“Harvard Beats Yale 29-29” is a movie about football. It is also a movie about the political and social turmoil of the 1960s: class tension, women’s liberation and the Vietnam War. But if we are being honest, it is a movie about football. The year is 1968 and Harvard and Yale’s teams are both undefeated going into the final game of the season. Every single person who was even tangentially involved in this historic moment remembers every last detail. They share their harrowing stories here. There are tears. There are gratuitous name-drops of several later-famous political and cultural figures. But, once again, there mostly is just a lot of football. We were charged with the task of providing commentary. Facebook chat made this possible. This is our story.
Demetra: guys get ready for some “preposterous entertainment.” SO MANY WHITE DUDES
Veronica: all these people look the same. help
Nina: harvard men talkin about how humble their backgrounds are.“my dad was a farmer.” “my dad was even more of a farmer than your dad.”
D: “j.p. goldsmith” are you kidding me?that is basically the name of the monopoly man
V: harvard = “the spirit of 1968”
N: this is middle aged men reliving college football glory from the comfort of their recently renovated kitchens.
D: Im not sure that it has hit me yet that we’re watching a movie about football.
N: these men do NOT look like football players…mostly because they are like…60
D: and Oscar winners (tommy lee jones)
N: harvard players = WE CAN WIN THIS YALL. yale players = we were havin a good ol time.
D: Nick Kleber’s hair looks like a wig from an SNL skit.
V: his comb over looks like my kindergarten teacher’s.
N: harvard men painting themselves as the underdogs. “we were certainly never as talented as YALE” snickers because yale lost
D: I feel like we’re watching waiting for Godot except that we know Godot doesn’t show up. And I guess there’s sort of the lack of existentialism and shit.
N: yale tackle kyle gee is sitting in front of the world’s biggest set of encyclopedias
V: therapy session
D: Vietnam was ragin’ y’all
N: vietnam vet has no idea why he joined the marine corps
V: this is real intense, but i have no idea how this guys war stories are relevant
D: wait. The sadness in his eyes is quite striking. why does he have a globe? Does anyone use globes? Ever?
N: everyone who was against the war is like “we were ALL against the war” and then like ten guys were like “i fought in the war and it was awkward that everyone assumed we were all against it.” goodness watching football is absurd. players on players on players “Women hadn’t been invented yet”
V: where ma ladies at
N: apparently pre-the invention of women life sucked
D: THOSE ADAM’S RIB FACTORIES SURE TOOK A LONG TIME.
N: man in purple polo in his pleasure garden agrees … wait, i think i missed the switch from God to women to Doonesbury?
D: This movie touches all of the emotions. God. Women. War. Cartoons.
N: man offended by cartoons about football accuses cartoonist of being afraid of football players, real mature
V: all the yale cheerleaders just messed up
N: j.p. goldsmith giving us a history lesson. thanks, yaleman. “martin luther king was assassinated…robert kennedy was assassinated…tet offensive…” BUT OKAY NVM BACK TO FOOTBALL CMON
D: 60s protestors vs. wall street bankers, brought together by the glorious past time of throwing a ball down a field
N: kyle gee (man with encyclopedias) thinks yale was really conservative and shut-off from the world. connection to number of encyclopedias?
D: By “hot bed of liberalism and active campus groups,” he means Harvard was a hot bed of orgiastic sex. Much like the Yale of today. Obvi.
V: he feels so uncomfortbale talking about birth control
D: “I remember when birth control came about and it seemed like the doors were wide open.” AHAHAHA THE DOORS TO VAGINAS
N: celebrity watch: everyone knows george w. bush
V: they’re all friends w george bush
N: who was apparently arrested … ooookay and al gore
V: al gore was kinda fine … in that picture only!
N: “funny story” about al gore was REALLLLLLLY not funny. also is told increeeeeddddiiibbblllyyy ssslloowwwllllyyyy and involves a thanksgiving turkey or maybe a telephone. either way not funny … yale guys were really certain they were going to win. WHOOPS.
N: hubris … okay but at this point they were up 22, so maybe that is reasonable.
D: Clearly this football game is somehow a larger meta narrative for the turbulence of the 60s. It’s lyke sah deep.
N: this man loves “the aesthetics of throwing something and watching it fly.” good call doing football … man who cried earlier just recounted the story of his jock strap. “i use my helmet like a spear.” is that like, legal?
N: people throwin stuff, running etc. i hope this doesn’t wear me out for the actual real life game on Saturday
D: What is a tight end?! It sounds rude.
N: THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS (THAT WE SHOULD PROBABLY HAVE HAD ANSWERED PRIOR TO REVIEWING A FOOTBALL MOVIE) … man sitting in front of a huge trophy case … most appropriate location after encyclopedia library and pleasure garden … and, an hour and a half later, harvard wins. SURPRISE. DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING
D: Guys. “what happened was the worst possible thing that could have happened.” Nothing worse. Ever. In the midst of a war, Those last 42 seconds of the Harvard-Yale game were the worst possible thing.
V: i think these guys have built up a dramatization of this game that just didnt happen
N: no it happened. haven’t you been watching the past hour of footage?
D: Footage can be faked. DO U REELI THINK WE’VE BEEN ON THE MOON??
N: omg 20 seconds left and yale is winning are you kidding? they’re gonna lose in the last TWENTY SECONDS??
D: I’m not nervous. I’m distracted by a cake crumb that’s in my shirt.
N: ONE MORE PLAY IN THE LAST 3 SECONDS ARE YOU SERIOUS. THIS MUST BE A JOKE
D: This would be exciting if I knew anything about football.
N: slo-mo for the final touchdown. this is so emotionally manipulative
D: THIS WOULD BE THE WORST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED IF WE DON’T WIN THESE TWO POINTS. that’s a direct quote.
N: wait … it ended 29-29. how is that harvard winning…?
D: I also don’t understand. How did Harvard win???
N: i think it is a metaphor
N: they worked harder blah blah so they won the “game of life,” even though they actually didn’t win the GAME OF FOOTBALL, which is what matters. in terms of, you know, football
D: Life is such a lame board game. But it seems like they did win?
N: wow some guy just really put stuff in perspective. “it was a football game, and that’s all it was. it wasn’t even for a championship. it was a football game.”
N: crying man is now indignant and spiteful: “i’m glad we lost because had we won i wouldn’t have been just a regular person.”
D: “the reality is that no one really lost. We all really won”
N: “it’s a win-win for everyone.” except harvard who apparently thinks tying = winning
D: Wow. The end is so trying. It harkens back to a story that was told for 2 seconds about al gore and a telephone.
N: “bulldogs, bulldogs bow wow wow” is now being played over the credits … but … by telephone dial tones
N: OH! that was the “funny story”
V: that was the most pathetic credits sequence
N: welp. that’s over. we didn’t lose. i was all nervous for nothing.
D: Can I get my money back?
N: also this movie was made because everyone cares.
D: I don’t care. Let’s eat cake.