Up until a few days ago, I had zero idea that a straight-to-DVD feature film/cameo bonanza co-written by late ‘90s/early ‘00s Orlando pop music impresario Louis J. Pearlman existed. Well, "exist" is an understatement; Longshot , which was released in 2001 and somehow managed to fly under my radar for 14 years, doesn't just exist. It glows. I really can't believe I've gone this long without crossing paths with Longshot, aka my new favorite movie.
Longshot opens with the members of boy band O-Town watching an infomercial. In the infomercial, two members of Bizarro O-Town peddle a VHS for a movie called Longshot. (If you guessed a movie-within-a-movie is about to go down, you guessed right.) The infomercial doesn’t really tell the viewer what the movie is about; it just lets the viewer know that Longshot is a not-to-be-missed flick. Moments after the weird commercial, there’s a knock at the front door. A delivery person drops off a copy of Longshot. It's freaky as all get-out. But rather than scream and slam the door and hide, the “Liquid Dreams” singers decide to pop Longshot in the ol' VCR. So brave, so noble. And then, the movie-within-the-movie begins.
Here's a quick summary of the movie-within-the-movie: Alex (Joey Sculthorpe) is a high school kid who misses a game-winning shot at a high school basketball game. He lives with his older brother Jack (Tony DeCamillis, who co-wrote this film alongside Pearlman), a personal trainer/gigolo to the wealthy housewives of Beverly Hills. Around the 15-minute mark, Jack finds himself in trouble with the husband of one of the housewives. After his nuts are threatened with a baseball pitching machine, Jack goes to New York to find out information about a mysterious woman/square CD technology on behalf of the housewife's angry husband. Alex tries to find love in Los Angeles and in NYC. Hilarity ensues.
Oh, and there are cameos. So. Many. Cameos. Whether one of the two protagonists is at a CD store/coffee shop, shooting an airball, thumbing through a manila folder on an airplane, or eating an 18” P.P. with B.O., famous faces crop up at every turn. It truly is an exhilarating viewing experience.
Not thirty seconds after my editor and I found ourselves gasping at Longshot's impressive Wikipedia page the other afternoon, I knew what I had to do: I gladly spent the next 90 minutes of my day watching the cinematic masterpiece. I would say "I watched it so you don't have to," but that would be disingenuous. I believe in my heart of hearts that everyone on this spinning orb we call Earth must watch this work of art. If you aren't picking up what I'm throwing down, I hope the screencaps below will convince you to put the movie in your eyes as soon as humanly possible. Here are 59 of the 70,000 reasons to watch Longshot:
Bizarro O-Town wears O-Fedoras and holds O-VHS cassettes
Bizarro O-Town's informercial phone cord situation
O-Town is hooked by Longshot from the jump
"Louis J. Pearlman presents"
Zachary Ty Bryan plays a bully
Danielle Fishel's there, too
Does that haircut belong who I think it belongs to?
Could it be?
Hot diggity, it's Justin Randall Timberlake as the surly valet driver! What a reveal!
J.T.'s face is more or less frozen like this for the entire scene
J.T. cringes at the car stereo as 'N Sync song "I Feel The Love" blares from the speakers and the meta-ness of it all is almost too much to handle
In the middle of a personal trainer/gigolo montage, Jack shows off his collection of wire-rim sunglasses
During that same montage, Jack reluctantly chokes down a glass of egg yolks
Gilbert Gottfried is Alex's boss at a CD store/coffee shop
Ellen Albertini Dow is one of the store's most loyal customers
Topanga and Alex barely know each other, but that doesn't stop Topanga from squeezing Alex's stomach at his place of work
The movie takes a turn when a rando pulls a gun on Jack at a stoplight out of nowhere
An explosion happens out of nowhere
Jack is dragged up to a roof where men with guns hold guns menacingly out of nowhere
A helicopter shows up out of nowhere
Jack is forcefully shoved into the helicopter out of nowhere
And then, things REALLY escalate when Jack's client's husband's henchmen decide to shove Jack out of the copter out of nowhere
Jack falls out of the copter, but SPOILER ALERT! Jack survives
Jack's client's husband threatens his groin with a pitching machine
A cafeteria worker hands Alex a comically large plate of green beans
Britney Spears plays a a pre-"Toxic" flight attendant
Kenny Rogers flies a plane
Harry Wayne Casey of K.C. and the Sunshine Band also flies a plane
Lance Bass of 'N Sync also flies a plane
Alex's CD store has every copy of N the Mix known to mankind
Dustin "Screech" Diamond is a waiter
Art Garfunkel’s son wants to buy an LFO CD
A super futuristic square CD makes a cameo
Someone asks pizza chef Joey Fatone for “an 18-inch P.P. with B.O.”
Fellow pizza chef JC Chasez doesn't understand "18-inch P.P. with B.O."
Joey slaps JC upside the head for not knowing "18-inch P.P. with B.O." means an 18 inch pepperoni pizza with black olives (whatta n00b!)
These butterfly clips, though
Brad Fischetti of LFO plays a guy who is mistaken for Brad Fischetti of LFO constantly
Chris Kirkpatrick plays a pizzeria patron who interrupts Alex and his ladyfriend's pizza date for some red pepper
Chris returns because apparently, bothering complete strangers in the middle of their meal is less of a hassle than politely asking a server for some napkins
All hilarious bits come in threes, so for his third and final act, Chris covers his face and attempts to ask for parmesan cheese while speaking in an unidentifiable accent
Jack goes on a shopping spree with the NY woman and ends up with 1,000,000 bags
With the intent of lightening his load, Jack hands a stranger one of the smaller bags and it's totally cool because he never really wanted that pair of diamond-encrusted sunglasses anyhow. He cherishes his wire-rim collection.
Alex wears this timeless bucket hat to a karaoke contest
Rich Cronin of LFO plays an NYC cop
The Rock plays a mugger who attempts to mug Alex and his ladyfriend
I repeat: THE ROCK IS IN THIS MOVIE
Alex somehow tackles The Rock, shattering everything I thought to be true
More mind-blowing technology makes a cameo
Lou Pearlman plays the role of "Captain Lewis"
Boy band Take 5 high kicks in unison
Gilbert G. talks to a rodent because sure, why not?
Alex attempts to redeem himself during halftime at a professional basketball game
He shoots the ball
His new ladyfriend makes this face
The ball floats through the air in slow-mo while the rest of the world is in reg-mo
He scores and wins a gazillion dollars. THE END.
O-Town and Jermaine Jackson are big fans of Longshot, and so am I
This brilliant epilogue
Ready to start your Longshot adventure? I knew you would be! Here's part one. You're welcome in advance:
Images: Transcontinental Pictures (60); frane8/YouTube (59)