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Monday, April 21, 2014

ESPN: W. P. Kinsella: Where It Began: “Shoeless Joe”

Reflections on the 25th Anniversary of Field of Dreams:

I replied that to me, writing a novel was akin to a baker baking a loaf of bread: So long as the buyers pay for the bread, they were free to do with it as they chose. If they made dainty sandwiches, fine. If they fed it to their gerbils, fine. I realized that most books optioned for movies became gerbil food. I’ve never understood authors who are proprietary with their work, fighting any changes of plot or character. All I care about is being properly paid.

“Field of Dreams” was a stunning exception. I wept when I read the finished screenplay. “This is my own work doing this to me,” I said. “How can this happen?”
. . .
I loved the movie. Novels and movies are entirely different art forms. I don’t see how Phil Robinson could have done a better job of successfully transferring one to the other.

How have things changed in the past 25 years since the release of the movie? Fathers and sons still bond playing catch, still attend baseball games together, still share warm and luminous memories of games and players gone but not forgotten.

I have received letters from every part of the world, mainly from younger men, about how the ending of the movie affected them. Moved by those final scenes, men traveled, often thousands of miles, to take their fathers to baseball games, or just to have a catch in the backyard.

Much more in TFA.

The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 21, 2014 at 03:48 PM | 98 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: authors, baseball movies, books, catching, field of dreams, iowa, movies, shoeless joe jackson

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   1. Publius Publicola Posted: April 21, 2014 at 07:40 PM (#4690639)
And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin' home dad?
I don't know when, but we'll get together then son
You know we'll have a good time then
   2. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 21, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4690648)
"Cat's in the Cradle" is reality. I took my dad, then in his 80s, on a train trip across the country about ten years ago. There were no guys we ran across during the trip who weren't really interested in it, and it's clear a lot of guys have something like it on their "someday" list.
   3. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 21, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4690654)
"Cat's in the Cradle" is reality. I took my dad, then in his 80s, on a train trip across the country about ten years ago. There were no guys we ran across during the trip who weren't really interested in it, and it's clear a lot of guys have something like it on their "someday" list.
I'm taking my Dad on a trip to Europe next month for his 70th birthday. He's very healthy for a 70-year old -- in a lot better shape than I am -- but he is 70, and I don't want to wait. (Lost my mother far too young, 15 years ago.) (Of course, after spending a couple of weeks with him, I may want to shove him in front of a train, but we'll play that by ear.)
   4. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 21, 2014 at 08:11 PM (#4690656)
Still haven't read the book, but the movie does get to me, despite the fact that Joe Jackson was, in fact, a left-handed crook, not a right-handed martyr.
   5. winnipegwhip Posted: April 21, 2014 at 10:43 PM (#4690796)
All I can say is I don't think I can leave an elongated comment on this thread no matter which direction it goes without feeling some emotion.

Good for you Rennie. My best wishes on your adventure David.
   6. Lassus Posted: April 21, 2014 at 11:00 PM (#4690807)
My dad worked just about every day if his life from age 5 to age 65 but never had a crazy office job, so I never really felt the Harry Chapin (my college roommate's (late) uncle, actually) thing. We hung out constantly, even after him and my mom broke up when I was 14. He would find a trip to Europe grueling, he's a strict Florida or Vegas man.
   7. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: April 21, 2014 at 11:16 PM (#4690816)
Worst. Baseball. Movie. Ever. Next. to. Bang. The. Drum. Slowly. Worse. Than. A. Root. Canal.
   8. Omineca Greg Posted: April 21, 2014 at 11:25 PM (#4690819)
I met ole' W.P. once, at a book signing. It was a little surreal, as I live in one of the more remote areas in North America...although I guess he does too... but here he was, touring, pressing the flesh, and flogging his books like a carney or a medicine show shyster. I mean hard sell...

Are your books for young people?

They're for all people..young, old and inbetween!

I don't really like baseball...would I still like your book?

Of course, the baseball part is just a vehicle for the real narrative!

I love baseball, is that what you write about?

Baseball, and nothing but!

