Because an upstart of their stature and surprise has never happened before, it would make sense if Florida Gulf Coast University's NCAA Tournament run was hard to figure out. Instead, it's the opposite: strange and amazing and giddy and great and goofily rapped-about as it is, but totally familiar in the sense that it basically seems like the plot of an '80s slobs-versus-snobs comedy, but without the goofy painted VHS box and with a lot more basketball and fewer scenes (so far) of old-looking Canadian-accented teenagers peeking in on showering cheerleaders. Otherwise, though, we're pretty much there.
Which, again, is a good-unto-awesome thing and totally fine, but which seemed worth addressing in greater depth. I spoke with our Sportsflicks columnist and secret FGCU expert Tom Keiser to figure all this out.
Tom Keiser: I had an idea about interviewing Florida Gulf Coast grad Don Carman but I also mentioned it elsewhere.
David Roth: Don Carman the pitcher went there? They didn't start holding classes until long after he'd stopped victimizing the Mets.
Tom: THE Donald J. Carman. (I just made the middle initial up.) He earned a sports psych degree from there after he retired, according to sources.
David: I hope he's helping others. Paying it forward and all. He should open a Sports Visualization practice with Bruce Ruffin; put it on Bravo, bring in Dennis Cook as a saucy receptionist and you're pretty much there. But that is a different type of televised entertainment than we're here to discuss.
David: The conflict for me, is that while the FGCU story really feels like a sort of Meatballs But With Tall Guys situation, the school's only existed for like 15 years. Also, obviously more power to them for being fun and good, but this doesn't really seem totally Hoosiers-y to me. FGCU is not like some jumped-up Jesuit school or whatever. It's FLORIDA.
Tom: And it's literally on a beach. It's as if 1985 Robin Williams inherited a run-down Fort Myers resort on the condition that he had to have a winning college basketball program there within 25 years. Bam, Florida Gulf Coast University. Their first commencement speaker was Patch Adams.
David: And there's some snooty rival looking to turn the school into, like, a liberal arts college centered around the Great Books that forbids beer and sports. "Those are not what college is about," sniffs I don't know let's say Timothy Busfield. And then Robin Williams makes a cokey, mostly ad-libbed speech about fun that involves him doing a poor imitation of a stoned Jimmy Carter.
David: Tears are shed. Beers are bonged. It ends on a freeze-frame of a high-five between Williams, sassy professor Sinbad, and the horny mascot, while a Kenny Loggins song about believing in yourself and having a good time plays.
Tom: Neil Perry still kills himself, but he’s a theatre geek so it doesn’t have as much gravitas in a space grant school.
Tom: Their football team is literally the team from The Best Of Times but older, wiser. "TEST THESE GUYS FOR FLUBBER" becomes Bill Raftery's new catchphrase.
David: This is already better than We Are Marshall, if maybe not quite as funny.
Tom: In the sequel they face Ameritrade millionaire Joe Moglia and the Coastal Carolina football team.
David: OOH, I HATE THOSE SNOBS.
Tom: I will part ways with the franchise for that one, though, as Moglia coached the Omaha Nighthawks and us UFL people got to stick together.
David: I’m trying to think of who could play Andy Enfield. There are so many more gaunt intense bald guys in college basketball than Hollywood.
Tom: Or Vancouver, which would help with production costs. But yeah, and even fewer with the David Letterman gap in their teeth.
David: Maybe get Paul Scheer buffed up, put him in some lift-shoes.
Tom: Joe Piscopo could double as his trainer and play the role of Jim Nantz. Then team up with Papa John to give America free androstenedione.
David: Crafty casting and product placement like that (I assume you're referring to Papa John's Meat n' Synthetic Hormone Lover's pizza) are how you bring this thing in under budget. The sticky issue there is that Robin Williams needs to be in the film, though. If only because he'd be in the actual film if it got made, either in 1985 or today.
David: All gettable. More expensive but maybe equally necessary if we're making it today and not 1985 is an uncredited rewrite by the Hangover dudes to ensure that there's some state-of-the-art gay panic and a role for Ken Jeong.
Tom: Dr. Ken Jeong won't be playing a "traditional" role. Rather, they'll pad the movie by showing his Miller Lite ad over and over. Also, let’s have a montage set to Robert Tepper's "No Easy Way Out" where Enfield teaches his D-III shooting skills to the Milwaukee Bucks, invents some addition to the medical bureaucracy that makes him rich and courts pet shop employee and Maxim model Amanda Marcum.
David: It's like a little bit of that Dane Cook/Jessica Simpson movie in the middle of this one. My only concern at this point is that it would be too good and other people would stop making movies.
Tom: You also have to worry about The Asylum's La Salle movie.
David: Shit, you're right. We can't compete with C. Thomas Howell's star power.
Tom: I had Carl Weathers playing Coach Giannini, but they could cast Howell as Tyrone Garland.
David: I sense he still has the Soul Man makeup. I am alarmingly certain that he's keen to break it back out.