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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hardball Talk: Harrison Ford to play Branch Rickey in Jackie Robinson biopic

According to Spencer Fordin of MLB.com, Legendary Pictures announced yesterday that Harrison Ford will play Hall of Fame Dodgers’ executive Branch Rickey in a biopic about Jackie Robinson.

Many prominent actors have been mentioned for the role of Rickey over the years, including Robert Redford this past April, but Ford was apparently their top choice. His work in “Cowboys and Aliens” probably put him over the top.

As for Robinson, he’ll be played by the relatively unknown Chadwick Boseman. The 27-year-old has appeared in television shows such as “Lincoln Heights” and NBC’s “Persons Unknown.”

The film, which is appropriated titled “42,” is being written and directed by Brian Helgeland of “L.A. Confidential” and “Mystic River” renown.

Shia LaBeouf will play Branch Rickey’s son who takes over the movie for no reason.

Tripon Posted: December 10, 2011 at 09:41 PM | 110 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, dodgers, history, media, mets, negro leagues, special topics, television, yankees

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   1. robinred Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:06 PM (#4012692)
Hope this is a good movie.
   2. The District Attorney Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:15 PM (#4012698)
I ALREADY INTEGRATE AROUND THE CLOCK!
   3. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:23 PM (#4012704)
In 15 years, Denzel Washington will play Kenny Williams in "81: The Adam Dunn Story" about Dunn's historic 2012 HR record.
   4. BourbonSamurai Is a Lazy Nogoodnik Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:30 PM (#4012708)
catchers...thought they smell bad... on the OUTSIDE...
   5. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:30 PM (#4012709)
Buzzie Bavasi: Sir, the possibility of successfully integrating Major League Baseball is approximately 3,720 to 1.

Branch Rickey: Never tell me the odds!
   6. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:39 PM (#4012711)
"That's great kid - don't get cocky."
   7. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:45 PM (#4012716)
Back door? Good idea.
   8. AndrewJ Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:47 PM (#4012717)
I went to grade school with Harrison Ford's wife. Before she let herself go.
   9. Greg K Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:53 PM (#4012721)
"Boring speech anyway"

- Rickey's last words.
   10. Gamingboy Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:53 PM (#4012722)
I thought there was some sort of project on the way where Robert Redford would be Branch Rickey (although I don't think they ever cast a Robinson*).


*Actually, I have to think that Jackie Robinson is probably in the category of roles that should ALWAYS be done by either a relative unknown or Jackie Robinson. I mean, it's such a iconic individual that to cast a "name" for him would probably not be a good idea as there would be no way a already known actor could live up to the expectations involved. Does anybody know what I mean by this?
   11. Gamingboy Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:54 PM (#4012723)
I went to grade school with Harrison Ford's wife.


Which one?
   12. Greg K Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:56 PM (#4012725)
True Story:

When a bunch of my friends suggested we go see "Mystic River" I kept hearing "Mr. Gribber". Then had a moment of realization in the opening credits. Then forgot forementioned realization and at one point asked the guy next to me about Laurence Fishburne, "so is HE Mr. Gribber?".

The guy in the Pujols thread who said BTF fans are smarter than the average ESPN poster clearly wasn't referring to me.
   13. Greg K Posted: December 10, 2011 at 10:58 PM (#4012727)
Does anybody know what I mean by this?

I know exactly what you mean. I find having a "name" actor takes me out of biopics. Though as a general rule of thumb biopics are about my least favourite type of movie.
I haven't seen that movie, but I've also heard that Jackie Robinson playing Jackie Robinson was a horrendous mistake too.
   14. Gamingboy Posted: December 10, 2011 at 11:05 PM (#4012731)

I haven't seen that movie, but I've also heard that Jackie Robinson playing Jackie Robinson was a horrendous mistake too.


Yeah, but he looked just like him!
   15. PreservedFish Posted: December 10, 2011 at 11:11 PM (#4012735)
Was DiCaprio busy?
   16. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: December 10, 2011 at 11:11 PM (#4012736)
Yeah, an older, fatter version of him. It was, sadly, unwatchable.
   17. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 10, 2011 at 11:15 PM (#4012739)
His work in “Cowboys and Aliens” probably put him over the top.


OK, I've never seen the movie, but it seems a little odd that his work in "Cowboys and Aliens" would give him just that necessary bump to win a coveted role. Was there something particularly Rickeyian about his alien-fighting* performance that really sold the producers of "42" on ol' Harrison's appropriateness for the part?

