Most of us have seen our fair share of movies starring misfits, and we have seen movies where football is the backdrop. There have even been football misfits with a ragtag bunch of talent masquerading as players (Necessary Roughness being the first that comes to my mind). While I am not entirely sure why anyone would revisit such a road, Division III, subtitled "Football's Finest," gets the motley crew build up out of the way early.
Marshall Cook directed the film, which he co-wrote with Andy Dick (Newsradio) and Paul Henderson (Melvin Goes to Dinner), and all three appear as the film's stars. Dick plays Rick Vice, who along with his assistant Bob Delgirt (Henderson) is hired out to coach the Fulham University Blue Cocks, whose coach died the previous year from a cold Gatorade shower administered by his players. Fulham plays in Division III college football, where football is considered an afterthought by some schools, and other more modest schools use their pittance of resources to hope to do well. Cook plays Mitch DePrima, a quarterback who has become stapled to the bench, much to his discontent. With Vice's coaching tactics and DePrima's untapped talents, the Blue Cocks hope to regain the glory and prestige to the University (or at least as much as you can for a Division III school).
The film primarily serves as an opportunity for Vice's strategies in training to show off, or loosely translate for Andy Dick to go on comic rants for minutes at a time. And I get what it is that Andy is trying to go for, playing the excessively machismo coach. There is even a moment or two where admittedly I chuckled. But those moments are likely a three on a scale of 10 of comedic Andy Dick antics. The tone of the southern Rick Vice gets increasingly abrasive, particularly around an African American University President (Michael Jace), and at one point during one of several training montages, he is even tea bagging a player while serving as a spotter to him in the weight room (or as the legend goes, channeling Matt Millen). Once you get past Andy's histrionics, the story the film tries to tell is filled with the usual drama and conflict, including DePrima's clashes with the starting quarterback, and a flirtation with a girl at school, played by former G4 personality Alison Haislip.
While I am thinking about it, the film is chock full of recognizable faces. By my count, four MADtv performers (Bryan Callen, Mo Collins, Debra Wilson and Will Sasso) are peppered through the film, along with a veteran standup comic (Greg Fitzsimmons), a popular comic podcaster and former Man Show host Adam Carolla, and even a Oscar nominee (Sally Kirkland), who flirts with Jace's character and wants to hook up with him, using some of the more awkward language I've heard recently. It is not that I have a problem with language or mimicry, but if there is not going to be any point to it, then you have a lot of people just coming in for a day or two on a shoot, some get a chance to improv (of those, Collins and Wilson seem to have fared the best in the film), and others are just there with no real purpose. The end result is a film that is as vapid a premise as the level of sport is tries to mock. Division III wants to perhaps try to be the National Lampoon of collegiate football, but instead comes off as unfunny, unimaginative dreck.The Blu-ray Disc:
Division III is presented in high definition with an AVC encode, in 1.78:1 widescreen. The film was shot digitally using the Red digital cameras, and the result is not bad. Image detail is decent, and the image is natural without little in the way of prolonged or noticeable DNR to distract. Flesh tones appear accurate and the black levels on the feature are consistent and provide a good contrast. If you want to see more detail from Andy Dick's bodily emissions and never had the chance before, you're in luck with this Blu-ray.The Sound:
The DTS-HD Master Audio lossless 5.1 surround track is adequate, though there are moments where it becomes erratic. Tackles come with an expected thud in low-end activity, though the subwoofer activity is a bit heavy. Dialogue is unbalanced in areas during the second and third acts, directional effects (along with channel panning) are nil also. Given the relatively modest production values it's hard to expect sonic revelation, but a solid mix may not be too much to ask for.Extras:
Cook and Dick join up for a commentary where they spot things which occurred during the production and recount some of the efforts to pull off other moments. The casting in the film is recounted, and Cook shares the experiences playing football that inspired scenes. Dick seems to ramble on a bit and the tone of the track at times seems to be one of Cook tolerating him, but if you liked the film, it is a decent track. Nine deleted and extended scenes (17:56), a funnier than expected outtake reel (9:30) and the trailer (2:20) complete affairs.Final Thoughts:
Sometimes a movie comes along that is so self-explanatory in description that a summation is not necessary. And with Division III, all one really needs to do is say "straight to video project by Andy Dick" to know that the film you see may have some laughs here and there, but simply does not hold up over the course of a feature runtime. From both technical and supplemental perspectives reaching 'run of the mill' level, it's safe to say one does not miss much in their life if they skip this one.