Do you have any friends that have an uncanny ability to remember famous lines from movies?
I do. His name is Mick Cronin.
“My memory is probably my best trait,” said the UC head coach. “Whether it’s a player from years ago or a play that the other team runs, I think that recall is one of my strengths. Plus, I’ve watched certain movies multiple times.”
Mick makes frequent use of his movie memory. For example, when asked at a recent news conference about fighting through the Big East grind, Coach Cronin quoted the end of Rambo: First Blood Part II when Colonel Trautman (Richard Crenna) tries to comfort John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) before Stallone’s character walks off into the distance as the credits roll.
Colonel Trautman: How will you live John?
Rambo: Day by day.
Coach Cronin doesn’t only use movie references when dealing with reporters. Frequently when trying to emphasize a point at practice, he’ll quote a movie line in an effort to make it resonate with the players.
“You pick out spots,” Mick told me. “A good example would be, when a guy is trying to do too much with the basketball, I hit ‘em with General McAlister from Lethal Weapon: ‘There’s no more heroes left in the world son.’ In other words, just play your role and take care of the ball. During the suspensions when we only had eight guys and had to stick together, we brought out, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper,’ which is a New Jack City reference.”
“He has a lot of movie quotes and they are usually right on,” said Yancy Gates. “It’s hard to remember them all because he has so many. I can’t remember the movie, but one line that he uses is, ‘You’re nothing but a lot of talk and a badge.’ That’s one of his favorites after a loss.”
For the record, that line comes from The Untouchables and is used to make the point that talk is cheap. It’s no surprise that Yancy Gates remembered the line but not the movie since the film came out two years before he was born.
“He usually talks about movies that we’ve never seen,” said Dion Dixon with a laugh. “They’re either too old or they’re movies that we don’t watch.”
“Unfortunately, if it’s not a slapstick comedy, today’s players have not seen the movie,” said Coach Cronin.
Mick, on the other hand, prefers the classics. What’s at the top of his all-time list?
“The Godfather, which I brought with me on the last road trip,” said Cronin. “I have trouble sleeping, so I can always put on The Godfather 1 or 2. I have to put those two near the top, along with Goodfellas, and Pulp Fiction. After that, there’s another category where you go from the best movies of all-time to some really good movies that I enjoy.”
Mick actually used a line from The Godfather when talking to the players about not sharing too much inside information about the team on their Twitter accounts.
The Bearcats most recent road trip to St. John’s and Marquette even included a trip to the movies. To break up the drudgery of going back-and-forth between practice gyms and hotel rooms, the entire team went to see the new Denzel Washington movie Safe House.
“We talked to Drew (Seidenberger, Director of Basketball Operations) about it,” said Cashmere Wright. “We said, ‘We’re going to be on the road for so long, we have to do something.’ He said, ‘I’ll talk to coach about it.’”
“That was the movie that everybody was talking about,” said Gates. “We were all planning to see it together when we got home, so when Drew told us we were going to go see it on the road trip, everybody was excited. I thought it was great – another great Denzel movie. I think he’s the only bad guy that has everybody cheering for him.”
While the Bearcats went to watch Denzel last week, the Academy Award-winning actor showed up at Madison Square Garden two years ago to watch them. He was sitting near President Clinton when West Virginia’s Da’Sean Butler beat the Bearcats with a last-second three point bank shot.
“Denzel is a big college basketball fan and his son Malcolm is a pretty good player,” said Coach Cronin. “We have mutual friends so I’ve met him before and he’s a huge basketball fan. He’s one of the best actors of our time, so I thought the guys would like it and it got us out of the hotel.”
There’s a scene in Safe House (it’s in the trailer so I’m not spoiling anything) where a young CIA employee played by Ryan Reynolds tells Denzel’s character that “you’re not getting into my head.”
Denzel’s character coolly responds that “I’m already in your head.”
I wouldn’t be shocked if that line is eventually used to make a point at a Bearcat practice.
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