The fall movie season has always been an intriguing one to me. Often, this is when the best films of the year are released, but then they all get shoehorned into a commercial and artistic rat race, trying to hold their own at the box office while earning their directors critical praise and shiny golden statues. And ultimately, every film is really jostling to be that one that we all look back upon in 5 years and go, “oh right, that movie won Best Picture that year.” In this way it feels very much like an NFL season, where around now we start thinking, “yeah, that team is fun to watch. But are they built for the Super Bowl?”
So to take it one step further, if we found ourselves in an alternate universe where we had to ascribe certain fall movies their own NFL team spirit animal, which would they be? Here’s a stab.
Interstellar – The Denver Broncos
The Broncos, like Christopher Nolan’s space thriller, were the perceived critical darlings with enough commercial crossover to find ubiquitous dominance on their way to postseason glory. And although for a while it seemed both had a level of rarified artistry that might guide them to statuesque glory, recent weeks have begun to reveal inherent flaws in their composition. While having a smooth talking, southern gentleman like Manning or McConaughey as your face of franchise will definitely put butts in seats, it remains to be seen if this heroic archetype can overcome plot or defense issues. Were these projects just too ambitious? Can you win an Oscar with Matthew McConaughey not in Texas, but in space? Can you win the Super Bowl with Peyton Manning having to play in the snow in January? Either way, it will be entertaining to behold, and you should probably just get drunk and tune in.
Mockingjay – Part 1 – Green Bay Packers
I had to dig deep into the throes of my IMDB Pro membership, but I was finally able to uncover the fact there is a new installment of the Hunger Games coming out. Weird marketing strategy, because I can’t recall seeing any sort of promotional material for this movie, similar to how I don’t feel like I see Aaron Rodgers anywhere on television. But it’s November, and the little movie that came crawling out of obscurity, Mockingjay – Part 1, is crushing the box office while Aaron Rodgers and his ragtag band from Green Bay are unleashing their own attack on NFL coordinators. Watching Rodgers play quarterback right now is kind of like watching Katniss race through a thicket to unleash an arrow that hits its target with a level of marksmanship only possible through Hollywood special effects. Plus, he has the squishy John Kuhn, who serves as his very own Peeta. When the Packers come into town, can’t you just see them getting off the team bus to the tune of Rue’s four note whistle?
The Skeleton Twins – Washington Redskins
Aside from the fact that the Redskins as an organization are basically an ongoing SNL skit at this point, they could also stand to take heed from the thematic focus of The Skeleton Twins. Kristen Wiig’s Maggie and Bill Hader’s Milo are deeply troubled siblings whose only chances at happiness and redemption rely on putting their deep-seeded differences behind them. Allow me to introduce RGIII and Jay Gruden, who are scripting their own melancholy dramedy this year. The sniping at each other in the media, whining about criticism of their performances, it all rings publicly as scared, confused individuals grasping onto what they can as the season slips away. The trouble is, the only dudebro with the charming effervescence to help these two find common ground plays tight end for the Patriots. I have a feeling this story is going to end with RGIII at the bottom of the free agent quarterback pool, and the only team that might pull a Milo to jump in and rescue him could be…
Horrible Bosses 2 – The Oakland Raiders
This one speaks for itself. The Raiders are the one NFL franchise that may stand to improve if run by comical Hollywood villains. Instead they’re just run by a creepy Tim Burton villain, who has them housed in a dilapidated concrete prison, sporting a 1-10 record, with the team employing their fifth head coach in the last six years. The Raiders under Mark Davis are like the confusing sequel to the years of his father’s ownership, an original that was dotted with moments of ingenuity but ultimately kind of a laughing stock by the end. And now we have a second incarnation. Not even Randy Moss, Kevin Spacey, or any other forced cameo will make this shit watchable.
Fury – New England Patriots