Film: Little Giants

American sports film released in October of 1994 starring Rick Moranis and Ed O'Neill.

Becky O'Shea (Shawna Waldron) wants to try out for the local pee-wee football team, the Cowboys, and goes through a tryout under her uncle Kevin (O'Neill). Unfortunately, despite the fact that she is acknowledged as the best player in the entire town, she is passed over because she is a girl and proceeds to form her own football team with the other players not deemed good enough to make the Pee Wee Cowboys team. They manage to get Becky's father Danny (Moranis) as their head coach, name themselves "The Little Giants", and inevitably go up against the Cowboys in a game to decide which team gets to stay as the town's correspondent in the Pee Wee League as two teams can't play from the same town.

Tropes evident in Little Giants include:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Danny and Kevin make it into one by putting their businesses on the line: Danny's gas station versus Kevin's car dealership.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Kevin exploits this to convince Becky to become a cheerleader instead of a player in order to get Junior's attention.
  • Amazon Chaser: Junior likes Becky because she's a football player.
    Junior: You're cool. You're the Icebox. You're the only person I've met that can beat up my dad.
  • Arc Words: "One time."
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT talk about Jake's momma, you will NOT like him when he is angry.
    • To Clarify: After one rough play Jake is nursing his arm and a Cowboy taunts him asking if he wants his momma. On the very next play a VERY incensed Jake proceeds to tackle the much larger than him kid so hard he literally knocks him on his ass.
  • Big Game: Happens exactly as described when the Giants take on the Cowboys.
  • Black and Nerdy: The lone black player on the Little Giants simply can't catch the ball... but he's considered weak because of it. He later gets better by imagining the ball as a roll of toilet paper, which he practiced with to help improve his game.
  • The Cameo: Happens when coaches and players from the NFL like John Madden, Emmitt Smith, and Tim Brown show up off a bus and talk to several players of the Little Giants.
  • Catchphrase: "You'll thank me tomorrow". Kevin not only says this to people who are displeased by his decisions but also uses it as a motto for his car dealership.
  • Chick Magnet: Devon Sawa's character Junior Floyd attracts every girl in this film. Becky becomes a cheerleader, thinking he'll notice her more.
  • Contrast Montage: Comparing the Giants, a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits who have a coach that clearly doesn't know what he's doing, to the Cowboys, a football-bred team with a champion coach...who can get his kids to run out a window for him.
  • David Versus Goliath: The Giants are a Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits that failed the try-outs cobbled together with random kids off the street while the Cowboys team that was handpicked by Kevin O'Shea.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: After the Giants beat the Cowboys, Danny makes the offer to Kevin to have the two teams merge into one.
  • Did Not Think This Through: Danny actually thought he could keep Spike and his Dad from finding out he's not the "Coach O'Shea" they're looking for.
  • Down to the Last Play: The Annexation of Puerto Rico.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: While Kevin O'Shea certainly isn't evil, we see that even though he wants to win the big game, he wants to do so fair and square and calls out Spike's father on his actions.
    Kevin: Hammersmith? If that kid of yours pulls another stunt like that, you're both out of here.
    Mr. Hammersmith: Hey, come on! I thought you wanted to win this thing!
    Kevin: Not like that.
  • Exact Words
    Mr. Hammersmith: "So you're a Heisman Trophy winner?."
    Danny O'Shea: "I said I was Coach O'Shea. I never said I was Kevin."
  • Fake Rabies: Alka-Seltzer tablets were used this way for the purpose of "intimidation".
  • Fan of Underdog: Patty liked Danny despite being the least athletic of the boys playing football in the opening childhood scene. Those feelings did not disappear in the present time.
  • Foe-Tossing Charge: Johnny does a version of this when Becky points out that his often-away-on-business father is in the back of the end zone watching him.
  • Friendly Enemy: Invoked here, as Danny O'Shea and Kevin O'Shea are brothers but they remain friendly to each other despite making a bet on the big game. Despite his hard views on winning and losing Kevin has standards in playing, such as his reaction to foul play mentioned below, and he genuinely does love his niece even when she's playing for the opposing team. Danny even cancels the bet in exchange for Kevin fulfilling his childhood promise to Danny of having both their names on the water tower.
  • Hometown Hero: How Kevin O'Shea is treated for his success as the head coach of the Pee Wee Cowboys team and due to past college achievements as a player.
  • Groin Attack: During the game, the team's punter runs up for the kick off, but misses and kicks the squatting spiker in the crotch, causing him to fall over in pain.
    • Kevin also gets one of these. While running a practice on the second floor of his house, he attempts to show a player what to do by charging his wife (who is holding a mock-up of Becky). She is terrified, screams, and dodges out of the way. He grabs the mock-up, crashes through a window, and ends up straddling a tree branch. He is later seen icing it.
