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
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97th Best Baseball Movie of All-Time: TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE

Clint Eastwood’s longtime 1st Assistant Director, Robert Lorenz, has a movie he wants to make about baseball. The anti-Moneyball as you can say. (Or, the other side of the baseball world and why the Moneyball people stink movie).

Eastwood is a loyal guy. If you look at his crews from the time he started directing movies until now you’ll see that he constantly works with the same crew members. And most of them upgrade their positions film by film. For example: An Electrician becomes the Gaffer. The Camera Operator gets to DP a film. A Production Assistant eventually becomes the Location Manager. And so on. Eastwood has created quite a legacy with the behind the scenes maneuverings of his films.

So when Lorenz send him a script that he wants to direct, Eastwood helps him out and attaches his name to the project.

I can’t say a bad thing about Eastwood. He did the loyal thing. I personally wished this movie wasn’t made, but perhaps that’s my own issue. But here are my top 5 my reasons why:

1) Gran Torino was the perfect film for Eastwood to call it an acting career. It was his John Elway riding off into the sunset movie. That role defines everything about his acting career. Gruff. Nice. Angry. Sad. LOYAL. A man who will take the law into his own hands if he feels it’s the right thing to do. And while he does it, he’s always a step ahead of everyone else. The perfect film! But his loyalty got him to do Trouble with the Curve. I wonder if he even likes baseball.

2) The movie’s blue chip prospect baseball player doesn’t look like a baseball player, much less the #1 pick in the draft. It’s insulting.

3) Justin Timberlake plays a recently retired ballplayer turned scout. His job is to scout the potential #1 pick in the draft all by himself for his team. So in a mult-billion dollar business like baseball, you send a rookie to take care of the most important job in the company….all by himself? Does that make any sense?

4) Eastwood is blind, but he can understand everything about a ballplayer with the crack of the bat! Okay….so all the other fundamentals to what makes a baseball player doesn’t make a difference? Say what?

5) The old scout is right and the saber-metric “Moneyball” Ivy-League graduate kids are wrong. That is the theme of the movie. Very black and white summary that is riddled with errors.

I have a list of about 20 more reasons why this movie really bothers me, but I have said my peace.

A happy note: Eastwood is entertaining in his role as the old scout losing his eyesight. And Amy Adams is truly great playing his daughter. She’s just fun to watch, especially with her scenes with Timberlake. I bought their relationship.

But it’s still the 97th best baseball movie ever made.

See the TOP 100 Baseball Movie List:

http://www.wildsound-filmmaking-feedback-events.com/baseball_movie.html

98th best Baseball Movie of all time – HEADIN HOME, 1920

Headin Home is the fictionalized version of how Babe Ruth became Babe Ruth. Of course, as in most propaganda/promotion videos about a person or organization, none of it is really true.

1920 was an interesting time as Babe Ruth just got “traded” to the New York Yankees from the Boston Red Sox. He was becoming one of the great players in the game and the Red Sox owner, Harry Frazee, who was more interested in Broadway Plays than baseball, basically sold Ruth to the Yankees for $100,000 so he could produce a Musical, which eventually went bankrupt. He needed the money and the Yankees were more than happy to give it to him in exchange for Ruth.

So before Ruth played a game for the Yankees, he starred as the fictionalized version of himself in this silent film. It was a great way to promote the legend of Babe Ruth to jump start his Yankee career.

In the film, Ruth was born and raised in a small town and wasn’t very good at baseball in his childhood years. In reality, Ruth was born and raised in the big city of Baltimore and was a natural at the sport from the moment he picked up his first bat. But that didn’t translate well for most of the kids around America, so they changed the narrative.

The film really isn’t all that great because there really isn’t any sort of conflict in it. A boy (Ruth) gets mad at his peers for them making fun of his lack of baseball skills, so he takes out his anger when he’s up to bat and hits a gigantic home run. From there, he becomes great and turns into a major league baseball player. He finds love, marries, and all is dandy. That is the story.

The film did poor at the box office and Ruth made the biggest error of them all. He was paid $25,000 for the film, which is about $280,000 today, but he never cashed the check. He just had it in his wallet for months so he could take it out and brag about it to his cronies. When he finally went to the bank to cash the check, it bounced because the Film Studios went bankrupt because of the lack of box office from the film.

And that’s the best story of Headin Home. Watch if you’re a fan of baseball history and Babe Ruth.

97 more baseball movies to go.

– Matthew Toffolo

99th Top Baseball Movie of All-Time – BAD LIEUTENANT.

Again, is Bad Lieutenant a baseball movie? Read the Top 100 baseball movies of all-time list:

http://www.wildsound-filmmaking-feedback-events.com/baseball_movie.html

I’ll say yes because it’s the best portrayal of gambling on baseball. And the top 100 baseball movie list had to have at least one film on baseball and gambling because it has much more relevance for the popularity of the game than people perhaps realize. Everyday from April to October, you can make a bet on a baseball game and trust me many people do, which forces them to watch the game which increases the overall appeal and ratings of the game.

Bad Lieutenant is the movie that teaches you why you shouldn’t chase your bets when gambling on sports. Or, perhaps you shouldn’t gamble on sports at all!

As the main character (played brilliantly by Harvey Keitel) drives himself into complete destruction by overindulging on the mainstream addiction tri-fecta – drugs, alcohol and gambling, while also finding God as he attempts to find the man who raped a Nun; What holds the plot together is what will happen between the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the phantom NLCS. If Keitel wins his bet, he will live. If he loses the bet, he’s not going to survive.

A film a bit ahead of its time as our main protagonist is a really bad guy. Hence the title. He’s very difficult to like. He’s pre-Tony Soprano and Walter White. But there is sometime fascinating about him as he tries to find meaning in his life, while we try to find it with him while watching.

A movie that’s mostly known for Keitel actually shooting up real Heroin in a scene. Some said that he was a true method actor, which is kind of BS as it is now documented that he did have a major drug problem while filming.

Read the review by Fredric Hammarlund

http://www.wildsound-filmmaking-feedback-events.com/bad_lieutenant.html

100th Greatest Baseball Movie of All-Time – The Naked Gun

Is The Naked Gun a baseball movie?

It technically isn’t, but it’s on the Top 100 Baseball movies of all-time list because it has perhaps the funniest 20 minute sports movie scene ever.

Take a look at the Baseball Top 100 Movie List:

http://www.wildsound-filmmaking-feedback-events.com/baseball_movie.html

Watching this scene as a kid had me laughing so hard I think it was the first time I cried while giggling. I didn’t know that could happen. Every year, I pop this moment on my television and notice something new.

To break it down, Frank’s looking for a bomb that’s going to kill the Queen of England who has attended the game. The California Angels are hosting (at the wrong ballpark as they are playing at Dodger Stadium) the Seattle Mariners for the pennant. It’s a big game. So Frank goes undercover as the Home Plate Umpire and shenanigans take place.

Here are some highlight clips:

The highlight when they are doing a parody on the baseball bloopers and a Tiger runs out to 2nd base and attacks the fielder. Totally random stuff. Even Reggie Jackson makes a cameo as the one who’s going to “kill the Queen”.

So while it’s technically NOT a baseball movie, it deserves to be on the list because it has the best baseball movie moments. So there.