What do you think this movie is about? I mean, even the poster is kind of cryptic. Celtic Pride is a charming and underrated nineties basketball comedy with a big heart. The movie follows two Boston Celtics who are willing to do anything to help their favorite team win the championship. And when I say anything, I really mean anything. If the plot sounds a bit simplistic it’s because it is. To pull this off, you would need excellent actors and an even better script. And this movie has both of those things. We’ve got not only Dan Aykroyd but also Daniel Stern and Damon Wayans. That’s the older Wayans brother, the one from The Last Boy Scout.
On top of that, Celtic Pride also stars none other than Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird. With that out of the way, it’s time to look at the script. Written by Judd Apatow, the guy behind such hits as Pineapple Express, This is 40, and The 40 Year Old Virgin, it’s funny but also rough around the edges. A lot of the jokes don’t land and if it weren’t for the comedic talents of Aykroyd, Stern, and Wayans it would’ve been a miss. Additionally, there’s the question of racial tensions that I won’t get into. Let’s just say that some of the things didn’t age well. What the movie gets right is the atmosphere. It’s energetic and yet also casual.
You have to look at Celtic Pride as a whole and try not to pick it apart. Mostly because it will quickly fall apart. However, this is not that type of movie. This is an easygoing entertainment for basketball fans and those who enjoy these casual comedies with a twist. Things are happening on the screen, you laugh a few times, remember a couple of things from the nineties, and the movie is over. With that being said, the characters we’re going to meet feel all too real. In fact, your next cab ride or plumber intervention might be the one where you will meet them in real life. I also enjoyed those jokes about basketball coaches.
Mike O’Hara takes his job very seriously. It doesn’t matter that he’s teaching little kids how to play basketball in his school, what matters is his passion. Jimmy Flaherty, on the other hand, is a professional but he doesn’t take his job so seriously. Mike and Jimmy are best friends and lifelong Boston Celtics fan. And this year, they might see a miracle. Celtics are playing Utah Jazz and they might actually win the championship. To make sure that that happens Mike and Jimmy decide to take drastic actions…
If you’re a Boston Celtics fan, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this movie even more for one special reason. The basketball game scenes in the movie Celtic Pride were filmed inside the iconic Boston Garden. Yes, the same Boston Garden that was demolished just a few months after the end of the production. And if you stick around ’till the closing credits, you’ll actually see the demolition. I guess this is Bill Burr’s favorite movie as he can’t stop talking about Bruins and Celtics on his podcasts.
Since this is a nineties movie with that trademark nineties atmosphere you’ll be able to see some strange things. Among them is a step-by-step reasoning on how to commit a major crime. It also looks at the dynamic between a fan and a professional athlete. And this part was really good. It felt realistic and not as dark as in The Fan, another nineties sports movie but with a nasty twist. Finally, if you’re looking for movies like Celtic Pride, you absolutely must revisit White Men Can’t Jump.
Director: Tom DeCerchio
Writers: Judd Apatow, Colin Quinn
Cast: Daniel Stern, Dan Aykroyd, Damon Wayans, Paul Guilfoyle, Christopher McDonald, Gail O’Grady
Fun Facts: Despite being released just as the finals were playing out, the movie didn’t do well on the box office earning just $10 million.