I'm native, did you appropriate my voice?

My stories are skookum, all the way!

I admired his shameless hucksterism...if he was stuck in the middle of nowhere, he was at least going to move some units.





   9. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 21, 2014 at 11:29 PM (#4690821)
I'm envious of Rennie's trip and wish David best of luck on his.
   10. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 21, 2014 at 11:43 PM (#4690827)
Worst. Baseball. Movie. Ever. Next. to. Bang. The. Drum. Slowly. Worse. Than. A. Root. Canal.

but no worse than a bad cold
   11. base ball chick Posted: April 22, 2014 at 12:17 AM (#4690834)
well
it's not one of mah faves, but then again the only movie i ever saw with kevin costner in it that i didn't hate him is bull durham

i talk to and see mah mama and daddy all the time. and can't imagine taking him on a train trip...

but david,
i sure do hope you and YOUR daddy have a great time> and i'm real sorry about your mama
   12. Eddo Posted: April 22, 2014 at 01:25 AM (#4690851)
Love the movie.

Didn't care for the book at all.

My dad's 74, old for my age. He's still working his ass off - in Belgium now - and makes the time to call me and each of my other siblings regularly. He is the perfect example of a man who both provided and was there for his family. I cannot imagine being the man I am without him as a father.

That's all not so relevant to anything, just felt it wouldn't hurt to give him a much-deserved shout-out somewhere.
   13. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 22, 2014 at 02:02 AM (#4690855)
The book is insufferable; the movie is junk and Costner got outacted by the wheat. My aesthetics may be skewed by my fatal handicap of a father who liked me.
   14. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: April 22, 2014 at 02:20 AM (#4690859)
The part where Samuel L. Jackson shoots the young Moonlight Graham was a shock to me.
   15. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 22, 2014 at 02:44 AM (#4690861)
I love that scene:

"Who's on first, What is on second..."

"Say What again, I dare you! I double dare you, motherfucker."
   16. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: April 22, 2014 at 07:37 AM (#4690877)
"Baseball, MF-er, do you play it...?!"
   17. Canker Soriano Posted: April 22, 2014 at 09:21 AM (#4690931)
I think my favorite part was when they all got in trouble, and they had to call in Randy Wolf to bail them out.
   18. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 22, 2014 at 09:21 AM (#4690932)
I don't care for the movie at all. Whenever I watch it these days, I roll my eyes and snark and point out all the short-comings and inaccuracies. But I well up at the very end, every single time.
   19. Moeball Posted: April 22, 2014 at 09:31 AM (#4690943)
Saw the movie in a virtually empty theater, thought they were showing it just for me. Added to the surrealistic feeling.

Yes, there are flaws, and it's really stupid that some of the stuff they screwed up was easily fixable. For crying out loud, James Earl Jones is sitting there in the bleachers with a Baseball Encyclopedia in his lap, get the years for Moonlight Graham correct, ok? Got a right-handed actor portraying a left-handed Joe Jackson? Hey, guess what? They figured out how to fix that way back in 1941 when Gary Cooper was playing Lou Gehrig and they reversed the film print.

In spite of these and other flaws, however, "People will come, Ray". There will always be a certain segment of the population that will relate to this story in a special way. I am one of those people. For those of you that didn't have this experience resonate with you, I am truly sorry and feel like you somehow missed out on something special. I am curious if there were any other films that did make you stop and think and reevaluate your relationships, that somehow did a better job of reaching you?

I have been very fortunate in my life in a variety of ways. One of those was that my father instilled in me a love of baseball. When I was young, he took me to Anaheim Stadium for the All Star Game in 1967. NL won, 2-1, in 15 innings, longest AS Game ever. We even got to meet Hank Aaron in the parking lot after the game!

22 years later the AS Game returned to Anaheim for the Bo Show and Nolan Ryan's homecoming - but the best part was that I got to take my dad to the game!

He's gone now but at least I still have my memories of him. We never were really that close, but at least we did have the baseball connection.
   20. BDC Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4690971)
but no worse than a bad cold

I love Harpo Marx.

