In the 2003 rom-com Just Married, Tom Leezak (Ashton Kutcher) heads to Europe with his wife Sarah (RIP Brittany Murphy) on their honeymoon. Their young marriage gets tested throughout the course of the trip, as they encounter one disaster after another. I actually think Just Married is a good movie; partly because the chemistry between Ashton and Murphy is great and partly because it has some pretty comedic scenes. However, if you have only watched it once, I suggest you re-watch after reading this because there is a good chance you didn’t really know what this movie was actually about
Though labeled a comedy, there is a subplot that continuously resurfaces throughout the movie that paints this movie in a much darker tone. In fact, some would say that this subplot makes Just Married fall into the horror genre before anything else; a rom-horror if you will. The subplot I am speaking of is Tom’s inability to keep up with sports while he is in Europe. It is truly terrifying to watch Tom hopelessly fail to acquire even the slightest inkling of sports news throughout his European vacation. I don’t want to say his life was in danger at any point, but he definitely lost his mind and almost his marriage by the end of the movie due to sports deprivation.
Now the first iPhones shipped in June of 2007. Tom and Sarah went to Europe in 2003. Thus, Tom and Sarah did not have iPhones. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram didn’t exist. If you asked either of these newlyweds what an app was, they would respond with chips and salsa (in 2003, Guacamole wasn’t a major player in the appetizer world yet. What a terrible time to be alive). Handheld technology as we know it today was in its infancy. If you got lost, you looked at a map; a physical map that you would have to unfold to read, then fold it back up after you were done (it was never possible to fold it back correctly, causing the map to morph into weird shapes over time. It was the worst). Yelp wasn’t around to tell you if restaurants were good or not, so every new restaurant you tried was basically a suicide mission. Basically, if you dropped a high school student into 2003, they wouldn’t survive for over a week.
With that said, going to Europe in 2003 without any of the technology mentioned above put any self-respecting sports in their own personal hell. Throughout the movie, Tom is in visible pain due to the fact he has no insight into what is going on in the sports world. He continuously is searching for sports news and is repeatably denied. He goes days without seeing a box score. Near the end of the trip, he becomes so desperate to watch an inning of baseball, that he leaves his wife with her ex-boyfriend so he can scour Venice for a sports bar. Let me repeat; the man leaves his new wife, who spends her afternoon day drinking with her ex-boyfriend in the most romantic city in Europe, on his own honeymoon so he can watch a baseball game. That was a desperation play, but just shows sports withdrawal makes people do crazy things (see every Philadelphia fan after their win in the NFC championship game two weeks ago).
So, four paragraphs in, you most likely fall into three camps at this point:
- I lost you after the 1st paragraph and you never made it to this point (understandable)
- You stopped reading after paragraph two in order to see if Just Married was On Demand because you somehow missed the obvious sports deprivation subplot (understandable)
- You are about to stop reading, but you are slightly curious where I am going with all of this (thanks for sticking with me this far. I am getting there)
So where was I going with this? Actually, its more along the lines of where I am going right now. As you are reading this, I will be over the Pacific on my way to Bangkok, Thailand. I will be gone until February 18th and with that, will not be present in Chicago for the Super Bowl (4th), the NBA trade deadline (8th), when Cubs and White Sox players report to spring training (17th), nine Blackhawk games, and six Bulls games. Now, when I first realized I would be missing many key sporting events soon after booking my trip, I will admit I began to have instant buyers remorse. I immediately thought of the situation Tom found himself in during his trip to Europe and dreaded the disconnect from the 24/7 sports news cycle I would experience in Thailand. In 2018, we are flooded with sports news during every waking hour. We no longer just hear about who wins each game, but learn what teammates hate each other, which players want to be traded, who is about to be traded, what opposing players have beef, what players ate a beef sandwich for lunch, etc. It never stops.
And like any Chicago sports fan, I don’t want to miss any of this news. I am like a parent with a small child. I don’t want to miss potentially miss Lauri Markkanen’s first technical just like a parent doesn’t want to miss their kids first steps. It is just too big of a deal. However, after thinking through how far we have come since 2003, it soon became clear to me that I really wouldn’t miss a beat at all while in Thailand.
Sure, I might not see the games live, but I will be able to watch the highlights and check the box scores of the Bulls and Blackhawks games by simply opening my Yahoo Sports app on my iPhone. The Super Bowl seems to be playing everywhere in Bangkok and I am rather excited to eat breakfast and pound screwdrivers at the nearest tavern when it starts at 7am Monday morning. When the Bulls dump Nikola Mirotic at the deadline for a 1st round pick, I will receive a phone alert as will everyone else in Chicago. For everything else, I can just check Twitter.
I do not have to face the reality Tom felt on his honeymoon and for that I am thankful for technology more than ever before. Now I am not going to be a stereotypical America and just ignore the sports cultural of the country I flew halfway across the world to visit. I do plan to take in Thailand’s sports cultural by attending a muay thai fight or two, while also checking out some Sepak Takraw (kick volleyball?) games and kite flying events (dope). However, when it comes down to it, I also plan to enjoy a Bulls game over breakfast some mornings and that is something Tom could have only dreamed of.
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