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Jason Fry and Greg Prince
Faith and Fear in Flushing made its debut on Feb. 16, 2005, the brainchild of two longtime friends and lifelong Met fans.

Greg Prince discovered the Mets when he was 6, during the magical summer of 1969. He is a Long Island-based writer, editor and communications consultant. Contact him here.

Jason Fry is a Brooklyn writer whose first memories include his mom leaping up and down cheering for Rusty Staub. Check out his other writing here.

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Why So Gung Ho?

Bill Maher refers to the tendency to sit and watch a movie that you come across while flipping channels even though you own the DVD of it and can watch it any time you wish, as Shawshank Syndrome.

There's an even more insidious affliction emanating from your cable system. It's the tendency to sit and watch a movie that you come across while flipping channels, even though you've seen it plenty, you don't like it and you know you never will, yet you convince yourself that maybe if you watch it now, since nothing else is on, that it will somehow get better.

I call this Being Gung Ho For No Discernible Reason Whatsoever, named for the 1986 Michael Keaton film about what happens when a Japanese automobile manufacturer buys the economically endangered car assembly plant in a depressed Western Pennsylvania town. Part comedy, part drama, part social commentary, Gung Ho is total dreck. Its topicality has turned to datedness over two decades. Ron Howard's direction, featuring many nods to the MTV ethos of the day, is hamhanded, another victim of time. Keaton's appeal as a leading man is better covered by a cape and a cowl. His character, a Chevy Chase ironic wise guy but with a heart of gold, makes no sense in the context of his job, which is saving the factory, rescuing the hard-working, blue-collar men and women of his community, relating honestly to the Japanese executives and learning to grow. The cast includes a hodgepodge of the miscast: John Turturro, George Wendt, Mimi Rogers and Clint Howard. Put simply, every time I see Gung Ho — whose title is taken from a phrase that means, literally, “extremely enthusiastic and dedicated” — it gets a little worse…yet I'm somehow a little surprised that it's really as terrible to watch as it is.

But I sit and watch it more often than not, especially if, like last night, I'm sitting up with a nagging headache and, you know, there's nothing else on. Last night I caught about two-thirds of it, declared it a disaster, watched something else until (with my head still kind of bothering me) I discovered Gung Ho had started again on one of HBO's West Coast feeds. Then I watched the part I had missed earlier to determine that, no, neither the movie nor my head nor my judgment was improving.

Why we sit and stare at programming that is obviously and predictably dreadful, that we've seen too many times and that doesn't soothe our aching heads one little bit I'll never understand.

13 comments to Why So Gung Ho?

  • Anonymous

    I guess the ladies got on the field while the gangtas stayed on the bus

  • Anonymous

    Are you saying the Mets need more Japanese players or do you want Bobby V. to come back?

  • Anonymous

    But I couldn't have predicted that fifth inning. I don't… what? Pedro Martinez cruises into a six-run inning while the Mets can't touch the eminently beatable (1-7) Ubaldo Jimenez? This is the worst horror movie I've ever seen.

  • Anonymous

    At least Gung Ho doesn't come with a pre and post-game that one would at times also feel compelled to watch.
    Although, I do seem to remember that there was a TV series based on the movie that I kinda liked, I dunno.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Greg,
    Somehow, I surmize there is a hidden meaning within your article that has absolutely nothing to do with “Gung Ho”. But I am in a similar dilemma; do I purchase “Shea Goodbye” and the “Essential Games” on DVD?
    Shea Goodbye is essentially a rehash of the 25th anniversary video with more interviews and the 2000 and 2006 seasons. I already have the 2006 season DVD. I recorded both 1986 games 6 and 7 on VHS as they happened along with the pre-game shows, post-game wrap-ups and local Channel 4 news that followed. Also have games 3, 4 and 5 of the '69 classic from SNY, plus the 9/11 game.
    So should I go Gung-Ho and buy the new DVDs even though I have most of the contents already?

  • Anonymous

    Joe,
    I've sampled the Essential Games and can say it is high-quality stuff. Game 4 of the '69 WS (though missing a couple of innings in the middle) includes a good deal more at the beginning. Some nice extras in general and can't go wrong with the complete Grand Slam Single game.
    Shea Goodbye I have not yet seen but I am told good things by someone who has. Supposedly a bit of non-Mets on there in terms of Jets and Beatles and such. I don't see a baseball library being complete without either one.
    Much more Gung Ho on today's win than last night's loss.
    Greg

  • Anonymous

    I think we'll be seeing a lot more to be Gung Ho about following the martyrdom of the old manager.

  • Anonymous

    Greg,
    You're better than Dear Abby when it comes to giving advice! Will have to give it more thought since I've already collected so much on video. Just might settle on the hardcover book instead.
    Gung ho!

  • Anonymous

    Listened to Friday's game while returning from the Jersey Shore… specifically, from a pilgrimage to the Terrace Tavern for the non-debatable best Buffalo Wings in the world. Went to the movies Saturday night – Hulk was Incredible, Zohan occasionally amusing, Happening dreadful (I love the multiplex!). Spent Sunday afternoon at Richmond County Ballpark unsuccessfully rooting on the Hudson Valley Renegades (friends hosted a thing).
    The result being I did not see a single pitch this weekend, and only listened to a total of about 8 innings. 2 outta 3, picked up some ground, I ate about 12 lbs of junk food. Worked out well for everyone.

  • Anonymous

    For years I felt that way about “Speed”, but I stumbled upon it again not too long ago and had the courage to shut it off after 45 minutes. It's simply become unbearable.
    If only there was a way to fire Keanu Reeves, replace him with DiCaprio, and start working on getting better-acting bus passengers half-way through. The movie might still stink, but it would at least be watchable.

  • Anonymous

    Or if you're a reader of the Post, apparently we're all dung ho!
    Try the veal, folks..I'm here all week…

  • Anonymous

    Hey! Another LBI Guy, like me & Jason. I never knew…

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I wish I was an LBI Guy! We usde to rent every summer with friends, and when we got engaged in '92 I implored the fiancee – let's scrape together a down-payment and buy a place! We can rent it out! We'll carry two mortgages, whatever, we'll make it work! She put the kibosh on it. Now we're lucky if we can afford to stay for a couple of days every other year.