Brian’s Song (1971), or TV Movies Are Movies Too!!!

15 06 2009

Why do guys cry at sad sports movies? Is it because sports fans project a little of their egos and their personality traits onto those genetically superior athletes, so when one of those athletes feels vulnerable, they feel vulnerable as well? They never seem to cry at any other movies. While watching the scene in Platoon when Willem Dafoe is being gunned down in his prime by Tom Berenger, I have never seen a man well up or get emotional, and that’s emotional! I have never seen a man get upset at Terms of Endearment, and that movie is specifically designed to illicit emotional responses!!! Perhaps it’s the feeling of watching a hero be defeated by something greater than him, something greater than all of us, or something. Because when it comes to Brian’s Song, men cry. A lot. I honestly don’t see where all this emotion is coming from if you can’t even cry at Schindler’s List, considering that these characters are just FOOTBALL PLAYERS and not REAL HEROES!!!

If you like football, then you already know all about this. Basically, Brian Piccolo, some player for some team in the 70s, is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Gale Sayers, some other football player, befriends him and helps him through the difficult process of having cancer. Gale is black and Brian is white, and despite their differences, they end up being great friends, and even move in together as roommates. But as Brian’s cancer gets worse and Gale is injured doing football stuff, the two will need to rely on each other to get through the difficult times ahead of them.

Things are rough all over for the characters in Brian’s Song. It’s the male equivalent to Terms of Endearment. There’s all kinds of male bonding, someone gets sick, more male bonding, and then a SHOCKER EMOTIONAL ENDING that leaves everyone devastated. It’s impressive for a made-for-TV movie, I’ll say that. With the big name actors and the not-embarrassing level of skill involved in the production I almost forgot that this was a TV-level film.

I can’t believe they got Billy Dee Williams and James Caan to play Gale Sayers and Brian Piccolo respectively. Two of the bigger names in the early 70s, and they actually got ’em! That’s where the TV industry was back then, though. Imagine Brad Pitt starring as Michael Vick in Puppy Killer: The True Story of Michael Vick. Not only would it be very offensive, but that would NEVER happen nowadays. It was quite the coup, and, for their part, they really deliver on their star power. It can be a little emotional at times, with the whole cancer thing going on, and these two stars really earn their money.

I can’t really add a lot of insight to this one, I’m afraid, so I might let this one go as is. Sports movies are my kryptonite, and no matter how often I think I can take something out of it, I find that I can no more gleam anything of import out of a sports movie than I can squeeze blood out of a DVD. So I leave you with the facts: Brian’s Song is a macho tearjerker that was produced fairly well for a movie made for television. It stars two young hotshots at their prime, and it’s neat to see them so youthful and spry. Other than that, there’s no lesson to be learned, nothing extraordinary to discuss, and that is a shame, because after all the hype I got about this “extraordinary film”, I wanted something a little more inspiring or powerful or whatever. Either way, I’m done with this athletic endeavor, and I’ll try not to do anything sports-oriented again, because I fucking hate sports and I can’t talk about sports because they hold less than ZERO interest for me. Brian’s Song gets 6 weepy grown men out of 10 from me.

Tomorrow, we get down to brass tacks for something not sports related! Come back then, where I’ll watch Eric Young’s Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula review!!! Until then!!!



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