Like Dock Ellis, I don't like Field of Dreams, but find the end is indeed a tearjerker. Well, the one time I saw it, on its first run; I have never wanted to watch it again.

As for Kinsella, all of his novels go on too long, but Shoeless Joe is probably the best. I prefer his short stories because by definition they don't drag on. "The Dixon Cornbelt League" and "Lumpy Drobot, Designated Hitter" are two of my favorites; they have the essence of his eerie magical-realist quality. I might as well link to my Kinsella page, in case people are interested, though I have not kept up with his most recent baseball fiction.
   21. Canker Soriano Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4690981)
As for Kinsella, all of his novels go on too long, but Shoeless Joe is probably the best.

I'm partial to The Iowa Baseball Confederacy myself. I passed through Iowa City at one point and visited the site of the Black Angel.

It would be tough to make as a movie, though. I'm still waiting for someone to figure out how to film Confederacy of Dunces.
   22. Charles S. will not yield to this monkey court Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:23 AM (#4690998)
I roll my eyes and snark and point out all the short-comings and inaccuracies.

You roll your eyes at the inaccuracies of a movie where dead guys come out of a cornfield to play baseball on a field that some magical voice told a farmer to build? I mean once you get past the premise, does it really make sense to complain that Joe Jackson bats from the wrong side of the plate or whatever?

I loved the book and the movie, but I guess if you're looking for reasons to dislike them, you can certainly find some.
   23. Mom makes botox doctors furious Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4691000)
Love that movie. Costner is great in it, and the whole of it is just wonderfully done. But .. note I am a sentimentalist!

Yes, people, take your parents on trips; and should you have children, live with them and give them your time and invest your person into the relationship - the dividends are never ending. There's one life to live, and work is but a slice of it; don't let yourself fall into thinking it's the whole pie.

It's not that I HATE people who put their all into their work - they're just really annoying, and totally misunderstand the nature of 'balance' .... : )
   24. Publius Publicola Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4691001)
The book is insufferable; the movie is junk and Costner got outacted by the wheat.


Wow. That is some acting. I thought for sure it was corn.
   25. Canker Soriano Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:55 AM (#4691028)
It's not that I HATE people who put their all into their work - they're just really annoying, and totally misunderstand the nature of 'balance' .... : )

Are you hiring? Because if I had a boss who felt that way, maybe I wouldn't have woken up at 3:45 this AM to come to work... :)
   26. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4691057)
It was all corn, Publius.
   27. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: April 22, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4691107)
I like the book. I like the movie. I like life.
   28. BDC Posted: April 22, 2014 at 12:02 PM (#4691108)
once you get past the premise, does it really make sense to complain that Joe Jackson bats from the wrong side

This is my favorite pet peeve about the film, too. It's not actually that Jackson bats right, which you're correct about, whatever, fantasy film. It's that Costner throws Jackson a pitch and then, with the authority of the huge Joe Jackson expert he's supposed to be, says "That's right: you were a low-ball hitter."

It's like somebody meeting George Washington in the cornfield, exchanging smiles, and saying knowingly "That's right, you had wooden teeth" while not noticing that Washington is four foot six.
   29. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 22, 2014 at 12:37 PM (#4691127)
I like the book. I like the movie. I like life.

Hmm, that's the exact opposite order of my preference. Big gap between #1 and #2.

Oscar Wilde inadvertantly reviewing "Field of Dreams": "One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing."
   30. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 12:44 PM (#4691134)
I'm with #27, except for the liking life part.
   31. BDC Posted: April 22, 2014 at 12:53 PM (#4691141)
Another Shoeless Joe note: James Earl Jones is fine in the movie, for sure, but one of the offbeat things in the novel is that the character is JD Salinger, setting up an intertextual postmodern motif of dragging a writer into a book. It's cleverly done and holds one's interest. TFA goes into the reasons for changing the character (essentially, apprehension that Salinger would be a ##### about it).
   32. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 01:21 PM (#4691169)
"Cat's in the Cradle" is reality. I took my dad, then in his 80s, on a train trip across the country about ten years ago. There were no guys we ran across during the trip who weren't really interested in it, and it's clear a lot of guys have something like it on their "someday" list.


