Ken Thomas, the prized football-player for Carlton University, has sprained his knee. Ken's sweetie, Lucille, has made him promise not to play in the final game of the season against State University, thus making him a pariah among his classmates. (As one of Over the Goal's characters sagely observes, "There's always a woman at the bottom of every man's troubles." Ain't it the truth.) But once she learns that a deceased wealthy alum has left his entire fortune to Carlton if they win that very game, she gives Ken the OK -- money for the school being more important than him risking a crippling injury.
|"OK boys, I want you to|
go out there and kick
the crap out of the guy who
wrote this movie."
hurts his knee again and is knocked out. (The well-trained team doctor slaps him back to consciousness.) Hero that he is, Ken still kicks the winning goal, and to hell with his crumbling knee or any future dementia -- the school gets the dead guy's dough.
You have to wonder what Jack Warner thought when viewing Over the
|William Hopper, the only|
actor who could double as
Then there's Johnnie Davis as the team's waterboy Tiny Waldron. Obnoxious as a broken
|"Hey coach, why is the audience|
running away from me when I sing?"
Davis also figures in Over the Goal's primary subplot. Caught in a minor infraction of school rules, the Carlton seniors order Tiny and his beanie-wearing freshman pals to steal State University's mascot, a black bear who's locked up in a cage the size of your average studio apartment bathroom. (Animal abuse = plenty of laffs.) To do so, they need the help of the bear's former keeper, William, who demands a raccoon coat as payment. This entire
|Eddie Anderson waits for|
Jack Benny's call so he can
get the heck out of movies
like Over the Goal.
|Hattie's sincerity didn't|
|You'd smile, too, if you got|
top-billing for ten lines of
|The Carlton cuties pretend to|
enjoy Johnnie Davis licking
an ice cream cone.
Culturally, the most fascinating part of Over the Goal is how well-dressed college student extras are. The guys wear jackets, ties and dressy-trousers, the girls are nicely-turned out in blouses and skirts pressed to within an inch of their lives. The only sign of trouble is when the kids hold a well-behaved protest march begging Ken to play in the big game. In fact, most everyone from faculty on down spends their time guilt-tripping Ken even though he risks permanent injury by playing. Real nice bunch of people they got there at Carlton U.
The idea of mixing college football with crime was done to better effect by the Marx Brothers in Horse Feathers five years earlier, only they were in on the joke. The cast of Over the Goal, on the other hand, takes this goofiness seriously, or at least does a good imitation of it. (Remember Hattie McDaniel's remark about Hollywood sincerity?) I've seen this movie twice and actually disbelieved it even more the second time around. But both my college-bound daughter and I learned some valuable lessons:
1) Football is more important than an education.
2) You play through the pain.
3) Bears enjoy walking on their hind legs and wearing football helmets.
I only hope that she makes Carlton University's early decision. She'll have a blast.
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Here's Over The Goal's original trailer, with a chunk of "Scattin' with Mr. Bear" for your entertainment pleasure. Like the hype says, it's something to blow about. (You may have to endure a brief commercial first):