96th best baseball movie of all-time – JOE TORRE: CURVEBALLS ALONG THE WAY, 1997

Cable TV networks like to produce wanky films that attempt to tug at your heartstrings. There are about two dozen of them made every year. They are always done on the cheap and usually are about a real-life story of some kind so people are already familiar with the particulars. Before Cable, the original networks (NBC, CBS, ABC) would all have their movie-of-the-week and a story like Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way, would be made.

The formula is to bring in one or two B-list stars who the population is familiar with but the networks can still hire on the cheap. Then when an event like say “A Long-Island teen who shoots her lover’s wife, who has a name we all remember like, say, Buttafuoco.” happens, you have to write the script, hire the crew, and get this movie made as soon as possible before people forget about it, or the particulars of the story change. It’s a sprint to get the movie done and on the airwaves within 9 months after the event has occurred.

Unfortunately, this is not the best way to make a great film. Sometimes the networks get lucky, like Brian’s Song (1971) which became a monster hit even before it’s stars James Caan and Billy Dee Williams became household names. But generally these movies kind of stink because the writing is too obvious, the production value is low, and there really isn’t a point to the movie other than they are recreating what the population already knows.

In the case of Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way, this is the case. BTW – What a terrible title. It’s so insulting.

Torre, had an interesting year in 1996. He took the team he was managing, the New York Yankees, to the World Series while his older brother was in the hospital awaiting a heart transplant. Interesting, but I don’t think a profound enough story to make into a film?!

The film was made because the networks thought they could make money from it. That’s usually the bottomline. In reality, no one needs to see this film. For the people who already know the story, they don’t tell us anything we don’t already know – which was the most disappointing thing of all. And for the people who don’t know the story, I don’t think they really care.

See the TOP 100 Baseball Movies of All-Time


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival www.wildsound.ca

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