
I mean, don't you want to strip down after scoring a winning
goal in the World Cup? Thanks a lot, Chastaham, for that.
That's just what we needed, Chastaham, a bunch of soccer players
stripping down after they score. Now they all do itespecially
the men, like Cobi Wynalda and Alexi Meola. I guess there's
so much PASSION...AND CREATIVITY involved in scoring a soccer
goal that you now must go porn star after EVERY GOAL! And
frankly, I don't blame them, considering that A GOAL HAPPENS
ONCE EVERY TWO OR THREE GAMES. I'd be excited, too, if a great
season means SCORING TWO OR THREE GOALS!
But I guess that's the difference between women's soccer
and girls' soccer: The Women strip down to their sports bras;
The Girlsaccording to Bend It Like Beckhamtake
a picture of themselves. Right there on the field.
How does that work, Chastahams? Who's got a camera with them
WHILE THEY'RE PLAYING? And you take time out of the game to
pose for a picture before you get back on defense? What the
hell is that? Is that just more...CREATIVITY that I just don't
Listen, ladies, if you want to get paid to run around naked
on the field of sport, why don't you just fly out to Vegas
and get in on the Bambi action. You've heard of this, right
Clones? You pay 10 Gr!, and you get to...um, hunt....meth-ed
up strippers running around naked. And guys have come from,
and I quote, "as far away as Germany" to blast Bambis.
How did that conversation go? "Hey Franz, you wanna
shoot naked strippers with paintballs?" "Sure, Wilhelm,
but I didn't think the German government would allow that?"
"Franz, we can go to America and shoot naked strippers
with paintballs. I've got five thousand dollars; you've got
five thousand dollars....LET'S GO SHOOT PAINTBALLS AT STRIPPERS!"
"You're on, Wilhelm. God bless America."
Hey Jess, if the whole soccer thing doesn't work out, or
even if it does, you can always get in on the Bambi action
out in Vegas. It pays a thousand dollars a round. Two thousand
if you don't get shot...with a paintball. While you're naked.
I know that's worth more than a WUSA contract, and there's
got to be MORE SPECTATORS!
And don't email me, or call me, asking for the number for
the paintball place where you pay 10 GR! to shoot naked strippers
running around in the woods. I don't have it, Clones.
And Clones, save your Kobe Bryant emails, ok? I don't want
to hear your "'Little girls in sports bras? I'm in.'
Sincerely, Kobe'" emails. Save your "'I admire the
PASSION...AND CREATIVITY of little girls running around in
sports bras.' Sincerely, Kobe" blasts. Clones, seriously,
I don't want to read your "'Did Bend It Like Beckham
win a Teen Choice Award? I'm there!' Sincerely, Kobe"
Clones, I don't want to hear them. So stop sending them.
I'm NOT going to read them.
That's today's take, Clones. J-Stew is the show contributor.
Brian Albers is the show's producer. I'd like to thank shimes
and the filmsnobs for passing me a vine. Look for me on "Rome
Is Burning" Tuesday nights on ESPN, and I am IN!
for Shaolin Soccer coming up in August. Shimes sent
me the trailer for this one.
Have you seen this stuff? I mean, I HAVE YOU SEEN THIS STUFF?
These Asian teenagers kick the soccer ball....and it CATCHES
ON FIRE! They tornado kick the ball, and it knocks Dude's
head off! Now that's PASSION...AND CREATIVITY!
Rack'em! Another strong take by the King of Smack, Jim
Rome. I do want to mention a couple other things about Beckham.
It gives us nothing different than any other WHACKY! "Hey,
my family is from a traditionl culture, but I want to go to
the West" movie. Sure, it's inspiring...I guess, but
the bottom line is that Bend It Like Beckham is a far
lesser movie than Billy Elliot. Billy Elliot has
all of this social context about the coal miners strike and
issues dealing directly with masculinity and gender roles.
Billy Elliot has depth; Bend It Like Beckham is
just superficial, overcoming-the-odds stuff masked as a cultural
drama. Compare Billy Elliot's (directed, I might add,
by The Hours' Stephen Daldry) labor struggle (the eggs
thrown against the bus, the father's anger and violence, the
end scene where the men descend into the mines) to the only
significant social statement (other than the usual "My
parents don't understand me" stuff) in Bend It Like
Beckham: Jess: "She called me a Paki. But I guess
that's something you wouldn't understand." Joe: "Jess,
I'm Irish." Fine, but that's all that's done with it.
Billy Elliot takes the same inspirational kids-inspired-by-sports
angle and creates a complex portrait of a deeply divisive
period of British history; Bend It Like Beckham is
My Big Fat Greek Wedding on a soccer field. Yes, even
the big climax involves the little girl having to go to a
wedding. And no, this isn't because I hate girls sports. I
don't; in fact, I coach girls sports. And boys sports. And
a mediocre movie is still a mediocre movie even if it involves
girls sports rather than boys sports.