That sounds awesome. I am definitely putting that on my "to-do" list.

I loved the movie. The book was okay. I have Iowa Baseball Confederacy on my "to-read" list.
   33. Der-K and the statistical werewolves. Posted: April 22, 2014 at 01:38 PM (#4691194)
Not a Field of Dreams fan, as I'm not into most baseball movies or most schmaltz (yeah, there's a heavy overlap).
Kinsella's writing is just okay.
   34. tfbg9 Posted: April 22, 2014 at 01:58 PM (#4691235)
It's like somebody meeting George Washington in the cornfield, exchanging smiles, and saying knowingly "That's right, you had wooden teeth" while not noticing that Washington is four foot six.


Funny.

If you ask me, the best baseball novel of all time is The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop.

I kinda liked "Bang the Drum Slowly". I mean, DiNiro does not pull-off MLB catcher, not even close--he looks like the batboy, but its a decent enough film, it has an atmospheric quality. There aren't any "great" baseball movies. But, IMHO: "Eight Men Out" is the best, Bull Durham is vastly overrated. Also, again in IMHO, the best Costner sports movie is "Tin Cup."



   35. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 22, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4691255)
I love the movie. I love life more (it is longer with better food and more sex).
   36. Rennie's Tenet Posted: April 22, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4691280)
I'm still waiting for someone to figure out how to film Confederacy of Dunces.


It would help if they could keep a fat comedian alive for more than a few years. John Pinette just the latest.
   37. Canker Soriano Posted: April 22, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4691297)
It would help if they could keep a fat comedian alive for more than a few years. John Pinette just the latest.

He was too clean and jolly for the role. You really need someone who seems disgusted with life, and I don't know who that is. Fat and disgusting guys don't seem to be in high demand in mainstream Hollywood.

I think, given the chance to gain 50 or 60 pounds, Philip Seymour Hoffman could have been perfect for it. But there's another one that won't ever happen.
   38. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4691305)
John Goodman in his prime would have been great. Zack Galifinakis has been connected to the role more recently. Louis CK is dishheveled, but I don't see him as Ignatius. How bout Brian Posehn?
   39. Mark S. is bored Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4691306)
I love the movie and the book. I like the whole brother subplot in the book that was dropped from the movie. I don't like the wife in the book who is a stepford baseball wife and has no agency of her own (Amy Madigan made the wife into more of a real person in the movie than she ever was in the book).
   40. Rusty Priske Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:04 PM (#4691307)
Field of Dreams isn't great, but it is perfect, in what it is trying to be... and I love it for that.


To the guy who says the book is too long... uh, what? It is a TINY little book.


I used to say that I liked all of Costner's baseball movies, and pretty much nothing else that he has ever done. Then I rewatched For the Love of the Game and all it made me want to do is go back and rewatch Doc Halladay's perfect game. SO I did. It was better.
   41. Mark S. is bored Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4691314)
I used to say that I liked all of Costner's baseball movies, and pretty much nothing else that he has ever done. Then I rewatched For the Love of the Game and all it made me want to do is go back and rewatch Doc Halladay's perfect game. SO I did. It was better.


For the Love of the Game lost me when they didn't acknowledge the 10-5 rule.
   42. Rusty Priske Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4691316)
double-post
   43. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4691323)
I loved Field of Dreams and Bull Durham. For the Love of the Game was a bit too schmaltzy for me.
   44. BDC Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4691325)
It is a TINY little book

Our senses of "tiny" may differ :) Shoeless Joe is over 250 pages, not War & Peace but hardly a novella. It drags less than The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, which is over 300. These are not doorstop books, but I think they're somewhat too long for their concepts, that's all.

There is an early short version of the story called "Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa" that may be what you're thinking of.
   45. BDC Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4691329)
I think Bull Durham is very well-written. It's stylized; people don't talk that way (despite its overall realism). But you sometimes want a movie where people talk better than in real life.

