Rockin’ Football

Kyle Smith

My God, how I love football. And how I love Northwestern football, which over the past four years has roughly traced the career path of one of my favorite actors, David Strathairn. You can see him now in Good Night, and Good Luck.

But I’m afraid he’s not relevant enough, nor do I feel like describing him, so instead I’m going to talk about how NU football parallels the recent career of actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

I am, clearly, running out of ideas.

1996: The Rock comes out. This movie fucking rules. NU wins their second straight Big Ten championship. The Rock, the person, has nothing to do with this. Though I’m sure The Rock on NU’s campus was painted many times. Incidentally, I purchased a pair of purple Adidas Sambas around this time.

2000: NU has an 8-4 season, is a Big Ten co-champion and somehow finds itself playing against Nebraska in the Alamo Bowl. This is not all that different from WWE star The Rock making his acting debut with a minor role in The Mummy Returns- which didn’t come out until 2001, and was one of those movies that, curiously, made a lot of money but everybody hated (see Batman & Robin and Godzilla).

2001-02: The Rock films and stars in The Scorpion King. NU goes 4-7 and 3-9. People are generally upset on all counts.

2003: The Rundown comes out, finally capitalizing on The Rock’s considerable charisma and gentle sense of humor. NU pieces together a 6-6 season and squeezes into a bowl game in Detroit, only the fourth in the school’s history. (The Rundown was The Rock’s fourth film role? Coincidence? Creepy!)

2004: In the modest hit Walking Tall, Rock is a citizen badass who wallops people with a 2-by-4. NU goes 6-6 again. I see no real correlation.

2005: NU beats the living shit out of a solid Michigan State team in Lansing. That same weekend, The Rock stars in Doom, an adaptation of a video game that was invented in- 1993.

The above simply proves that I irrationally adore both The Rock and NU football to the point that I’m willing to become a raging, incoherent drunk in hopes of aspiring to celebrate their awesomeness. For years my hoarse, chest-painting antics have been relatively futile; but it’s telling that I never blacked out on Carlo Rossi because the ‘Cats sucked. Love is blind, and my love for the ‘Cats is a love so true I drink to compromise my vision.

This is the masochistic mentality that pervades the South Siders who are flipping their collective shit now that the White Sox have won the World Series; fairweather Cubs fans have ignored the Sox fans’ dignified suffering for nearly a century and are now dismissing their hard-earned success.

I understand that writing about drinking is a stupid, taboo and unoriginal topic for a college newspaper, so let me make it clear I have no pretensions about being a hard-partying alcoholic. I have, and will continue, to pass up Manhattans for Mekas, open bars for Godard and Sex on the Beaches for 9 Songs.

I’ve seen precisely three movies in my life while I was drunk – Team America: World Police, Kung Fu Hustle and Doom. The first two I had seen previously in a clear state of mind, and thought they were terrific. Doom just fucking ruled. I understand that the movie was probably fairly awful, as the 100-minute opus seemed to last about 15 minutes. But as I forced my synapses to fire with overarching ideas about the film, lest they be swashbuckled by Captain Morgan, I was able to sense the movie’s palpable Alien-derived claustrophobia and immediate concern with action. People were dying before I knew the name of the composer.

The Rock is a force, an immensely likable and fairly competent actor. When we arrived at the theater, a cop nearly kicked us out for being lewd, a judgment call he made based solely on my friend swinging the door open like he was The Rock. Aside from that episode, the only other time we acted inappropriately was at the end of the film when the camera went to first person – just like in the game, replete with a reloading gun in the foreground. This is a bravado sequence on par with the opening of Saving Private Ryan: It literalizes the video game’s signature look without being contrived. At least that’s how it seemed to me. I think I always wanted that Super Mario Bros. movie to be a side-scrolling film where Bob Hoskins jumped on mushrooms.

This university, and this town, could always use a little more good-natured debauchery that can be conveniently excused by a football game. So wake up Saturday, get throttled, and go see NU beat Michigan. Remember: The Rock is on our side.4

Communication senior Kyle Smith is the PLAY film columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]