Thursday, April 9, 2009

SEC Football as Tom Hanks movies

So I'm a few New Belgium Mighty Arrows into the Final Four games Saturday night and start thumbing through the guide during a commercial break when I stumbled across three Tom Hanks movies on at the same time. While the beer certainly didn't live up the standards set by its Fat Tire brethren, it did help inspire this ridiculous post.

So, here they are, without further ado, all 12 SEC football teams as Tom Hanks movies. Got better suggestions? Leave ‘em in the comments.

Alabama: Turner & Hooch
Detective Scott Turner is a straight laced, no frills kind of detective. Nick Saban is a no-nonsense, no frills kind of coach – never a hair out of place in his feathery bangs. Between his owner dying and pairing up with Turner, Hooch was a mess. He drooled everywhere, tore things up, and basically a lost cause. Between the Bear dying and before hiring Saban, Alabama was much the same way. Sure they would do well every now and then, but they had to cheat to do it. They bought a national title in the early 90s, then suffered through several ignominious years before hiring Saban.

Arkansas: Catch Me If You Can
In his early days, Frank Abagnale imitated an airline pilot, a teacher’s assistant, a doctor, and an attorney. When things took a turn for the worse, he’d disappear in the night and move on to his next gig. Finally, after getting busted, he aligned himself with Hanks’ Carl Hanratty and began improving national fraud defense. Bobby Petrino is currently at his 12th coaching spot since entering the business in 1983. He’s been the head coach of 3 different teams in the last 5 years and has flirted with several others. He seems to have found a niche in Fayetteville though and the Hogs have a chance to be much improved from last season.

Auburn: Apollo 13
Before takeoff, everyone was excited about Apollo 13’s mission to the moon. Last season was supposed to be a good one for Auburn. A new high-flying offense was in place, the defense returned 6 of its starting back 7, and the Tigers were ranked as high as #10 in the preseason. Needless to say, much-like the ill-fated Apollo 13 lunar mission, Auburn’s season encountered problem after problem. There was bickering amongst staff before finally crashing roughly back to earth at the end. The major difference being that Jim Lovell was congratulated for his leadership in the “successful failure” that was Apollo 13; Tommy Tuberville was inexplicably shown the door.

Florida: Sleepless in Seattle
After Sam Baldwin's wife died, he looked lost and clueless, and didn't know who to turn to. He packs up and moves out west and begins dating a girl that his son can't stand. He finally meets the one he's meant to be with at the end and live happily ever after. After Spurrier left Florida, the Gators looked lost and clueless, seeking solace in the arms of Ron Zook, who the Gator Nation hated from the beginning. Now, they've found Urban Meyer and have won 2 titles in 3 years and will be favored to win it all next year.

Georgia: Bonfire of the Vanities
Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities is a fantastic novel that was a bestseller and huge success. Unfortunately, despite a All-Star cast with Hanks, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Melanie Griffith, etc., the movie version pretty much sucked. When you read about Georgia’s team, the star power was obvious – Stafford, Moreno, Green, etc. Expectations were very high, including a preseason #1 ranking. Then, much like BotV, when you watched it on TV, you realize it’s a little disappointing on screen.

Kentucky: Saving Private Ryan
The beginning of Saving Private Ryan – the storming of the beaches at Normandy – is absolutely phenomenal. It’s beautifully crafted cinematography at its peak. Once the movie settles in though, it’s really not that different from every other war movie ever filmed. There’s a little bit of a twist at the end of the movie to tie it all together. The last two seasons, Kentucky has started out as well as possible: 5-0 and 4-0. Once the seasons settled in, the ‘Cats were average at best, finishing only 7-5 and 6-5. The bowl victories were nice surprises to wrap up the seasons.

LSU: The Man with One Red Shoe
Richard Drew is just an average joe who - due to circumstances beyond his control - looks goofy as he wears mismatched shoes on a flight. He is identified as a CIA target, and though he remains completely oblivious to everything around him, it all works out for him in the end. Les Miles always looks goofy wearing the world's largest hat and was certainly an average joe at Oklahoma State - 28-21 overall, 16-16 in the Big 12. And things have certainly worked out well for Miles so far, despite a seemingly oblivious approach to coaching.

Mississippi State: You’ve Got Mail
While I'm not a fan of either Sleepless in Seattle or You've Got Mail, I know a cheap knock off when I see one. The producers of You've Got Mail were trying to cash in on the chemistry that Hanks and Meg Ryan had in Sleepless in Seattle, but the result just wasn't as good. Same thing in Starkville. Hoping to recreate some of the recent magic in Gainesville, the Bulldogs hired away Dan Mullen from Meyer's staff, and while the results have yet to be seen, it's hard to imagine the end result being anything less than a poor attempt at recreating UF's offense.

Ole Miss: That Thing You Do!
Mr. White takes a group of talented musicians with no experience outside the town of Erie, PA, and molds them into the No. 1 rock band in the country. Houston Nutt, stepped into Oxford and took a group of talented kids who had never been shown "how to win" and recorded a 9-4 season and a Cotton Bowl victory. The major difference being that The Wonders broke up at the end of the movie, while Nutt seems to have the Rebels in place to continue their success.

South Carolina: Volunteers
Lawrence Whatley Bourne III had it all. He was a spoiled rich kid leading a pampered life until he had to join the Peace Corps to escape his creditors. Steve Spurrier had it all. He’d won a National championship as the coach of his alma mater, had the Gators as one of the top programs in the entire country, and a fun punching bag in Phil Fulmer. He got greedy, left for the NFL, and when that didn’t work out, sought refuge in Columbia where – so far – has done more to tarnish his legacy than build upon it.

Tennessee: The Terminal
What? You were expecting Volunteers? Think about it… Viktor Navorski can’t go back to whence he came as a war broke out. So he’s stuck in a foreign land, has trouble communicating with people, garners strange looks from people, and eventually makes some important friends in the airport. That’s pretty much the Lane Kiffin experience. He can’t go back to the NFL because he angered Al Davis, he’s become a one-man sideshow that it’s hard not to stop and stare at, he's found it very difficult to communicate with his peers, but he did surround himself with a knowledgeable staff.

Vanderbilt: Big
All Josh Baskin wanted to be was big. He couldn’t get the girl or ride the roller coaster, so Zoltar granted him his wish. He grew up, moved to New York and got to play with the big boys, before wishing to be a boy again. After years of wishing they were big, the Commodores finally broke through last year with their first bowl appearance since 1982. Unfortunately, like Josh Baskin’s appearance as an adult, Vandy’s was a ruse and one that won’t last, but one that made for good tv while it did.

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