' ' Cinema Romantico: Old Movies That Could Have Streamed After the Super Bowl

Monday, February 12, 2024

Old Movies That Could Have Streamed After the Super Bowl

Just as the importance of the Super Bowl halftime show (is Halftime Show capitalized?) has waxed and waned over the years, so too has the importance of the post-Super Bowl time slot. When I was growing up, the former was extraneous, background noise for bathroom breaks and loading up on more pulled pork while the latter was of great consequence, utilized by whatever network was airing the big football game that year to launch a new show, like “Airwolf” in 1982 on CBS or “The Wonder Years” in 1988 on ABC, or to try and take an already big show higher, like NBC did for “Friends” in 1996, or Fox did for “Malcolm in the Middle” in 2002. Now, though, the pendulum has swung the other way. The Super Bowl Halftime Show (?) has become a showcase event for music’s biggest and the lead-out Super Bowl show has become a half-hearted shrug. This year CBS chose to premiere something called “Tracker,” which sounds like “Poker Face” if Natasha Lyonne was a survivalist. No thanks.

This no doubt stems at least in part from the growing irrelevance of broadcast TV, mostly just existing these days for live sports, not what comes after the live sports. And why stick around for “Tracker” when you could just, like, go stream that new “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” show, or the new last season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” or “The Equalizer 3” on Netflix. Speaking of Netflix, in 2018 the streaming company tried to an invent a whole new Super Bowl lead-out move by surprise premiering “Cloverfield Paradox.” It did not draw as many viewers as Netflix might have guessed, though, and nobody has attempted to replicate their move again. And though I could pitch some brand-new movie ideas for the post-Super Bowl future, I found myself thinking more about the past, and what movies released the same year as certain Super Bowls might have worked as mythical streaming lead-outs. 

Old Movies That Could Have Streamed After the Super Bowl

Big Trouble in Little China. 1986. The 80s were weird, man, and I like thinking of the people still somewhat sentient after the Chicago Bears’ famous demolition of the New England Patriots, seeing John Carpenter’s (eventual) cult classic, and wondering if they are hallucinating. And if this movie is a little, shall we say, much for broadcast TV, then we will just substitute Willard Hyuck’s “Howard the Duck.”

Who’s Harry Crumb? 1989. This was the John Candy Super Bowl, as in, just before San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana led this team on their exalted game-winning 92-yard drive, he deflated tension in the huddle by pointing out comedy legend John Candy in the stands. But what if Candy being there was not just a coincidence? What if it was a psyop (sorry), foreshadowing NBC airing Candy’s detective comedy at game’s end, maybe giving it the audience it deserved (from a certain point of view) all along?

The Bonfire of the Vanities. 1990. The San Francisco 49ers beating the Denver Broncos 55-10 remains the biggest blowout in Super Bowl history. Brian De Palma’s notorious bomb from the same year would have been the perfect lead-out, watch 20 minutes and fall asleep, the way it was meant to be seen.

A Night at the Roxbury. 1998. Never mind that Super Bowl XXXII was on NBC and this SNL Studios production could have been an impeccable tie-in, what I’m thinking here is more how the game in which hapless Super Bowl straight man John Elway finally won ended weirdly on an incompletion by Green Bay Packer quarterback Brett Favre that was an injudicious pitch to covered receiver. And how the Butabi brothers dream of a club where the inside is the outside would have fit the mood.

Jurassic Park 3. 2001. There have been a lot of bad super bowls, but Ravens - 34 Giants - 7 gets my vote for worst. Beyond boring, just awful. And if they had premiered the third “Jurassic Park” right after, it would have looked so good in comparison! It would have been a smash!

Along Came Polly. 2004. Only Philip Seymour Hoffman going for broke might have been able to repurpose all that asinine puritanical outrage toward Janet Jackson into after the fact acceptance of the indelicate.

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