As I’ve stated several times before, one of the goals of this quest to watch 73 Sports Movies in 73 Days is to watch older movies that I’ve never watched before, either because I avoided them like the plague or because I just never got around to them. Additionally, I’m also watching films that I’ve already seen plenty of times in order to determine how well they hold up (Over the Top is still an amazing classic) or if they can change my mind after all these years (Hot to Trot is a flaming heap of cocaine-fueled insanity).
Today, I decided to go with a movie that I’ve had circled on this list since I started it the first day – the 1996 baseball “comedy” Ed, starring Matt LeBlanc and Jim Caviezel. Ed is a rare gem that carries a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as it was nominated for all the big Razzies back in ’96, but lost thanks to Demi Moore’s epic wet fart, Striptease.
The, um, Plot
Jim “The Deuce” Cooper (LeBlanc) is your typical hayseed farm boy, except at some point in his life, despite having no practice or organized training, he figured out that he could throw a baseball really far and extremely hard. Of course, he just shows up for a Single A tryout and wows the scouts to land a spot on the local team. The only problem is that once he debuts, the Deuce can’t deliver because he’s afraid to throw a fastball.
Either way, Cooper’s problem isn’t important. What’s important is putting asses in the seats (at a Single A baseball game, mind you) so the owner’s son and his terrible wig deliver a plan to the team’s coach that will do just that. And you know it’s a serious plan because the folder has “The Plan” printed on it. What’s the plan? To have a monkey play for the team.
For some reason – I guess because he’s the new guy – Cooper gets to pick up the unsupervised monkey from the bus depot, and then they go on to become best friends, because that’s what humans and monkeys do when they’re baseball teammates. But instead of just recapping this plot like a Wikipedia entry, I’m going to be a little nicer to this awful, awful movie and break it down into pros and cons.
Normally, I’d rip a movie to shreds from the start for just introducing its main character with a premise like, “Hey, where’d you learn how to pitch?” “I dunno, just can.” “Okay, you’re on the team.” But screw it, I like that Ed just gets to the point – this guy’s talented but he’s scared, so let’s give him a monkey friend.
I’m a huge sucker for comedic sound effects like slide whistles for no reason at all or pots and pans when a guy gets hit in the head. This movie has everything and more – corks popping, Velcro tearing, kazoos – all for no reason other than someone felt like pressing a button.
Matt LeBlanc actually looks like he knows how to throw a baseball. Sure, his windup is way too compact, but he at least looks like he watched a game before telling his agent, “Yeah, I can baseball.”
Not enough sports movies encourage the idea that if you throw a ball hard enough, smoke will trail behind it.
It had the funny guy from Martin. There was only one funny guy on Martin and it wasn’t Martin, so that’s who I’m talking about.
Matt LeBlanc was never a good actor, from his humble beginnings on that Married with Children spinoff to his role as Joey on Friends, but I give the guy a lot of credit for trying. Especially when he’s forced to act opposite a guy in a monkey suit.
“You went ape with the air freshener.” You just can’t get lines like that anymore, and they were followed by tugboat horns and kazoos. That’s not Razzies material. That’s Oscars.
GERRY GERGICH IS THE TEAM ANNOUNCER!!!
While only a monkey, Ed is still capable of out-thinking his human counterpart by stealing his meal when he refuses to eat dog food. (My only concern is that’s how Planet of the Apes starts.)
The monkey appreciates the same things that I do, like the Miss Hawaiian Tropic beauty pageant. That’s something that speaks to me.
There’s a very important conversation about humanity and equality that goes down the first time that Ed is put into a game. The umpire offers up a very American speech about why monkeys are allowed to play our pastime. I have to admit I was touched.
If a monkey is going to drive a car, I must admit that setting it to a Meatloaf song is the right way to go.
“Hey Deuce, are you gay? It’d be okay, no biggy.” What a progressive little girl for a 1996 movie. Although, it’s a little odd she’s trying to pimp out her mom to a skeezy ballplayer who lives with a monkey.
It’s okay, everyone, Ed’s alive! Aw, I love an inspirational ending.
They didn’t use a real monkey. Real monkeys are awesome. A little person in a monkey costume sucks.
The guy with the wig is the worst. He’s worse than the little brother from Bring it On.
“I’m gonna spank that monkey.” Come on, guys. This is a kid’s movie.
Gerry Gergich is the worst team announcer. Who makes fun of his own team’s players while everyone can hear it? That’s just mean, Gerry. You’re the worst.
The monkey freaks out and grabs its crotch to tell Cooper that it needs to go to the bathroom. Then it goes to the bathroom and poops. I don’t expect much from monkey baseball movies, but I do expect accuracy in gastrointestinal issues.
I think this is the guy from those Geico Twilight Zone commercials. I don’t like those commercials.
The guy with the wig’s assistant is the dude from the Ferris Bueller TV show. He’s second worst.
Cooper feeds Ed dog food. I’m pretty sure that’s animal abuse, and while I can’t find the statistics, I’m certain that 100% of monkey illnesses in 1996 were caused by people feeding their monkeys dog food.
I don’t care that they showed a clip from Friends during this movie, but I don’t like that they showed Marcel the monkey. Not only was Marcel a horrible plotline on that show, but Ross Gellar is the worst television character ever, and it reminds me of him.
The monkey pulled off an unassisted triple play in his first game. Then he walks to being home the winning run. Both of those are great, but they encouraged a young boy to throw a chocolate-covered banana to him on the field. Once the monkey depends solely on human food for his meals, he could become angry and attack other humans. That’s not good.
Since when does Sports Illustrated put a Single A ballplayer on the cover? The lack of realism in this film is sometimes astounding.
They cut Jim Caviezel. How do you cut Jesus/John Reese? Not cool, Coach Chubb. Not cool at all.
It took 48 minutes for someone to refer to “the Show.” If my 80s and 90s baseball movies have taught me anything, it’s that every other word out of a minor league baseball player’s mouth is “show.”
Why not just make the monkey talk? You’ve already got the monkey eating human food, wearing human clothes, pooping in toilets and driving cars. You might as well let him talk.
This is one of the creepiest movie scenes I’ve ever watched.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but there is such a thing as too much monkey farting.
A monkey should not babysit a child, nor should a child babysit a monkey. The fact that Cooper and the girl’s mom did both of those things so they could have sex was incredibly irresponsible. I’m amazed this wasn’t set in Florida.
Just like in real baseball, the suits ruin everything. The guy with the awful wig and his cronies have no respect for what Ed means to the Rockets. That’s why they sold him for a briefcase full of money that had money sticking out of the sides. That’s a lot of money.
Seeing Ed in the hospital was way too sad for me. It almost made me cry.
Watching Cooper throw a 125 mph fastball, however, made me laugh.
Tommy Lasorda was on hand to scout a monkey, but he ends up signing Cooper “for whatever he wants.” This is how baseball got out of control.
Final Grade: One terrified monkey in a swing.