Before I start, I want to genuinely say, “thank you,” to everyone who has read and enjoyed The Revue these past few years.
This series, silly as it may be, started as the result of a conversation between Sam and me in the summer of 2019. We were leaning hard into advanced statistical analysis and wanted something a little more casual to balance things out.
“Didn’t someone used to review Mizzou games like they were movies,” Sam asked me. “You could do that.”
The idea intrigued me, as it combined a number of my great loves: creative writing, Mizzou Football, obscure movie knowledge, and crappy Photoshops. I thought it would be a niche thing (more on that in a bit) that only a few people would read.
Then Mizzou vs. Wyoming happened in 2019. I compared it to Wild Wild West. Sixty-seven people commented. Thus, The Revue was born.
In the intervening two years, the series has become pretty much what I expected it to be — an excuse for me to cook up a ridiculous movie Photoshop and use my technical movie writing skills to act like Mizzou Football is a movie. It’s been a lot of fun to make, and I’ve received a lot of positive feedback — thanks to everyone who ever took the time to write in.
However, The Revue started getting a little stale in 2020. Maybe it’s because there’s only so many ways to say, “Mizzou is fine, but not more than that”? Maybe because you can only pretend something is a movie for so long before your language choices start to feel painfully repetitive.
So for 2021, we’re going to try mixing things up a little bit. We’ll still have an actual Revue (though it won’t be 750ish words), and we’ll still have a ridiculous Photoshop (or two or three or however much time I have, don’t push me.) But we’ll also hand out some awards, and I’ll give some thoughts on the game as a whole.
As I type this, the thing isn’t fully formed in my head. I’ve thought of what feels like one million ways to make this feature fun and engaging for readers, but the only real way to know something like that is to hear from them. Is there something you’d like to see in this space? Feel free to reach out to me in the comments or via email. I’d love to hear your ideas. God knows I’ve run out of them over the past few years.
The (Actual) Revue
Badie Driver (dir. Eli Drinkwitz)
A killer opening scene covers a multitude of sins. I think that’s in The Bible somewhere.
One of the first and most important rules of filmmaking — at least in a pop sense — is to grab the audience’s attention. If you never do that, you’ll never make a movie worth seeing. So, logically, what’s the best way to grab an audience’s attention? You start in overdrive and make a badass opening scene.
Thus is the case with Badie Driver, the debut film of Eli Drinkwitz’s second year with Mizzou Studios. Drinkwitz’s first year was studded with just as many hits (Mission: Impossible, Drive) as misses (CATS!), but the best directors don’t take long to find their rhythm. If the first release of his second season is any indicator, Drinkwitz is well on his way to future box office success.
Named after its star player (see below), Badie Driver opens with a bang, earning a bucket load of good will within the first few minutes of runtime. The opening few minutes are electric, transforming potential to production in a way that Drinkwitz hasn’t yet achieved in his tenure at Mizzou Studios. Set to the roaring tones of Fan Noise by the oft-forgotten outfit known as Faurot Field Fan Explosion, Drinkwitz utilizes a host of promising talent to craft a scene that thrums with energy... an energy that doesn’t always carry through the rest of the film.
Through the rest of its runtime, Badie Driver struggles to match the energy of its opening scene. There are more than a few stilted moments that feel ill at ease with the tone the first few minutes set. But the film also finds ways to recapture the magic, sometimes in longer stretches. The second half of the movie really kicks into high gear after all the set up of the first half, creating a resolution that feels earned, if a bit uneven on the journey.
All in all, it’s a solid start for Drinkwitz in his second year in the director’s chair. He’s clearly got a loaded cast to work with, including some intriguing top-billed talent. There will be kinks to iron out, of course. Badie Driver relies far too much on the charisma and talent of its cast, and doesn’t seem to have a lot going on subtextually. But it’s a fun, diverting few hours that will more than quench your desire for new material out of Mizzou Studios.
Let’s hope for more consistent results in the future.
And the M-y goes to...
It’s pronounced, “Emmy,” thank you very much!
Best Actor in a Leading Role: Tyler Badie as Running Back #1
A stunning lead performance from the namesake. Badie has shone in the past a featured player, but there were concerns his range didn’t extend to the top billing. Those concerns are more than satiated after his initial performance, which should open up his role drastically in the coming features.
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Harrison Mevis as Funny Thicc Guy
Every movie needs a guy to run around with a little extra meat on his bones and make everyone laugh, right? Thankfully, Mevis is more than just that. As he displayed in his first year at Mizzou Studios, Mevis brings some heft (in more ways than one!) to his role that defies the conventions set out for him. He’s a hell of a lot of fun.
Best Director: Steve Wilks as Adjuster in Chief
Eli Drinkwitz brought in a new assistant director after his initial year, one who hasn’t directed a film in nearly two decades. It’s a risky piece of business, one that could feel outdated given the rapid evolution of styles that happens in a concentrated age of entertainment. While the early returns aren’t promising, Wilks does do good work adjusting to early failures and directing a unit that is competent and even, at times, excellent. Like the rest of the cast and crew, there’s more work to be done... but at least the mistakes didn’t tank the feature at the box office right now.
Best Original Play: C. Bazelak 30-yard TD pass to T. Badie, 2:25 2nd Quarter
A beautiful sequence that breaks up the stagnant rhythm of the story. Up to that point, Drinkwitz is in need of a spark, as the development of his script and characters really undercuts the momentum of the story he’s trying to tell. But the cast (specifically, Bazelak and Badie) are able to make something out of very little, and the resulting scene serves as a springboard from which the movie jumps into another gear, one that more closely resembles that of the impeccable banger of an opening scene.