Boy, this thing sure did take a 180, amiright?
One week ago we were peeling ourselves up from the Athens, Ga., concrete and we were starting to get jazzed about basketball season. Now we’re suddenly kind of excited about football again (partially because of Dan Mullen’s schadenfreude-laden meltdown in Gainesville) and basketball is... well, we’re not talking about that here. Let’s separate our traumas into different spaces and deal with them in their proper time.
That being said, did anyone ever really guess a bowl game was in the cards for this Mizzou team, especially after that loss to Texas A&M? They barely did enough on defense to hold off North Texas, dropped a few swing games (one in embarrassing fashion) and got steamrolled by most of the truly good teams on their schedule. A five-win season felt like wishful thinking, especially after the Gamecocks rolled Florida up into a ball, coated it in some seasoned flour and deep-fried it.
But now, Mizzou is on the precipice of a minor bowl and, dare I begin to say it, a somewhat interesting Battle Line game on Black Friday?? Don’t get me wrong, Mizzou will deservedly be the underdogs in that game, as Arkansas has more than proven it’s no slouch. But the Tigers are now sitting at 5-5 and staring at the following two games in order to get to their sixth:
- A Florida team that, much like the Florida teams in every third year, are seemingly in open rebellion against their head coach, who is currently the prime reality embodiment of Leslie Nielsen yelling, “Please disperse!” in The Naked Gun
- An Arkansas team that, for all its many strengths, is still flawed and which Missouri tends to play closely no matter the circumstances
Of course, we could be getting ahead of ourselves after Mizzou eked out a 3-point win over a probably-still-bad Gamecock squad. However, it’s important to remember that there are real signs of improvement on defense, Tyler Badie is still a god-man and there may be a QB change on the horizon, which should clamp down on some of the self-defeating mistakes on offense.
To say, “what a difference a week makes,” feels hackneyed in college sports because any week could make any amount of difference, large or small.
But, you know... what a difference a week makes! Hey, I never said I was too good to be a hack. If you’re reading The Revue, you should’ve picked up on that by now!
The (Actual) Revue
Truman’s New Groove
Sometimes the cure for what ails you is a good old fashioned morality tale. And by “old fashioned” I mean movies where the main character turns into a llama and back. That classic golden-age-of-Hollywood set up.
With Truman’s New Groove, Eli Drinkwitz and crew get themselves back on even footing by not overextending themselves and taking care of the basics. The built-in premise is tailor made as a pick-me-up: annoying, but not overly intimidating villain; simple, high concept; lovable, flawed (but relatable) characters. Credit to Eli Drinkwitz for setting himself (and his ailing cast/crew) for success.
That being said, the execution needs to happen and it does... for the most part. Truman’s New Groove is a pleasant enough romp with expected charismatic performances from familiar leads like Tyler Badie and Kris Abrams-Draine. We even get to see a rare star turn from Isaiah McGuire and at least one special moment from Mookie Cooper, who makes the most of his limited screen time. The combination of fresh and familiar faces makes up for some of the film’s saggier pieces (Connor Bazelak, my guy, drink a cup of coffee or something), though it does raise the question of what this could’ve been with a tighter cast.
Perhaps, though, the most encouraging sign to come from a mid-year release like this is the increasingly positive presence of Assistant Director Steve Wilks. He gets an award nomination below — I know, I know, I couldn’t believe it either! — and deservedly so; his work almost puts the New in the film’s title, with his re-energized department cleaning up old mistakes and contributing new depths to Mizzou Studios’ productions that seem to have been missing all year long.
Again, the product isn’t perfect and Wilks could really stand to string together another few solid outings. But his hiring no longer seems unreasonable-at-worst-highly-suspect-at-best, and productions like this are a big reason why. The trajectory, once boring deep into the earth’s crust, is heading northward once more.
Look, am I going to recommend Truman’s New Groove to everyone? Probably not, but you could still do a lot worse. It’s a fun, diverting romp that ends pleasantly enough, even if it’s a bit goofy on the way. And it’s got a good message: Pride goes before a fall(ing to Tennessee by multiple scores at home.) So, kids, remember to stick with what you know: beating South Carolina and keeping the Mayor’s Cup.
And the M-y Goes To...
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Tyler Badie
Tyler Badie 14th player in FBS since 2000 with 1200 yards rushing, 50 receptions & 16 touchdowns— Tom Orf (@MU4124) November 15, 2021
Write it in sharpie, the award is his.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Brady Cook
#Mizzou head coach Eli Drinkwitz put Brady Cook into the game in place of starting QB Connor Bazelak with 4:30 left in the 4th quarter against South Carolina.— Lila Bromberg (@lilabbromberg) November 14, 2021
Here's what went into the decision and where the quarterback situation stands moving forward:https://t.co/iIkQHMqU6u
This, my friends, is what’s known as a heat check. Very little time on screen, but with a big Impact. It’s a major plot twist to take your starring man and replace him in the dying minutes, but Brady Cook clearly had the trust of his director and managed his time effectively. That may not be a winning role, but it’s more useful than you’d think. I’d say that’s worthy of a nom.
Best Director: Steve Wilks
His first nomination!
Wilks has been under a lot of scrutiny this year, and for good reason. His hiring was a big question mark for Drinkwitz, and Wilks didn’t deliver much in the way of positivity early on. His time in Columbia seemed over almost as soon as it began.
But his work on the past few features has spoken for itself. Even with some less than desirable results, Wilks’ impact has been a net positive. The cast and crew seem to be responding to his direction. And now it doesn’t seem like such a sure thing that his tenure at Mizzou will be brief.