  • Ironic Echo: When Danny and Kevin make their wager above, Kevin immediately says "There'll always be a place for you at the full-service pumps." At the end, Kevin asks if Danny will hold him to the bet. Danny seems to relent, but then he says "There'll always be a place for you at Danny O'Shea Chevrolet!"
  • Is The Answer To This Question "Yes"?: When Becky asks Kevin if his daughter likes Junior, Kevin asks if Veronica likes Archie.
  • Jerk Jock: All of the players on the Cowboys team are smug about their greater ability compared to the Giants.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kevin seems to teeter on this throughout the movie, especially where Becky is concerned.
    Becky: Hey, Uncle Kev?
    Kevin: What?
    Becky: Do you think I'm pretty?
    Kevin: (Matter-of-factly) No.
    Becky: (Frowns)
    Kevin: (Smiles; just as matter-of-factly) I think you're beautiful.
    Becky: (Smiles)
  • Miracle Rally: The "one time" speech at halftime leads to a Little Giants counterattack.
  • Missing Mom: Danny O'Shea's wife left him and Becky.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Spike Hammersmith.
  • Nice Guy: Danny O'Shea creates the Giants because he wants to everyone to play.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If not for Spike hitting Junior, Becky wouldn't have returned to the Giants. He even taunted her moments after the deed was done.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Set in Urbania, Ohio. Though there is an Urbana, Ohio (no "i"), the name was changed just so the announcer can call the game the "Mania in Urbania".
  • Oh, Crap: When Junior Floyd is injured by a underhanded hit from Spike, she drops her pom poms, dons a uniform and joins in to replace him. Then we see Kevin with this reaction.
    Spike's Dad: Whats that cheerleader doing with a helmet on?
    Kevin: That's no cheerleader. That's my niece, Becky. She's pissed.
  • One of the Boys - Becky "The Icebox" O'Shea is the only girl at the tryouts. She later laments this status when she thinks it makes her unattractive.
  • Opposing Sports Team: The Cowboys are the "soulless regimen" types, and take the sport way too seriously, but only Spike is really evil.
  • Ordered to Cheat / Unnecessary Roughness: Spike's dad tells his son to take Junior out. He does after the whistle, only getting a 15 yard penalty for it (and no ejection). Kevin O'Shea severely dresses down Spike's dad afterwards. Kevin points out to Spike's dad as soon as Becky walks on the field that she's pissed because of that.
  • Plucky Girl: Becky O'Shea is rejected from the official team at the start and some boys pick on her but she sticks at the sport.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A tomboy, a black kid who can't catch, a chessplayer, and a boy that dresses like a cowboy are amoung the members of the Giants team.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Becky goes on this against Spike after Junior is injured.
  • Rousing Speech: "Even if they beat you 99 times out of 100, that still leaves..."
  • Second Place Is for Losers: The attitude of Kevin O'Shea and he still carries that feeling when the Cowboys lose to the Giants.
  • Shout-Out: Kevin uses Veronica and Archie as a reference to answer a question from Becky.
  • Sickly Neurotic Geek: Jake's status as this is made worse by his overprotective mother. Nubie is perfectly healthy and both geeks have a role in the final play of the game: Nubie draws it up (With John Madden's help) and Jake scores the touchdown off of it.
  • Smooch of Victory:
    • Patty gives one to Danny after the game ends and Danny finally has the courage to ask her out to dinner.
    • Teased but averted with Becky and Junior. They pause in their celebration for a deep, longing look in each other's eyes...then go right back to celebrating.
  • Start My Own: The Little Giants were started by kids who were not chosen to play for the Cowboys.
  • Team Spirit:
    • At one point, most of The Team quits but a pep talk from pro players convince them to continue playing through teamwork.
    • Then there's the "One Time" halftime speech.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Becky decides to quit football and become a cheerleader in the hope that Junior will like her better that way. She comes back when Spike hits Junior after the whistle.
  • Third-Person Person: Spike Hammersmith. "Spike don't play with girls."
  • Tomboy: Becky "Ice Box" O'Shea is considered one because she's a football player and rough and tough enough to take any of the other players in a fist fight.
  • Turn Coat: Spike Hammersmith leaves the Little Giants and plays for the Cowboys because Danny fibbed and said he was "Coach O'Shea" but not the Coach O'Shea. Considering how he was tricked into joining the Little Giants in the first place, can anyone really hold it against Spike?
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: It took awhile for Patty seeing how Danny, and herself, ended up in prior relationships that produced a child. Eventually both relationships evaporated, and Patty got her chance to rekindle their childhood sparks when Danny shows up at her doorstep to recruit her son, Junior, for his football team. The victory kiss after the game sealed the deal.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: come back from a 21-0 halftime defeat? Yes.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Johnny's dad is often away on business. When Danny sees him arrive at the big game, he calls a play featuring Johnny. Johnny delivers "a brilliant piece of running", right into his father's arms.
  • You Go Girl: The entire reason Danny decided to field his own team was because Becky didn't make his brother's team for the sole reason that she was a girl.