* Or, cowboy-fighting, whatever the case might be.
   18. Morty Causa Posted: December 10, 2011 at 11:16 PM (#4012742)
The best part of The Jackie Robinson Story is where Marvin Robinson tells his cousin Jackie that this kid from the future brought something called "steroids" with him that maybe is what Jackie's been searching for to break into the big leagues.
   19. The District Attorney Posted: December 10, 2011 at 11:53 PM (#4012768)
I've never seen the movie, but it seems a little odd that his work in "Cowboys and Aliens" would give him just that necessary bump to win a coveted role.
I'm thinking sarcasm.
   20. bobm Posted: December 10, 2011 at 11:54 PM (#4012770)
  Related News: General, Business, Media, Television, History, Negro Leagues, Special Topics, LA Dodgers, NY Mets, NY Yankees


Why the Mets and Yankees tags? Because there's no Brooklyn Dodgers tag? There's no need for another thread about Robinson's NL NY legacy belonging to the Mets, is there?
   21. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 11, 2011 at 12:28 AM (#4012787)
His work in “Cowboys and Aliens” probably put him over the top.


Ford is one of my all-time favorite actors, but his work in that movie was so bad, and the movie so bad, that I walked out of it.
   22. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: December 11, 2011 at 12:37 AM (#4012794)
*Actually, I have to think that Jackie Robinson is probably in the category of roles that should ALWAYS be done by either a relative unknown or Jackie Robinson. I mean, it's such a iconic individual that to cast a "name" for him would probably not be a good idea as there would be no way a already known actor could live up to the expectations involved. Does anybody know what I mean by this?

Yes.
I'm hoping this Chadwick Boseman person talks like Richard Pryor's impression of white people, because that's exactly how Jackie Robinson sounded.
   23. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: December 11, 2011 at 12:46 AM (#4012803)
I haven't seen that movie, but I've also heard that Jackie Robinson playing Jackie Robinson was a horrendous mistake too.

Dick Williams appears in that movie. Yeah, that Dick WIlliams. He's a pitcher who gives up a Robinson home run. Then when the shot cuts to Robinson circling the bases, Williams is suddenly the second baseman somehow.

It's not supposed to be much of a movie.
   24. Tripon Posted: December 11, 2011 at 12:48 AM (#4012806)
Cowboy and Aliens wasn't a bad movie. Not the greatest, but the minimalist plot was intentional and I think if you just enjoyed the movie for what it was, I think you had a good time.

Now Green Lantern, that was a crappy movie.
   25. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: December 11, 2011 at 02:01 AM (#4012860)
This is Rickey calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to be in films. Rickey is the greatest of all time.
   26. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: December 11, 2011 at 02:19 AM (#4012901)
I'm thinking sarcasm.


I didn't pay attention to the source of the FA. I suspect you're right.
   27. McCoy Posted: December 11, 2011 at 02:51 AM (#4012942)
I can't really see Harrison Ford as Branch. Harrison isn't a character actor and he only knows how to play one character, himself. Can anyone here actually imagine him acting?
   28. McCoy Posted: December 11, 2011 at 02:56 AM (#4012949)
Cowboy and Aliens wasn't a bad movie. Not the greatest, but the minimalist plot was intentional and I think if you just enjoyed the movie for what it was, I think you had a good time.

Now Green Lantern, that was a crappy movie.


I'm somebody who simply wants to be entertained when I watch a movie and that movie was pretty much a flatliner. I think Roger Ebert summed it up best when he said something like they could have made one hell of a good western flick with that cast but instead created a pretty crappy mashup.

Just watched "In Time" and it made me wonder why Olivia Wilde can only seem to get stupid parts in Hollywood and if that is true why she left House to do that.
   29. Eric P. Posted: December 11, 2011 at 03:24 AM (#4012979)
Yogi tagged first.
   30. Walt Davis Posted: December 11, 2011 at 03:44 AM (#4012997)
Actually, I have to think that Jackie Robinson is probably in the category of roles that should ALWAYS be done by either a relative unknown

I can see your point (not sure I agree with it) but, realistically, is there a "big name" black actor young enough to play Robinson? I suppose we could CGI Will Smith onto a 25-year-old body.
   31. McCoy Posted: December 11, 2011 at 04:02 AM (#4013008)
Nelsan Ellis and Donald Glover.
   32. Rough Carrigan Posted: December 11, 2011 at 04:02 AM (#4013009)
He's perfect for the role . . as long as Branch Rickey always spoke a half beat too slow.
   33. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 11, 2011 at 04:14 AM (#4013020)
He acts... poorly.
   34. Walt Davis Posted: December 11, 2011 at 11:20 AM (#4013193)
Nelsan Ellis and Donald Glover.

