"Down and Out in Beverly Hills" was a recent movie starring Nick Nolte. The title also fits another Beverly Hills resident, UCLA's Michael Moore, but it suggests his pass patterns, not his economic status.
Moore, a redshirt freshman flanker, isn't your average college athlete. For one thing, he has a batting cage in the backyard of his home near the Beverly Hills Hotel.
His father, Dennis Moore, is a semi-retired real estate broker, and his uncle, Ahmad Rashad, was an accomplished wide receiver with the Minnesota Vikings from 1976 through '82 and is a sports commentator with NBC.
When Michael Moore was growing up, his father took him to Viking games, home and away, so he had a natural role model. Michael even had the same number, 28, as his uncle while playing for Beverly Hills High, where he was a three-sport star.
"I grew in the mold into the kind of build he had," Moore said. "He was a bigger receiver. Hopefully, I can play in the (NFL) and do as well as he did."
Moore, who stands 6-feet-4 and weighs 205 pounds, is part of a promising young Bruin receiving corps that includes Bryan Adams, Sean LaChapelle and Mike Nguyen, who are becoming the favorite targets of quarterback Tommy Maddox, another redshirt freshman.
Moore is already establishing his credentials. He caught five passes for 97 yards, including one on a 50-yard play, last Saturday during UCLA's 38-15 loss to Michigan at Ann Arbor. He also caught a touchdown pass that was nullified because the Bruins had too many linemen downfield.
Moore came close to scoring against Stanford on an 18-yard pass play two weeks ago. "I dove for the end zone even though my knee was down," Moore said. "I thought I could (fool) the umpire, but he was on top of his game."
UCLA scored two plays later to tie, 21-21, then went on to win, 32-31.
As for the defeat against Michigan, Moore said: "They were a formidable opponent, and next time we have to capitalize on our opportunities. I'm looking forward to another shot at them."
That would have to be a Rose Bowl game, because the schools aren't scheduled to meet again until 1996.
Moore is already a big-play receiver, averaging 18.4 yards on his eight catches, some in the punishing zone over the middle.
Coming out of high school, he had several sports options. He was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1989 baseball free-agent draft, and Stanford wanted to sign him to a letter of intent for basketball while he was still a junior in high school.
"Toronto offered me a contract, and I took some time to think about it and what I wanted to do," Moore said. "While I was sitting on the bench last year, I thought maybe I should go for (pro) baseball, but it's all working out now."
Moore is still playing baseball for the Bruins. An outfielder, he batted .304 last season and hit a grand slam in an NCAA Regional game.
As a senior in high school, he caught 54 passes for 1,204 yards and 10 touchdowns, including a state-record 99-yard reception.
"Basketball was my favorite sport (in high school)," said Moore, who was a point guard, center and forward, averaging 19.6 points and 6.3 rebounds in his senior year. But he passed up the opportunity to play basketball in college, saying: "That's a longshot. There are just so many players on a team, and only the cream of the crop get to play. Also, basketball conflicts with football."
So far, Moore, 19, seemingly has the best of everything--promising football and baseball careers at UCLA and a Beverly Hills address.
However, there is one drawback: the stereotype of the rich kid who isn't especially motivated .
"I guess in our society that's almost expected, and I don't pay much too much attention to that," said Moore, who added: "It's been going on now for three or four years. It used to really get to me, but now I shrug it off. Those people who are saying that are the people who want to be where I am."
Moore has lived in Beverly Hills for four years, but attended Loyola High in his freshman and sophomore years.
As Moore is following in the footsteps of his uncle, his younger brother, Kevin, is emulating him. Kevin, 15, is a quarterback-safety on Beverly Hills High's sophomore team and is big for his age--6 feet and 180 pounds.
"It's kind of rough," Michael said about Kevin, "but he has the talent to get the job done."
Dennis Moore said his son received about 500 letters from universities expressing interest in him in three sports, mainly football.
Dennis said he is 10 years older than his brother, Ahmad Rashad, who was known as Bobby Moore when he was a football and track star at Oregon. "I threw balls to Ahmad when he was 3 years old while we were growing up in Tacoma, and I did the same thing to my sons at the same age," Dennis said. "Michael was playing three sports when he was 6 years old."
Michael Moore said he received a congratulatory phone call from his uncle after the Michigan game.
Dennis said that Rashad was much more effusive in a phone call to Michael's mother, Shirley. "My wife said he was so excited about Michael's game in Michigan," Dennis said. "He told my wife, 'Michael walks and runs like I did when I was playing. He reminded me of my old self.'
"And when I look at Michael, I think he may be the second coming of Ahmad Rashad. They have the same lope and gallop and style of running."
Dennis will be in Pullman, Wash., Saturday night to see his son play against Washington State, and he's a regular spectator at UCLA practices.
Rashad's plans are uncertain, but you can be sure he's keeping track of his nephew.