I still say the original Bad News Bears is the best baseball film, though it's much-imitated and somewhat hard to see now what was so original about it in its day. I very much like Eight Men Out, in a completely different register.
   46. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4691334)
I still say the original Bad News Bears is the best baseball film,


Agree wholeheartedly.
   47. Traderdave Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4691337)
Major League is somewhere on the top 10 list.

   48. Mark S. is bored Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4691341)
Major League is somewhere on the top 10 list.
Of course.
   49. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:34 PM (#4691350)
Long Gone, Major League, Sugar, and Moneyball are my top four baseball movies.
   50. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4691356)
I loved Field of Dreams and Bull Durham. For the Love of the Game was a bit too schmaltzy for me.


I like all three. For some reason the schmaltz in For the love of the game did not bother me and I love the flashbacks during the game conceit (though I recognize it is not for everyone).

Major League is great, but ... if only it was not so very misogynist it would perhaps be number one for me, but I admit it bothers me when I watch it.
   51. winnipegwhip Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4691361)
I always thought The Celebrant would make a good movie.

I think that Bull Durham is the best. I think it reaches the general audience yet doesn't insult the intelligence of the more savvy baseball fans. This is why it succeeds in my opinion. In contrast, Major League may be funny but it is to over the top with its humor and story line. (I still think that but I may be swayed if I experienced a whole season with a Loria-Samsun run baseball team.)

   52. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:42 PM (#4691363)
Major League is great, but ... if only it was not so very misogynist it would perhaps be number one for me, but I admit it bothers me when I watch it.


Nothing I've read here through the years has ever mystified me more than the outsized Primate love for that lightweight, derivative film. It was a perfectly cromulent movie to watch once, but nothing more than that.

The original Bad News Bears is better in every conceivable way.
   53. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4691365)
All major league teams should, of course, be owned by cats. Accordingly, Rhubarb is the best baseball movie ever.
   54. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4691367)
Long Gone,


Wow, I'd actually never heard of that movie, but reading about it on Wiki makes it sound pretty interesting. Thanks for the tip.

I love:
Field of Dreams
Major League
Eight Men Out
The Sandlot
Sugar
The Kid From Left Field

I like:
The Natural
League of their Own
61*
Tiger Town
The Ron Leflore Story
Soul of the Game

I dislike:
Moneyball
For Love of the Game
Little Big League
Major League 2
Angels in the Outfield (remake)
Knuckleball! (documentary)

I hate:
Babe (couldn't even make it through)
Major League 3
The Scout
   55. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4691369)
I recently watched Bad News Bears Go to Japan and of course it was terrible, even by bad baseball movie standards. But bless Tony Curtis for not mailing it in.
   56. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4691370)
I always thought The Celebrant would make a good movie.


A lot of those Matt Christopher books would make decent low budget ABC Family movies.
   57. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4691379)
Wow, I'd actually never heard of that movie, but reading about it on Wiki makes it sound pretty interesting. Thanks for the tip.

Last summer I found the whole thing on YouTube and posted it here. I hadn't seen it in years and years and it was as wonderful as I remembered. Honestly, I think it's the film people think Bull Durham is (disclaimer: I think Bull Durham is just okay).**

Unfortunately it was taken down shortly after that, and it is only available on VHS or laserdisc on the second-hand market. It's a true shame, as I really think it's one of the great lost American films. William Peterson gives a tour-de-force performance, and I can't stand to see the pathetic schlub he's reduced to in CSI these days because of what I remember him from Long Gone.

EDIT: **I've been calling it that since Dayn referred it to as such in the thread I linked. Wanted to give credit where it was due.
   58. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4691383)
any list of "worst of" has to include "The Slugger's Wife" -- drek
   59. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4691384)
I've been meaning to watch Long Gone for years; I think I've got it on VHS. Then again, I've been lazy as all hell about syncing up the one of the universal remotes with the thrift-store VCR I bougt a couple of years ago, the original universal having apparently given up the ghost at some point along the way.
   60. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 03:59 PM (#4691386)
Knuckleball! (documentary)


What's to dislike about this one? I thought it was pretty neat.

