Miami Heat fall victim to the curse of the ensemble cast

Perhaps the only headline capable of distracting the masses from Weiner’s weiner this past week was the demise of LeBron James and the Miami Heat (one man displaying too much of his marbles; the other still trying to find his…) Even the basketball clueless could not escape the endless coverage of the Miami Heat this season and even the most novice of fans would predict that two of the best three players in the world along with another top-10 talent coupled with two more highly sought after veterans would lead to an inevitable championship.

So like, what the hell happened???

Simply put, the Miami Heat came up short much like He’s Just Not That Into You and Valentine’s Day; two movies riddled with stars that had critics finding new ways to slam a movie and boyfriends checking their cell phones throughout the mediocre chick-flick dross.

Don’t believe me? Roeper of Ebert and Roeper said, “More than a dozen familiar faces are wasted in this trite, groan-inducing mediocrity,” in regard to Valentine’s Day. Time Magazine said, “He’s Just Not That Into You is like reliving your 20’s, without any of the fun.” And it’s not just those critics; both movies came up ‘rotten’ according to Rottentomatoes.com.

He’s Just Not That Into You featuring Scarlett Johansson, Kevin Connolly, Bradley Cooper, Justin Long, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore, and Kris Kristofferson andValentine’s Day featuring Jessica Alba, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper, Patrick Dempsey, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Garner, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Ashton Kutcher, Queen Latifah, Taylor Lautner, George Lopez, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, and Taylor Swift are doomed to fail for having too many leading actors (or actors who think they’re leading material) in the same movie.

Tried-and-true Hollywood formula is: Male lead + Female lead + Male support + Female support + and Ed Harris (anytime you include and Ed Harris, the movie will improve) = Potential passable entertainment. Mess with that formula, and you have actors fighting for screen time or mailing in performances for the paycheck. There’s only so many minutes in a movie and so many cameras.

This is a lot like what happened this year with the Heat. Typical NBA formula is: Star player A + Star player B + Three useful starters + Three more useful bench players = Potential playoff team. The Heat tried to make it work with Superstar player + Superstar player + One good player + Whatever is left we can afford regardless if they have any talent at all (Mike Bibby).

There have been successful ensemble cast movies in the past such as A Time to Kill with Matt McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt, Ashley Judd, Donald Sutherland and Kiefer Sutherland. McConaughey deftly played his part as the star and Bullock, Jackson, Spacey and Judd (who have all been #1’s) supported him in every scene and never tried to do too much. Oliver Platt worked his typical role as the ‘glue’ to perfection. He was funny when he had to be and he was always adding to the scene; never taking away.

The actors all sacrificed a little screen time but it was for the greater good of a terrific movie. And they all trusted Joel Schumacher, the director, who had completed some fairly impressive movies up until that point. That is what the Heat have to do.

Wade is the McConaughey; he has to star in every scene and show up every night.

LeBron is Spacey; capable of outperforming McConaughey with movies such as Se7en or American Beauty but consistently turning in performances such as 21 and Pay it Forward.

Maybe the Heat can celebrate for real next year?

Bosh is Sam Jackson; maybe he’s Pulp Fiction and maybe he’s Jumper. We don’t know, but like with Jackson, we’ll appreciate his passion and the occasional “Yes, they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hellllll”--like intensity.

Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller need to play like Platt and Judd. Both have the ability to be a #1 but we’ve seen the wrestling movie Ready to Rumble and it wasn’t good (sorry Platt, I enjoyed it when I was 15). Everyone in this paragraph (Haslem, Miller, Platt, and Judd) are better served being the glue to hold the whole messy contraption together.

Lastly, the Heat need to find some ‘Sutherlands.’ Donald was funny and endearing; Kiefer was intense and psychotic. The Heat need a veteran to keep everyone loose and that’s where Donald comes in. The Heat had fewer smiles than championships this year (0). They also need a stone-cold killer like Kiefer; someone who’s crazy enough to fight an entire team and drain three’s like an assassin (just without the white-supremacist hatred…)

Put that together and the Heat go from Valentine’s Day flop to A Time to Kill classic. Now if only we could fast-forward to next year’s ending with a parade on Biscayne Boulevard…

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Filed under Bad Movies, Basketball, Miami Heat

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