The guy who plays the #5 role on True Blood and the guy who plays the #7 role on Community are "big names"?
   35. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2011 at 01:14 PM (#4013195)
The Jackie Robinson Story was just about what you might have expected from the Hollywood of 1950, and though it might have been improved with (say) Juano Hernandez** in the title role, no sports biopic back then (and maybe even now) had the slightest intention of sticking to actual facts. But mediocre as it was, it was still miles above such cosmic jokes as The Pride of The Yankees or The Babe Ruth Story.

To do this new movie right, it's going to need an actor whose physical movements suggest that he's at least played baseball on the high school or college level, and it's going to take an absolute determination on the part of the screenwriter and the producer to stick to the facts of Robinson's life and not fudge them in order to put over some "higher truth". Whether Hollywood is ever going to be capable of such an accomplishment is still an open question.

OTOH at least we probably won't have any scenes of Jackie cross-dressing and kissing Branch Rickey on the lips, so it won't descend to the level of J. Edgar. Sometimes there is something to be said for family vetting.

**Hernandez is the actor who played the very Jackie Robinson-like Lucas Beauchamp in the 1949 film adaptation of Faulkner's Intruder in the Dust, far and away the most realistically written role given to a black Hollywood actor up to that point.
   36. Morty Causa Posted: December 11, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#4013252)
But mediocre as it was, it was still miles above such cosmic jokes as The Pride of The Yankees or The Babe Ruth Story.


Really? The Jackie Robinson Story is just amateurish. It's embarrassingly painful to watch. It's not in the contest for bad because it doesn't pass a threshold of competence even. It's Plan 9 From Outer Space of biopics.
   37. Brian C Posted: December 11, 2011 at 07:01 PM (#4013370)
OTOH at least we probably won't have any scenes of Jackie cross-dressing and kissing Branch Rickey on the lips, so it won't descend to the level of J. Edgar.

Ha ha, J. Edgar was such s##t. It's the worst movie I've seen this year, and that includes Cowboys & Aliens and Green Lantern. And The Green Hornet, for that matter. And since Redford came up, I'll throw The Conspirator in there also, because it was awful.

But not as bad as J. Edgar. Meanwhile, I'm not sure if a Jackie Robinson movie from the director of A Knight's Tale sounds like all that good of an idea.
   38. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 11, 2011 at 07:19 PM (#4013378)
But mediocre as it was, it was still miles above such cosmic jokes as The Pride of The Yankees or The Babe Ruth Story.

Really? The Jackie Robinson Story is just amateurish.


No question. But those other two were professional in name only. C'mon, Morty, can you even look at the action scenes in those movies without cringing? Gary Cooper (who wasn't even lefthanded, for crissakes) is about as athletic as Helen Keller on a baseball diamond, and as Babe Ruth, William Bendix plays a great Chester A. Riley.

And that's not even counting the cookiecutter portrayal of the Gehrig family, Hollywood ethnic accents included, and the historical fabrications in both films that could fill a book if you tried to list them. I'm not trying to defend The Jackie Robinson Story for a minute, but compared to those Gehrig and Ruth movies, it was like a speeding ticket as opposed to a pair of carjackings. I can see why Billy Crystal might gush over them, but not anyone with a slightly more objective POV.
   39. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: December 12, 2011 at 02:49 PM (#4013850)
I'm not exactly a Yankees fan (to say the very least), but I'd love to see a new version of Pride of the Yankees, with a good young actor in the lead role. (Maybe base it on this book...)
   40. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:09 PM (#4013860)
The problem with doing a biopic on Gehrig is that outside of his extraordinary baseball ability, Lou doesn't seem to be that interesting a guy. He really was just an ordinary fellow. The most interesting thing about him personally was that he was kind of a mama's boy who fell in love with a strong woman, perhaps one very much like his mother, and the two women never got along. They both claimed overlapping territorial rights on Lou. That could be an interesting (and maybe innovative) movie, I think, but I don't see one ever being made in that light.
   41. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:15 PM (#4013862)
I'm not exactly a Yankees fan (to say the very least), but I'd love to see a new version of Pride of the Yankees, with a good young actor in the lead role. (Maybe base it on this book...)