Perhaps you have a fear of R.A. Dickey?
   61. winnipegwhip Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4691388)
The Winning Season based on the Dan Gutman book Honus and Me.

I like this one because I was in the movie as a 1909 Pittsburgh Pirate.
   62. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4691389)
What's to dislike about this one? I thought it was pretty neat.

I was personally disappointed and bored. I was hoping for more about the actual physics of a knuckleball, and why it works the way it does. But it's mostly the knuckleballers chumming around.
   63. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4691390)
I like this one because I was in the movie as a 1909 Pittsburgh Pirate.


What was your WAR?
   64. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4691395)
Babe (couldn't even make it through)


You hate pigs? It was my son's (the elder) favorite movie for a couple years. Man he watched it a ton. In our house it was the "Cow Movie". The elder boy has a thing about cows. He loves them, always has, and a cow shows up in the movie.

Oh you meant "The Babe" with John Goodman. Never mind. Mooo.
   65. winnipegwhip Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4691408)
I like this one because I was in the movie as a 1909 Pittsburgh Pirate.


What was your WAR?


Lower than it should be. They have not determined an accurate measurement for bench jockeying at this point.
   66. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:26 PM (#4691409)
Hating on Field of Dreams? Tough crowd, although I guess even here that is the minority view.
   67. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4691412)
What's to dislike about this one? I thought it was pretty neat.


To be honest, I've only made it halfway through so far. I found it dreadfully boring, seemed it was just a story about Tim Wakfield's last season in Boston. Maybe it picks up, I'm sure I'll resume watching it someday.
   68. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4691414)
The Ron Leflore Story

I've always wanted to see this movie. I remember when I was just getting into baseball when I was young and there was a kid's book in the library about Ron LeFlore. I was obviously utterly fascinated by the story, and when I discovered LeVar Burton had done a movie based on him, I was a little irrationally excited, Reading Rainbow fan that I was. Alas, it never came back around on television and it's not readily available right now.
   69. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:41 PM (#4691421)
, it never came back around on television and it's not readily available right now.


A seller on iOffer lists a DVD-R for $15, but that's pretty high. Though there's a "make offer" option, I see.
   70. Sunday silence Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:42 PM (#4691422)
I actually liked Bang the Drum Slowly. Not for DeNiro he was miscast, he does not look like a baseball player or even act like one. However on the positive there is a slo mo where Michael Moriarty throws off the mound and he really has it down right. And the way he talks and carries himself, he reminds me of my uncle who was a minor leaguer. Moriarity pulls it off. And so does that guy who played Frank on Archie Bunker who plays the manager, he is about what you would get if you looked for someone to play Tommy Lasorda. There were a number of scenes that seemed authentic including one with that chick who had recurring role on Three's Company, Lola or whatever. She plays a baseball Annie quite well.

I really think A League of Their Own maybe the best baseball movie. I mean its chicks but it's very watchable and has a decent theme.
   71. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:44 PM (#4691424)
I've always wanted to see this movie. I remember when I was just getting into baseball when I was young and there was a kid's book in the library about Ron LeFlore. I was obviously utterly fascinated by the story, and when I discovered LeVar Burton had done a movie based on him, I was a little irrationally excited, Reading Rainbow fan that I was. Alas, it never came back around on television and it's not readily available right now.


I'll always remember one line from that movie, and have been known to recite it at the ballyard on occasion. Ron was playing in a prison game when he launched a pitch over the exterior wall. One of the fellow cons yelled out, "I"ll go get it." Ten-year-old SoSH thought that was the funniest damn thing.

   72. winnipegwhip Posted: April 22, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4691436)
However on the positive there is a slo mo where Michael Moriarty throws off the mound and he really has it down right. And the way he talks and carries himself, he reminds me of my uncle who was a minor leaguer. Moriarity pulls it off.


It is in his genes.

