Welcome back, friends and internet colleagues, to this latest installment of 73 Sports Movies in 73+ Days, which we’re just going to unofficially refer to as “Burnsy Is Watching Every Sports Movie Ever Made Over The Next Year” because that’s what this has come down to. The only snag that I’ve hit so far is that I can’t find Comrades of Summer or Prayer of the Roller Boys anywhere. Stupid, awesome 90s HBO original movies that nobody remembers.
I thought I’d bring this sucker back from its coma with a true classic in the form of 1994’s Little Giants, which I actually loathed when I first watched it 19 years ago. I really hated this movie beyond description. It had a lot to do with how much I hated Rick Moranis when I was younger, as I obviously loved him in Spaceballs, but I think I held it against him that he made other movies. I was a stupid, stubborn kid if you haven’t already learned that from previous installments.
So how did I like Little Giants 19 years after it was released in theaters? It might be the best damned sports movie ever made.
The Classic Story Of Brother Vs. Brother
Little Giants is yet another perfect by-the-numbers sports movie that focuses on several clichés that are all wrapped up into one giant meatball of relatable nostalgia. At its core, Little Giants is a story of underdogs, but on top of that is a layer of lovable losers who aren’t good enough to make the team, covered in a delicious sauce of unique characters, deep fried in the batter of the most unlikely hero and then served over a bed of a macho, overachieving older brother always taking his nerdy, idolizing kid brother for granted.
But it’s that last layer, the brother vs. brother angle, that really gives Little Giants its heart and soul. Kevin O’Shea (Ed O’Neill) is the local legend of Urbania, a town so plain they might as well have named if Suburban Place, and he’s a high school and college football national champion with a Heisman Trophy as the cherry on top. Like any great former football player, Kevin has returned to Urbania to open a car dealership and serve as the overbearing, tyrannical asshole coach of the local peewee football team. He married his high school sweetheart and has two wonderful daughters, which must devour him inside, because the closest thing that he has to a son is a bunch of jerk players.