' ' Cinema Romantico: Pitch Meeting: Flagrant Two

Friday, July 22, 2022

Pitch Meeting: Flagrant Two

Last week it was announced the Gonzaga and Michigan State men’s college basketball teams will play a game this Veteran’s Day on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln at North Island in Coronado, California. This occasional event first took place in 2011 when Michigan State played North Carolina on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, a game attended by then-President Barack Obama. On Twitter, Ryan Nanni noted that had such games been around in the 90s, Hollywood would have undoubtedly sculpted an action movie blockbuster around it, going so far as to suggest a couple stars and a possible title – “Flagrant Two.” I like where Nanni’s head is at, you don’t need me to tell you that, but I also don’t understand why this has to be a pipe dream. This is it, this is our chance to revive the 80s-styled tentpole. John McTiernan has been out of prison and off house arrest for tax evasion for several years and this is the project to get him back in the directing game. He did his time, and so did Wesley Snipes, who we will cast as the President in “Flagrant Two” (I’m pilfering Nanni’s title because I’m bad with titles) when Russian terrorists (actors to be named later) swoop in aboard the USS Rutherford B. Hayes and take both POTUS and the two competing basketball teams hostage, triggering a 1980s/90s action movie blockbuster in 2022. 

Our cast:

Carl Weathers. At 74 years old, it’s high time we provide Weathers his deserved action movie swan song. And because he is but one year younger than just-retired Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski why not have Weathers play about-to-retire Georgia Tech coach Reginald Kerns who also happens to be a graduate of the Naval Academy, hence his coaching nickname The Admiral (a la David Robinson). In reality, however, Kerns never came close to achieving such a Naval rank, a fact which gnaws at and embarrasses him. But now, with the USS Rutherford B. Hayes under siege, Coach Kerns becomes the carrier’s only hope, finally proving he has the stuff of which Admirals are made, taking the terrorists on one-by-one in escalating scenes of non-CGI derring-do and saving the day. 

Sam Rockwell. Opposing University of Kentucky coach Joel Hatch is lauded in the media as a Leader of Men, a myth he helps perpetuate, even as those in the biz know him to be a sleaze ball. His ruse is outed when the hostages are taken and he fails to Lead any men at all, functioning as hapless comic relief to Kerns. But at a crucial moment, he rises to the occasion when Kerns implores him to ensnare the terrorists in his vaunted 2-1-2 3/4 court press.

Kevin Dunn. Head referee Dave Davis proves the inside man for the Russian terrorists, giving Kerns an undeserved technical foul as a signal. “All of America thinks I’m on the take every time I make a call,” declares a fed-up Davis. “Well, this time you can tell America they’re right.”

James Vincent Meredith. To avoid a defamation suit from the National Association of Sports Officials, we will have Meredith play Marcus Grant, another ref on Davis’s crew who refuses to accept his colleague’s treason and fights back. “That was always your problem, Marcus,” Davis intones at the climactic moment, referring to their contrasting officiating styles. “You never knew when someone should be tossed.” At which point Marcus picks up Davis and tosses him off the carrier deck and into the ocean. 

Dylan Baker. A frequent narrator of audio books who was born in Syracuse, Baker has the necessary credentials to take the role of the ESPN play-by-play man who finds himself broadcasting the Rutherford B. Hayes takeover to the outside world.

Matt Malloy. The ex-Napoleonic Duquesne coach turned ESPN color commentator Gus Schmerpel who finds himself woefully out of his depth attempting to analyze and explain geopolitics.  

Zoë Kravtiz. Despite winning the women’s NCAA basketball championship at Temple University in just her second year as coach, Rosanna Kerns toils in the shadow of her legendary father, dismissed in the game’s pre-show by the idiotic Schmerpel as “merely the second brightest bulb in the Kerns barn.” But when she is taken hostage along with the respective teams, she cuts through their bickering and selfishness to unite them in opposition to their hostage-takers, proving a woman can coach up dudes as well as any man.

Rokas Jokubaitis. The starting point guard on the Lithuanian national team will play the starting point guard on our made-up Kentucky team who all the players keep accusing of being Russian. “I keep telling you, I’m Lithuanian!” he hollers. “I hate these guys even more than you do!”

Michael Shannon. What, you though the chief Nick Prigge Player wouldn’t get in here somehow? Shannon will play a barista on the ship’s Starbucks who becomes a combination of Steven Seagal in “Under Siege,” Michael Richards in “Airheads,” and De'voreaux White in “Die Hard.” 

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