His grandfather
   73. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: April 22, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4691442)
Moriarty was the Old Perfessor.
   74. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: April 22, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4691474)
Speaking of horrible baseball movies, I'm not sure how much this qualifies as a baseball movie but "The Fan" is pretty horrible as is "Trouble with the Curve"
   75. McCoy Posted: April 22, 2014 at 06:37 PM (#4691497)
Any baseball movie with Keanu Reeves in it will be terrible.
   76. Perry Posted: April 22, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4691498)
Another vote for Long Gone as the unknown great baseball movie. I own it on VHS; why it's not on DVD is a mystery, since (1) it's freaking great, and (2) it has early performances from some people who went on to pretty significant careers (William Petersen, Virginia Madsen, Dermot Mulroney). Plus Henry Gibson and a speaking part for Teller!
   77. McCoy Posted: April 22, 2014 at 06:44 PM (#4691502)
I saw parts of Long Gone many years ago. I don't think I saw the end of it as I had to leave for work. Wasn't boring and was definitely was in that TV movie level of story quality.
   78. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 22, 2014 at 06:53 PM (#4691506)
The elder boy has a thing about cows. He loves them, always has, and a cow shows up in the movie.


Encourage this. Encourage your children to be weird. Being weird is the best.
   79. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: April 22, 2014 at 07:25 PM (#4691527)
why it's not on DVD is a mystery,

IANAL but I wonder if it has to do with the song. Maybe the license expired, and what the Hank Williams estate wants for it to be re-upped is too much for HBO's blood.
   80. Publius Publicola Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:11 PM (#4691631)
And so does that guy who played Frank on Archie Bunker


Vincent Gardenia.
   81. Publius Publicola Posted: April 22, 2014 at 10:14 PM (#4691632)
I think they should make a movie of A False Spring. It's about time they did a non-romantic sports movie.
   82. Perry Posted: April 22, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4691668)
why it's not on DVD is a mystery,

IANAL but I wonder if it has to do with the song. Maybe the license expired, and what the Hank Williams estate wants for it to be re-upped is too much for HBO's blood.


Interesting idea. I remember the Coen Bros. had an issue with music on Blood Simple. When it came out in theaters the song on the jukebox in a bar scene and then later over the closing credits was the Four Tops' "Same Old Song." But for the initial video release they couldn't keep the rights and replaced it with a cover of the Monkees' "I'm a Believer," which worked just as well but was quite jarring when you were expecting "Same Old Song."

But I guess you couldn't replace "Long Gone" when the movie is called Long Gone.
   83. Bitter Mouse Posted: April 23, 2014 at 07:57 AM (#4691726)
Encourage this. Encourage your children to be weird. Being weird is the best.


Agree. I love both my boys, and I would love them even if they were not weird. But they take after their parents and are plenty odd.
   84. CFiJ Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4691767)
I always thought Field of Dreams was okay. Some nice acting by Jones and Lancaster, some crappy acting by Amy Madigan, some middle of the road acting by Costner and Liotta. Decent enough, but I couldn't say it really affected me.

Then my dad died.
   85. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:36 AM (#4691772)
Since I have a soul, unlike (as goes without saying, considering his Yankees fanhood) Andy & certain others in this thread, I'd probably think highly of Field of Dreams even if my dad hadn't died when I was 7 ... but yeah, that can't be ruled out as a factor.

(Needless to say, I guess, we never played catch. Not only was he never around, but I doubt that I ever played catch in my life, at least with a baseball & glove, till I started little league the following summer. I do have vague memories of trying to play catch with my mother, or more likely having her throw while I tried to bat, & overhearing her cry about it on the phone to someone. Ouch.)
   86. CFiJ Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:38 AM (#4691774)
For the Love of the Game lost me when they didn't acknowledge the 10-5 rule.

Same here, though I give them credit for ending the perfect game with a 6-3 put out.

Personally, I love:
The Natural
Major League
Bull Durham

I like:
Field of Dreams
The Sandlot
Eight Men Out

I'm indifferent on:
Most other baseball movies. Generally, they aren't good. Or at least, the baseball isn't.

