Picks and Pans Review: The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon
If timing is everything, this TV movie from The Wonderful World of Disney is a sure loser. It's a football comedy that's on three weeks after the Super Bowl. It has a Christmas climax but airs the night after Valentine's Day. And it returns Tony Danza to the sports world only two months after his latest sitcom, in which he played a sportswriter, was cut from the NBC roster.
The pleasant surprise is that it's not a total waste of time. Danza puts his likability to good use as a humble garbage collector catapulted to fame after a Philadelphia Eagles executive happens to see him kicking plastic water jugs for long distances down at the dump. Next thing he knows, Danza is making big dough to boot field goals for the team, gaining new respect from his 10-year-old son (Gil Filar) and fulfilling every jock's fondest dream: ancillary income for endorsing a product (trash bags, naturally) and signing autographs. The film keeps us smiling as Danza goes from sanitation worker to gridiron sensation but almost loses its sense of humor as he gets a slightly swelled head, disappoints his wife (Jessica Tuck) and kid, goes from hero to goat on the field and tries to make everything right with a stirring comeback in the last game of the season. Add the Philly setting and what have you got? A Rocky sequel.