BASEketball is the only project that the South Park guys, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, have been involved with that they didn’t write, direct and produce themselves. Directed by David Zucker, the really right-wing one of the Zucker Brothers, it stars Stone and Parker. They aren’t really actors although of course they’ve done a lot of voiceover work.
They play a pair of unemployed loser/slacker dudes who one day create a game called BASEketball. It’s a bit like Idiocracy—set in a sort of alternative America in which this combination of baseball and basketball becomes the national pastime. When you shoot the ball to get a home run, the opposition can shout track talk to put you off. So yes, a really weird movie—including Ernest Borgnine performing “I’m Too Sexy…”
The creators come up with loads of rules, including preventing teams from switching cities, banning player trades, banning corporate sponsorship, and making play open to anyone who can join a team. And of course there’s a greedy businessman who wants sell it all off the highest corporate bidder, so there’s going to be a conflict.
BASEketball was made the same year that South Park premiered on TV. The best bit is the Robert Stack cameo, where in a running gag he plays himself hosting Unsolved Mysteries, covering the disappearance of Parker’s character and coming up with more and more ludicrous claims. The original plan was for Chris Farley to play the lead, but when Farley turned it down the director turned to Stone and Parker. At that point they had done Orgazmo, Cannibal!: The Musical and a variety of shorts, plus the South Park pilot had been making the rounds in the industry.
It’s a weird mish-mash—clearly Stone and Parker rewrote a chunk of the dialogue and deserve a co-writer credit. It’s not them at their best (not as good as Team America, for instance) but it’s still reasonably funny. With a slightly more left-wing political edge it could almost be a Joe Dante film. It’s also quite odd to see Parker and Stone on-screen acting, although we all know they’re funny on stage, like their infamous LSD fuelled crossdressing attendance at the Oscars. A number of proper actors appear, including Robert Vaughan and the aforementioned Borgnine (but not, surprisingly Leslie Nielsen.)
So here you have a quirky, amusing little film that has gained a bit of a cult following, mainly because of what Stone and Parker would later become. It’s worth checking out for a few laughs and some funny songs. It’s a shame that the leads had less creative control—but they’ve had a lot of fun mocking it on South Park over the years.