I hate:
Mr. Baseball (for reasons related to Japan more than baseball)
Summer Catch (No, seriously, this is how bullshit it is. Shaggy has trouble adjusting to the wooden bats of the Cape Cod league, and this is demonstrated by...having him strike out all the time.)
   87. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:43 AM (#4691778)
I do really, really like Eight Men Out. Then again, John Sayles is my favorite director.
   88. Traderdave Posted: April 23, 2014 at 09:58 AM (#4691796)
Nothing I've read here through the years has ever mystified me more than the outsized Primate love for that lightweight, derivative film. It was a perfectly cromulent movie to watch once, but nothing more than that. 

The original Bad News Bears is better in every conceivable way. 


Agree that BNB is a better film, but ML is just plain FUN. It's not overly serious dreck the FoD or The Natural. It's not absolute crap like so many, if not most, other baseball movies. Citizen Kane it aint, but it captures clubhouse camaraderie very well and is genuinely funny. Great fun to kick back with a few pals and a few beers and laugh.

I suspect that "outsize primate love" you observe stems from age demographics. A very large number of us cut our teeth on snarky 80's movies with catch-phrases galore. Perhaps Major League is the baseball version of Fletch: fun to watch with your pals.
   89. a fatty cow that need two seats (cough, cough) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4691800)
for reasons related to Japan


...awkward
   90. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4691805)
IANAL


I want to express in the most respectful possible way that this acronym freaks me the #### out.
   91. a fatty cow that need two seats (cough, cough) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4691823)
Can't be considered a baseball movie, but the last quarter or third of The Naked Gun was and remains one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
   92. Flynn Posted: April 23, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4691827)
I showed my wife Major League as a fun baseball movie and she loved it. Laughed out loud several times, and there's a decent number of "that guys" in there (obviously Dennis Haysbert from 24, but the janitor from Scrubs has a line as one of the construction workers cussing out the Indians, Chelcie Ross was better known to her as Conrad Hilton in Mad Men).

I'm pretty sure it's also the most popular movie among actual ballplayers, which is not unexpected for a sophomoric comedy, but should count for something. Slap Shot has an even more exalted status in hockey, but it was a little bit disappointing - at times you're unsure there's even a plot. Plus some of those guys could play (Paul Newman looks surprisingly competent and Michael Ontkean was a star at UNH) and they just went with more fight scenes instead. Still funny as hell though.
   93. BDC Posted: April 23, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4691853)
I like Major League. It's not one of the sophomoric comedies that I quote continuously till the people
around me go mad (I reserve that for Airplane and Police Squad :), but it's a fun movie.
   94. Rusty Priske Posted: April 23, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4691877)
Our senses of "tiny" may differ :) Shoeless Joe is over 250 pages, not War & Peace but hardly a novella. It drags less than The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, which is over 300. These are not doorstop books, but I think they're somewhat too long for their concepts, that's all.

There is an early short version of the story called "Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa" that may be what you're thinking of.


Nope. I don't consider 'over 250 pages' a long book. Anything under 300 is short.
   95. BDC Posted: April 23, 2014 at 11:07 AM (#4691897)
Fair enough, Rusty. As I said to a date once, we'll agree to disagree on the definition of "short."
   96. simon bedford Posted: April 23, 2014 at 11:29 AM (#4691932)
the book is about the 50s and how families hid behind a facade of the "werent those days great myth" that still seems to crop up today, the use of salinger as the author was
important to place this in a post war context...a generational gap movie between a 50s father and son is pretty rare,,,the movie cops for the easy way out, moves the story
up an entire decade, generational gap movies about the 60s are a dime a dozen...the type of baseball played in the 50s is also relevant to the original story,,not so much at
all to the 60s version,,,,i cant see how anyone could prefer the movie.
   97. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4691946)
Major League was I think the first R-rated movie I ever saw (with my dad, since I was like 12). That was like the perfect movie for me at that time. I was WAY into baseball, I loved sophomoric comedy, the humor is perfect for 12 year old and I felt old because I got to watch an R-rated movie. So I will always love that movie no matter what.
   98. OsunaSakata Posted: April 23, 2014 at 10:45 PM (#4692843)

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