Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Lighthearted Mental Sewerage: A Schadenfreude Milkshake in the Ice Cream Parlor of Life

It's Dissecting Unintentionally Hilarious Movie Time! Today's Subject: Fever Pitch

Gambling. A relatively harmless vice for some, for others, a soul-draining addiction that can rob you of your money, dignity, and life...until you get on a hot streak and win it all back, then it's OK!

Incredibly, this ridiculous statement appears to be the lesson of the 1985 cinematic colostomy bag, Fever Pitch.

This "movie" stars a grimacing Ryan O'Neal as a journalist who, in the course of research of his gambling article, blows everything he has and then some in the course of what appears to be minutes. In fact, he goes downhill so rapidly one has to wonder if his journalism was just an excuse to go on a binge.

He soon becomes indebted into the world's most incompetent bookie, who refuses to kill him because he should "live...and suffer", but then doesn't do anything else to encourage him to pay off his debts. No kneecapping, smacks with a hammer, or beating with a bag of oranges. No, he's counting on Ryan's existential anguish to be enough incentive.

This film also stars a pre-7th Heaven Catherine Hicks as a showgirl who talks in soliloquies from mid-thirties serials, and Thomas Dolby does the soundtrack. Don't know how he got roped into that. They must've blinded him with...sorry.

Ryan's journey, such that it is, takes him to Gamblers Anonymous where there's a movie-stealing performance from the world's bitterest eight-year-old kid. "My dad said he would stop gambling...LIES! ALL LIES!!! I HATE my father...and one day I'M GOING TO KILL HIM!"


Other atrocities include pre-school level special effects (the *ahem* "knife" going through Ryan's hand) and the absolute contempt for its target audience (degenerate gamblers who love lousy movies, I guess) by explaining gambling rules during the movie as if a gambler wouldn't know them already. Yes, I know what a parlay is. Schmucks.

The first paragraph gives away the ridiculous ending, but suffice it to say that no one learns anything and these execrable people go away happy, which is too bad.

Still, I'd like to know how that kid turned out.


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