Furry Vengeance

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BASEketball has never received a lot of love. It came and went from theaters in a flash, and it's always been in the shadow of Matt Stone and Trey Parker's more popular works like South Park or the Book of Mormon. But I've always had a soft spot for it. I can forgive it for it's flaws because I think that when it works it really works.

For example, there is a scene in BASEketball where one of the main characters is feeling utterly demoralized so he decides to watch a tape of the come from behind home team victory that was his happiest childhood memory. The tape starts, and he begins to cheer up... and then he discovers that the game has been taped over. Not only has it been taped over, it's been taped over by a TV special called "When Roadkill Attacks" which is just footage of cars driving down the highway while stuffed animals bounce off their windshields. The premise of that scene is funny but the execution is what cinches it for me. I love how cheap "When Roadkill Attacks" looks, I love how much the Trey Parker oversells his reaction, I love how silly the scene is even though it's supposed to be the emotional low point of the movie. If that scene doesn't crack you up - well, then BASEketball isn't for you. But even thinking of "When Roadkill Attacks" still makes me smile.

Now, for the most part Furry Vengeance and BASEketball aren't that very similar. They're both broad comedies, but Furry Vengeance was aimed at kids while BASEketball was aimed at teenagers. One is about a real estate developer who is fighting a horde of angry woodland animals that don't want him to build his new subdivision on top of their forest and the other is about goofs who are trying to invent a new sport. But if you saw the scene in Furry Vengeance where Brendan Frasier has to pretend to be in a fistfight with a raccoon puppet you would immediately know why I connected this movie to BASEketball. That scene was basically a slow motion re-enactment of "When Roadkill Attacks", except it replaced a car's windshield with the sloping forehead of the neanderthal from Encino Man.

(Which is another dumb comedy that I have an unfortunate amount of admiration for, but that's an essay for another time.)

A lot of people aren't going to like Furry Vengeance. I'm not going to argue with them. It looks cheap, it's the sort of lazily written movie that substitutes a man getting hit in the nuts for actual jokes, and it's got an Eco-friendly message which is (possibly) well intentioned but (definitely) asinine. But here's the thing: I love watching people wrestle stuffed animals so, so much. What am I supposed to, not have joy in my life just because a movie is dumb and slightly crass and totally insulting? Getouttaheah!

"Joy" might sound like a strong word to use in this context. After all, I am not blind to this movie's faults. The plot is formulaic and the kid who plays Brendan Frasier's son is irritating. As my review of Mousehunt makes clear I generally think the "dumb man is outsmarted by an unusually intelligent animal" genre is kind of lame and this isn't even a particularly good entry into that canon - the animals are mostly CGI and they look stiff, like GIFs that somehow escaped the internet. However, I will not remember those details in a week. Those parts of Furry Vengeance carry so little weight I might as well have never seen them at all. But the scene where Frasier is sprayed by a skunk, and then he stares right into the center of that skunk's butt and angrily bellows "THANK YOU SIR CAN I HAVE ANOTHER" - well, that scene is going to live forever in my mind. And the word I would associate with that scene is "joyous."

Some films are meant to be food for the soul. Their goal is to nourish your mind and enrich your spirit. Films like Furry Vengeance and BASEketball are not food. They are recreational drugs. Watching them won't make you a better person but they'll cheer you up. You should be careful when you watch them - you have to be in the right mood to appreciate what they're doing. It's not always a good idea to talk about how much you love them in public because people might judge you. But if you do it right - if you watch them when you're feeling a bit down, and when your brain is kind of tired, and when no one's looking - well, then a film like this will hit the spot so good that you'll below "THANK YOU SIR CAN I HAVE ANOTHER" right at your TV.

Winner: Me

Furry Vengeance on IMDB