Now Streaming in Austin: Man of the House
Tommy Lee Jones gets funny in this 2005 cheerleading comedy
By Richard Whittaker,
1:00PM, Sat. May 9, 2020
Welcome to Now Streaming in Austin, highlighting locally made titles to watch while self-quarantining.
Everyone who saw The Fugitive knew that Tommy Lee Jones was the man. But he turned his trademark granite jaw and hangdog looks to different effect for Man of the House.
Jones had already become part of Texas storytelling history as stoic former Texas Ranger Woodrow F. Call in Lonseome Dove. He's a very different ranger in this 2005 comedy: The sour-faced Roland Sharp has been charged with protecting a quintet of UT cheerleaders (pop star-turned-actor Christina Milian, future voice acting regular Monica Keena, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe lead Kelli Garner, Death Proof and NCIS: New Orleans star Vanessa Ferlito, and On My Block's Paula Garcés) after they witness a murder. Can he teach these spoiled sorority types some discipline, or can they melt the steely heart of this grumpy gus? Or maybe, a little of both is needed to save the day.
Talk about your burnt orange movies: Man of the House is Hollywood's big excursion to the Forty Acres of the University of Texas at Austin. The story strides from the dorms of West Campus to Darrell K Royal - Texas Memorial Stadium, with a genuine Longhorn game as background, back from when the team was a national powerhouse and headed to a NCAA championship. It's not all football - there's a memorable skating sequence at Millennium Entertainment Complex in which Sharp suffers one of many hilarious indignities piled upon him - but it's also not all UT, with regular student hangouts from the early 2000s like Mangia Pizza and Threadgill's.
Credit director Stephen Herek, a UT grad who knew the town and had already built a major cinematic legacy directing beloved comedies The Mighty Ducks, Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and cult favorite Critters, plus conducting Richard Dreyfus to an Oscar nomination in Mr. Holland's Opus. But around Austin, he will always be the man that got Tommy Lee Jones into that awful bright green skating helmet that is clearly two sizes too small.
Man of the House