In Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood, a trailer plays right before Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate watches the real Sharon Tate in her 1969 film, The Wrecking Crew in a theater. That trailer is for something called C.C. & Company, a movie starring former NFL quarterback Joe Namath as the motorcycle-riding title character. As soon as that trailer started playing before The Wrecking Crew, I knew that, yes, I must watch C.C. & Company. (Which, surprisingly, is readily available on Amazon Prime.)
Joe Namath had just won the first ever Super Bowl title for an AFL team, famously guaranteeing his Jets would beat the heavily favored Baltimore Colts. The next year, the Jets would go 10-4, win their division, but lose in the playoffs to the Kansas City Chiefs. So, did Joe Namath decide to devote his offseason to a rigorous training program in an effort to put the Jets back on top? Well, no, he instead decided to star in C.C. & Company. (That next season after filming C.C. & Company, Namath would break his wrist in the Jets’ fifth game of the season, the Jets would go on to a record of 4-10.)
Now, to put this in perspective, this would be like, today, Tom Brady deciding to star in a movie about biker gangs. And, yes, Brady has made film cameos. And, yes, LeBron James has had his share of cameos (Trainwreck) and is about to star in a Space Jam sequel, but at least that’s a movie about basketball and LeBron will be playing himself. C.C. & Company has nothing to do with football. This isn’t supposed to be Joe Namath! (Well, there’s one scene that puts this into question.) And, yes, it’s a pretty bad movie, but, admittedly I had a pretty great time watching it.
Namath plays C.C. Ryder, and right away we learn that C.C. is a man who plays by his own rules. How do we know this? Is there a big rough and tumble brawl where C.C. shows his dominance? Well, eventually there’s some fighting, but when we first meet C.C. he’s scamming his way into a free sandwich at a grocery story. He literally just goes into the grocery store, finds the bread and topping he desires, and eats the sandwich. Then he asks an employee about cupcakes. Literally, the first words we hear C.C. say are, “Excuse me, where are the cupcakes?”
I would love to have been in the pitch meeting for C.C. and Company. “Hey, look, people love Easy Rider. People love Joe Namath. Hear me out, what if Joe Namath plays … C.C. Ryder?” (At one point in C.C. & Company a character literally refers to C.C. as “Easy Rider.”)
After C.C. steals a sandwich and a cupcake, he heads down the road on his hog to his own personal theme song — that’s actually pretty catchy! “See, C.C. Ryder/See, what you have done now.” Are you ready to turn up your computer speakers and blast the C.C. & Company theme song? Of course, you are.
Not long after his sandwich theft, C.C. and two ruffians (who are both portrayed as less moral than C.C., but I didn’t see these two steal any sandwiches) come upon a broken-down limo, with a woman named Ann McCalley in the backseat, played by Ann-Margret. So, okay, now we have ourselves a movie! We’ve got Joe Namath. We’ve got Ann-Margret. Now we’re cooking!