So, if you recently deleted your Facebook and have shunned yourself from the television, then you probably don't know that Kevin Durant's new movie, "Thunderstruck", is going to come out this Friday. Below, you'll find the trailer for this soon to be made masterpiece, sure to stand the test of time with other cinematic greats.
Oklahoma City hosted the premiere of the movie this Sunday, at the illustrious Harkins Theater downtown. Not much news has leaked out about the quality of the movie yet, and I'm pretty sure that those who were invited aren't in a position to say.
But, in my opinion, this movie can go in only one of two directions: Space Jam or Juwanna Mann.
Obviously, most of us are hoping it can be Space Jam. Though Space Jam was derided at the time for the insertion of the Looney Tunes and it's formulaic plot, it has stood the test of time as something inherently ingrained in the culture of the 1990s. I have friends who can't tell you the difference between Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins, but they can repeat the line, "You 'aint Charles Barkley! You're just a wannabe! Be gone!" It's so bad it's good, and it's something that you'll want to watch again just for the campy humor or warm memories. You could point to movies like The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh or Like Mike as something similar for different generations of kids.
Of course, the movie could possibly swing in the other direction. It could be the next Juwanna Mann. A movie that nobody wants to remember. The jokes are painfully unfunny. The movie tries way too hard to be inspirational. There's no originality. And yeah, it's just terrible. I don't want to go back and try to remember that movie.
There's no real inbetween. We're either going to love or hate this movie. And no, it's not going to be Moneyball. Thinking this movie will be anywhere close to Moneyball on a dramatic level is like trying to compare Welcome to Loud City to Athletics Nation. On our best day, we don't even come close to scratching their numbers. But I digress.
What can make this movie a cult classic? Look below for your answer.
Well, first of all, there can't be too much emphasis on Oklahoma City. Other basketball movies have gotten away with featuring cities, like The Fish Who Saved Pittsburgh. But there's a fine line between having Oklahoma City as a nice backdrop and going too far out of your way to feature the city in the forefront. To be frank, OKC just isn't interesting enough of a town to do that with. Given that the film was primarily shot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, I don't think this should be too much of a problem.
Secondly, the movie has to have some memorable supporting characters. Space Jam had a variety of characters on hand for slapstick comedy, like the entire Looney Toons cast, the Monstars, Wayne Knight, and Charles Barkley. There were even random cameos that stick out in my mind, like Vlade Divac wearing a gas mask and Larry Bird constantly dissing Bill Murray. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh is a good example of a movie that had memorable supporting characters without having big name actors. There was the downright silly owner of the Pisces, the psychic woman who had a connection with the Zodiac, the overly cute-looking kid, and the strangest collection of basketball players this side of the Celebrity All-Star Game.
Thirdly, Kevin Durant has to be the straight man. He can't be the lead actor in a traditional sense, because it's something that a basketball player has never done successfully (Kazaam, anyone?). Even a successful dramatic movie with a basketball star as the lead, like He Got Game, put more emphasis on Denzel Washington as the father than it did on Ray Allen as the basketball player. Durant is basically there to act as the average guy on a mission. He's thrown into a world of wacky characters and tries to navigate his way through it with as little mishaps as possible, but is regularly given more than he bargained for. In the end, he goes along with the silliness, and emerges victorious.
But lastly, and most importantly, this movie cannot, I repeat, can not take itself too seriously. If it does that, the only people who like it will be people located within the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, and maybe some Tulsans. Thunderstruck isn't Rocky. It's not going to draw you in with an amazing dramatic story, create tension, and leave you wondering at what the resolution will be. It's silly, campy, and a good time for moviegoers everywhere. If it wastes too much time trying to find a purpose, it will end up with no purpose at all.
Another interesting topic is where this film will stand among movies that have been set in Oklahoma. Standing at the top of the pedestal right now, in terms of actually being good movies, have to be "The Outsiders" and the aptly named, "Oklahoma!". The Outsiders is probably number one nationally, as it is one of the most realistic and dramatic depictions of the Greaser lifestyle back in those times, and it was shot entirely on location in Tulsa. Oklahoma is the movie remembered most dearly among Oklahomans in general, mainly because the state song was taken from the musical that inspired it. What was the movie actually about? Eh, I have no idea.
In my opinion, Thunderstruck could never come close to touching those two movies. Where I could see it settling in is somewhere below those two. It probably competes with Twister for that spot. Twister was a silly movie made in 1995 about tornados. A math teacher at my middle school was a weather consultant for that movie, and a popular game among the students would be to try to get him to start rambling about how he worked on it so they wouldn't have to learn anything that day. Still, most people in this state remember the movie today, and it's actually inspired some people to get into the field of meteorology (go figure). There's also lesser known films, such as 1960's Cimarron, the Oklahoma City premiere of which is preserved in the British Pathe archives. I know nothing of this film, but the premiere must have been something back in the day. Especially the ceremonial smoking of the peace pipe, something I could never imagine Governor Fallin doing with Kevin Durant today. After that, most of the films you'll find that are set in or were made in Oklahoma are primarily Westerns, bad independent movies about small towns and road trips, and campy horror movies. None of them are really worth mentioning, but feel free to look through the whole list.
With that being said, it's a safe lock that, regardless of how bad it turns out to be, Thunderstruck will be one of the Top 5 movies ever to take place in Oklahoma. For Oklahomans, it will pretty much be what Twister was to the 90s. But whether the film can be a national success in the hearts of kids everywhere, like Space Jam was for me over a decade ago, remains to be seen.
What are your thoughts heading into the premiere of Thunderstruck this Friday? Let us know by posting a comment!