sportsflicks division III

Sportsflicks: “Division III: Football’s Finest,” or Vice Shports

This post has been retrieved from the Wayback Machine as a tribute to the OGs of The original author of this post is TOM KEISER. Our intention in sharing this content is to honor the spirit and passion with which approached the world of sports, hoping to keep its legacy alive for both fans and readers.

In which Andy Dick says awful things to everyone nearby, but does so on purpose, while movie cameras are running.

Division III football means a great deal to those that are a part of it, just as bigger-time football does to the larger and louder populations that give it pride of place in their lives. Division III ball gives the Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks something to brag about, and it gives the Mount Union Purple Raiders something to brag a little bit less about. Division III is why the greater Philadelphia area can brag about its winning college football team, and why the John Jay College Of Justice has a basketball program, which in turn is the reason why Rutgers-Camden basketball had their only win of the season one year. Division III gave us Lateralpalooza and Sam Mills and perennial Pro Bowl alternate London Fletcher, and is why half the schools you ignored when applying for college had lineman on the covers of their unread brochures. I Googled “DIII football coaches”, and was offered jobs.

All told, Division III sports are a pretty good thing, which is one reason why I first approached Division III: Football’s Finest with some trepidation. Another is that Andy Dick is on the poster, which in some places counts as a hate crime. If all crimes are hate crimes, as libertarians are wont to say, then a photo of Andy Dick making the face he’s making on the Division III poster fits both their description and mine. Netflix reviews were similarly discouraging. “I thought this movie would be funny because Adam Carolla was in it” is neither an endorsement of the film nor the reviewer.

The movie starts off with a somewhat accurate description of the multi-tiered NCAA football structure (if you leave out the FBS/FCS split at the top), then follows it up with a coach dying of shock and/or a heart attack after his team pours a bucket of ice water on him. A joke revolving around the George Allen Gatorade Shower Of Death rumor in a 2011 film is now somehow relevant in 2014, thanks to the recent upsurge in ALS awareness. Adam Carolla, who ironically is a dead ringer for George Allen, lays upon further exposition, explaining that the deceased coach led the Pullham Blue Cocks (you get it) to an unprecedented second victory at the end of the season.

Normally, when faced with a gaping hole in your Division III coaching staff, you either hire from within or let the first person who Googles “DIII football coaches” take over. (For the record, I firmly believe in running the K-Gun, and letting the Gusties defense run all over the place.) But Division III: Football’s Finest is a “slobs versus snobs” comedy, dammit, which means there are some rules to follow; this is a movie that will follow them, and which will determinedly slobber all over your face until it finishes the job. University president Mo Collins hires a really shitty coach to add some razzle and maybe some dazzle to Pullham Blue Cocks football, over a more qualified assistant. Just how shitty is this coach? He is what can only be described as Andy Dick shitty. Adam Carolla, the Vin Scully of the men’s rights set, lets the viewers in on how bad new head coach Rick Vice is, although since he’s Andy Dick we kinda already figured it out.

There is a running joke about how Rick Vice tried to murder his pee-wee team by giving them GHB, which is the least offensive part of his backstory. Coach Vice grew up in several abusive families until a coach by the name of Boo Venal leads him to a relatively better but still horrible life. Venal is the anti-Pepper Rodgers to Vice’s Bizarro-Spurrier, encouraging him to treat everyone like shit, deny his players water, rely heavily on the running game and literally set the team’s facilities on fire. Needless to say, Pepper Rodgers would do none of these things, though Spurrier could burn things. Vice spouts out such Tom Coughlinisms as “If you’re five minutes early, you’re fifteen minutes late,” though his philosophy on using uncomfortable metaphors comes straight from the Ray Rhodes playbook. Rick Vice also has Mike Shanahan’s disdain for the quarterbacking position and the scorched earth micromanagerial style of Jerry Jones. So there’s your Sportsflicks NFC East preview.


Division III: Football’s Finest, believe it or not, is a passion project for both Andy Dick and co-star/director Marshall Cook, both of whom co-wrote the screenplay with Paul Henderson, who plays the house-framed line coach. Cook was a quarterback at Division III Occidental College, where Jack Kemp roomed with Jim Mora the Elder, and where some guy named Barry went as an undergrad; one of Cook’s first short films, Division III, is pretty much the dry run for whatever this is, and featured Dick creating his now-legendary Rick Vice character. No fewer than five MadTV veterans appear in Division III: Football’s Finest, and Oscar-nominee Sally Kirkland is also in it. This means that the ratio of Oscar-nominees to MadTV veterans is approximately the inverse of that of Pulp Fiction.

Marshall Cook is Mitch DePrima, an underachieving backup who steps up and leads his team to a winning season in the moments when he’s not riding the bench or directing the freaking movie. He woos the trainer (Alison Haislip), gets caught with another girl at a party, and so slobs-versus-snobsily on. Mitch’s roommate, who is described by Netflix’s closed captions as “Male #3” but is nominally called Allen, is played by one-time American Idol finalist Kevin Covais. Allen gets on the team because his father (the late Jay Leggett) owns Schwartz Shports, the team’s post-fire outfitter. The difference between shports and sporps is largely academic, but Cook and his producers can expect to see The Classical in court. Defensive coordinator Roy Goodwyn, perhaps the most sympathetic character in the movie, is played by Michael Jace, who would later murder his wife.

Andy Dick is almost legitimately, um, good? in Division III: Football’s Finest. Rick Vice is a somewhat meaty character once you look past his ceaseless, tiresome/tired racist and homophobic slurs, and his snorting of whey protein. Andy Dick is a B who makes fun of Ls, Gs, Ts and Qs, and most of how he does that is truly offensive, but if you look at it at a certain angle, with Vaseline smeared on your eyeglasses and your eyes closed, you could almost see this airing on LOGO, as some sort of re-appropriated queer performance piece. Anyone seeking to do that sort of repurposing would probably have to edit the banter between Carolla and stereotypically mincing color man Will Sasso, which features a bunch of “I bet you like it under center” jokes for the “equal opportunity offender, but mostly offending gays” set.

The most humorous part of the film, by far, is Coach Vice’s halftime speech at the big game. He has instilled so much fear into his players that they are afraid he will literally lose his shit. After the assistant “goes 9/11” — the players’ words, not mine, and also a callback to an ethnic slur from Vice about the kicker who is of French/Irish descent — on the team, Rick Vice basically says “don’t end up like me,” which successfully lights a fire under the team’s asses. Of course they win the game, and of course the tiny roommate/male cheerleader/American Idol finalist comes through in the clutch. It’s all we can ask for from a film which asks so damn much from us.

Division III: Football’s Finest almost pulls off the impossible, taking characters you want to throw off a bridge and making them about as likeable and sympathetic as they’re ever going to get. It is also indisputably one of the most offensive movies I have ever seen, and I’ve watched Legally Blonde. Not all of it is my cup of tea, obviously, but I highly recommend it to MRAs, guys who think “politically incorrect” is code for “racist” and nod approvingly, and self-hating gays. That is, I recommend it to its intended audience.

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