April 19, 1996 – The Live-Action Feature Film Celtic Pride is Released to Theaters
“No. The most important thing is that they win. I mean, we’re not talking about kickball here, where there’s absolutely nothing at stake. We’re talking about the National Basketball Association. They have to win.”
On April 19, 1996, the live-action feature film Celtic Pride was released to theaters. The film was a joint production between Hollywood Pictures and Caravan Pictures, and distributed by Buena Vista Pictures. The cast members of the teams were sent to a training camp at Brandeis University before the film started production. The film did not do well on its release, making not even $10 million at the box office. It was written by Judd Apatow and Colin Quinn, and directed by Tom DeCerchio. It starred Damon Wayans as Lewis Scott, Daniel Stern as Mike O’Hara, and Dan Aykroyd as Jimmy Flaherty.
The film begins with gym teacher Mike O’Hara berating his class about basketball moves, but the kids only want to play with the trampoline. O’Hara is worried about his precious Boston Celtics, to the point where he yells at a kid and makes him cry. His wife Carol stops by, and announces her intention to leave him as she hates his obsession with the Celtics. Meanwhile, O’Hara’s best friend Jimmy Flaherty is out on a plumbing job, but is slacking off to watch the Bruins hockey game. O’Hara and Flaherty get together for dinner, where O’Hara relays the news of his divorce. Flaherty is happy about the news, as the last time O’Hara and his wife broke up, the Celtics won the championship. The two then head to the Celtic’s game, where Flaherty flirts with Susie, the hotdog vendor. The Celtics are playing against the Utah Jazz, which is led by Lewis Scott, an arrogant, self-absorbed player that has made headlines for skipping out on practice. Flaherty and O’Hara have several superstitions, and prepare all of them for the game in the hopes that the Celtics will win.
The game begins, and the Celtics are able to hold their own against the Jazz, especially since Scott’s selfish playing is hurting his own team. Although the Celtics look like they will be able to win, bad luck comes in the form of an old friend and possible jinx. The tide quickly turns, and Scott is able to single-handedly win the game for Utah by one point. Despondent, the pair remain in their seats long after the game is over. Flaherty gets a call from a bartender friend that Scott is at a nearby bar, and the pair decides to go teach him a lesson. They come up with a plan to get Scott wasted to the point where he is completely unable to play the next championship game. The pair pretend to hate their precious Celtics, which embarrasses them in front of Larry Bird. The two then set their plan into action, getting Scott increasingly intoxicated. In the end, the three are closing down the bar, creating drinks. They finally head out into the night, with Flaherty and O’Hara struggling to keep Scott upright.
The next morning, Flaherty and O’Hara wake up, shocked to find Scott in O’Hara’s house. They then decide to take some incriminating photos with him wearing Celtics gear before attempting to dump him outside. Scott wakes up before they have a chance to dump him in an alley, and the plans change to become more like a kidnapping. Scott calls out O’Hara as for what he really is: a washed up former high school star. Angry, O’Hara heads out to get some breakfast, though Scott uses the opportunity to try and turn Flaherty against O’Hara, before then berating him for his hobby of collecting sports memorabilia. When O’Hara returns, Flaherty and O’Hara get into a fight, exactly according to Scott’s plan. After talking to their cop friend, O’Hara decides that they need to keep Scott in Flaherty’s home until after the Celtics game against the Jazz, to help the Celtics win. Meanwhile, O’Hara’s soon-to-be-ex and son stop by to drop off some of his belongings, as they think he will live with Flaherty from then on. O’Hara tries to get them out of the apartment, but they manage to find Flaherty and Scott, with Scott tied up and Flaherty holding a gun.
After O’Hara’s family leaves, the two continue keeping Scott hostage, though it’s a tense situation for all. Scott finally manages to escape the pair, and the two chase him across the streets of Boston. Scott can’t seem to catch a break, as everyone hates him for causing the Celtics to lose. They finally manage to recapture him, and start driving around town, planning to keep him in a truck until after the game. Scott tries to convince them to let him go, since he doesn’t want them to go to jail. He then challenges O’Hara to a game of one-on-one, and wins his freedom. He heads to the game, but gives them a proposition: if they root for him at the game, he won’t turn them into the police. O’Hara heads home and explains the situation to his wife and son, and decides to spend some quality time with them before he believes he will go to jail. Flaherty spends his time with his grandmother, and then the pair head to the game, wearing purple and cheering for the Jazz. They convince their friends that they are only pretending to Flaherty is picked to make a free-throw shot at half-time. He makes the shot, and wins $100,000. Flaherty decides to take the fall for the crime, but O’Hara refuses to let that happen.
O’Hara, in an attempt to fire up Scott and not go to jail, cheers for Scott, and Scott begins to play as a team member. The Jazz fire back, and are able to close the gap between the Celtics, leaving one point remaining while the Jazz has the ball for one last shot. The clock runs down, and Scott is able to score the final point for the Jazz, saving Flaherty and O’Hara from prison. In the end, Scott manages to tell the cops that Flaherty and O’Hara are his friends, saving them from being arrested. Seven months later, the pair haven’t learned their lesson, as they head to Deion Sanders’ room, kidnapping him.