73 Sports Movies In 73 Days: A Celebration Of The Naked Gun’s Baseball Scenes

Throughout this epic quest to watch 73 Sports Movies in 73 Days, leading up to the first game of the 2013 NFL season, that may or may not have been an excuse for me to lay on the couch for two hours each day for the sake of “important work,” I’ve learned two things that aren’t related to anything even remotely important in life:

1) Watching movies through YouTube’s rental service can sometimes be the biggest pain in the ass, as they often don’t like to load or even let you pay for them. It took me four hours to watch The Minis, which in itself already felt like an eternity at an hour and a half.

2) Cable TV movie channels can ruin a man’s life. There are like 50 movie channels now, and they’re always tempting me to start watching another movie right after the one I just finished, and I already have such weak will, so I sometimes end up getting sucked into other movies that I’ve seen a thousand times before.

That’s how I ended up watching The Naked Gun the other day, and I said, “F*ck it, I’m going to write about the baseball scene, because it might be one of the best sports scenes ever made, in a movie that has nothing to do with sports or not.” Like I needed an excuse, but there you have it.

Before we get into the balls and strikes, the Naked Gun franchise has a solid relationship with the sports world, from OJ Simpson playing Detective Nordberg (in a time when Simpson was so popular in America that he could have been The Terminator) to Mary Lou Retton playing herself at the Academy Awards in The Naked Gun 33 1/3. Needless to say, the Zucker brothers, as well as Jim Abrahams and Pat Proft, were fantastic at writing sports into their parodies, which is a far cry from today’s problem, in that “parody” writers simply don’t know how to writer parody.

(Seriously, it’s a strange, awful fascination that I have that makes me watch these terrible films of the SeltzBerg era, like Epic Movie and Date Movie whenever they’re on TV, as I just sit there asking, “What the f*ck is this sh*t?” over and over. I watched Vampires Suck on FX the other night and wanted to break everything in my house. Meanwhile, the Zuckers traded in their comedy for political craziness, so the parody well is dried up. I may vow to spend the rest of my life writing parody movies, so if you’re a producer with endless piles of cash, give me a call. We’ll make magic.)

Anyway, back to the baseball shizz that we all came here for. When I saw this movie for the first time when I was 9 or 10 years old, the one scene that made me laugh harder than any movie scene I’d witnessed in my life to that point was the tiger attacking the guy sliding into second base and the outfielder’s head popping off at the wall.

And if you’re a baseball fan and you don’t find a great deal of joyous irony in Cowboy Joe West being ejected from a baseball game, then you may need to check your pulse and research some microfiche newspapers from previous years to look up articles about car crashes involving whatever you drive, because you might be dead.

Obviously, there’s no finer moment than Frank Drebin butchering the National Anthem as opera singer Enrico Palazzo, because it is possibly the funniest scene ever recorded for a feature film. I’d probably throw it up there with the Anchorman battle scene and Rex Kramer: Danger Seeker, but I’d gladly open this up for debate, because there’s clearly a lot of funny crap out there that I’m not thinking of off the top of my head right now.

Finally, the ending is a sweet mix of romance and comedy, with Frank winning Jane’s heart, despite the fact that she’s been brainwashed by Vincent Ludwig and instructed to kill Frank, with his endearing words helping everyone in Dodgers stadium overcome their personal differences. It’s also great because you get to watch OJ Simpson be violently hurt, and while that was just funny back in 1998, it’s f*cking hilarious now.

That’s all for today, folks. Get ready to enjoy some entertaining free fights and whatnot and have yourselves a fun weekend. You know, after you read whatever else we’re posting today.