A half-baked “Rudy” for the YouTube age

After a heated battle between numerous studios, Sony Pictures has signed a deal with the autistic high school basketball phenom Jason McElwain to make a movie based on his amazing run of six three-pointers when his coach moved him from manager to player in the last few minutes of the last game of his senior year. Of course, most of us know the story from YouTube, where the original CBS News report became a phenom, until the network forced it down (now CNN’s report has over 200,000 views).

Far be it from me to critize the people who greenlit “Bewitched,” but you do have to wonder where exactly the movie here is. Despite the focus on his autism, the fact is that McElwain was “highly functioning.” The reason he didn’t make the team, as the Hollywood Reporter notes, was “because of his size.” Jason’s 5’6″.

But as we all know now, the kid shoots a mean three-pointer. So isn’t the real story here that his coach wasn’t smart enough to notice that his team manager should be playing? It’s not like he’s Rudy who overcame every obstacle to get on the field with the best college football team in America. His coach simply gave him a few pity minutes on the court and it turned out he’s really good.

Call me cynical, but it almost feels like a movie studio is simply trying to exploit a blip on the pop culture radar rather than buy a story that naturally translates into a compelling movie.