I'd love to see a good movie based on the life of any real baseball player, but I don't think that Hollywood has the slightest capability of doing it. Certain players lend themselves too easily to hagiography (Gehrig, Robinson), while others can too easily be cast as cartoon villains (Cobb, Bonds). And this doesn't even get into the problem of coming up with a group of actors who look as if they've ever swung a bat or thrown a baseball in their entire lives. They're much better off sticking to lovers and gangsters.
   42. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:29 PM (#4013872)
I think a great movie/HBO series type thing could be done on Ted Williams, if the creators could somehow find a way to preclude the lawsuits by his children so as to portray all the elements of his character in conflict with each other. This man was truly a complex figure, even in the most literary sense. Williams is both traditional hero and dark anti-hero. I don't see it as something to be rendered in a straightforward chronological fashion.
   43. Kurt Posted: December 12, 2011 at 03:46 PM (#4013878)
He's perfect for the role . . as long as Branch Rickey always spoke a half beat too slow.

So, a Pat Summerall biopic then.

Murder.............She Wrote.
   44. zonk Posted: December 12, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#4013907)
I think "biopic" would be far and away my least favorite type of film... I think I'd rather sit through a bad romantic comedy than a good biopic.

The only biopic I think I really enjoyed was Patton.

Looking through the list that wikipedia has of "biographical films"... Downfall was excellent, but I guess I wouldn't necessarily call it a 'biography'. I liked Ed Wood OK, though I think it's a bit overrated. Beyond that? Not a whole lot... among sports biopics? It's probably apostasy here - and I'm well aware of the supposed liberties taken by Stump and the movie - but I enjoyed Cobb, though more as a 'buddy film' than a good biopic. I don't really even care for Brian's Song, to be honest.
   45. OsunaSakata Posted: December 12, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#4013915)
Sam Rice is not exactly a household name, but I think he would make a great biopic.
   46. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2011 at 04:56 PM (#4013921)
Just saw In Time. What a waste of a perfectly good sci-fi concept.
   47. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:02 PM (#4013927)
Just saw In Time. What a waste of a perfectly good sci-fi concept.


What a waste of a perfectly good title for the long-awaited Morris Day biopic.
   48. villageidiom Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:02 PM (#4013928)
Branch Rickey: I did not kill Ray Chapman!
Ban Johnson: I don't care!
   49. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:04 PM (#4013931)
Well, if The Ten Commandments is a biopic, that's pretty loose. So here's some entertaining ones at least:

Young Mr. Lincoln (a Ford masterpiece, or close to it)

Sergeant York (a really underrated movie)

They Died With Their Boots On.

Gentleman Jim

The Great Moment (different and interesting, if ultimately a failure)

Chief Crazy Horse (with Victor Mature, no less)

Broken Arrow (James Stewart and Jeff Chandler, a damn fine movie, maybe the best movie ever about racial reconciliation)

Carbine Williams (a really tough portrayal by J. Stewart of a guy who was kind of a horse's ass)

Buffalo Bill (beautifully filmed with Joel McCrea look like a hippie paragon)

Jim Thorpe--All American (a good movie, affecting performance by Lancaster, who was at least an athlete)

Viva Zapata

To Hell and Back (Audie Murphy's life could make a compelling movie--this movie is good, but too nice)

Birdman of Alcatraz (yeah, it's mostly a lie, but it's a fine movie with a superb lead performance)

The Miracle Worker (two excellent performances)

Lawrence of Arabia (definitely a great movie with a great lead performance)
   50. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:05 PM (#4013932)
I think a great movie/HBO series type thing could be done on Ted Williams, if the creators could somehow find a way to preclude the lawsuits by his children so as to portray all the elements of his character in conflict with each other. This man was truly a complex figure, even in the most literary sense. Williams is both traditional hero and dark anti-hero. I don't see it as something to be rendered in a straightforward chronological fashion.

I suppose it's theoretically possible to make a great movie about Williams, Robinson, Cobb, Bonds, or Ruth, since all of those players have multiple sides worthy of exploration. The problem is that you'd have one set of people wanting to cover up all the bad sides and another group wanting to overemphasize them, and you'd wind up with the worst of both worlds. And then you'd have a third group who'd insist on making it "a baseball movie for people who don't necessarily care about baseball," a brilliant idea which leads to cheesy soap operas like Bang The Drum Slowly, though at least that joke had the excuse of being based on a novel rather than a real ballplayer. It's hard enough to find movies of any type that don't shamelessly try to manipulate your emotions, but to try to get great and complicated historical subjects "right" is asking a bit too much of our current corporate-infotainment complex.

----------------------------

I think "biopic" would be far and away my least favorite type of film... I think I'd rather sit through a bad romantic comedy than a good biopic.

The only biopic I think I really enjoyed was Patton.


I agree with your general point, and even with Patton, Hollywood altered his most famous speech to the point where it didn't really convey its full force. Even in 1970, the unvarnished subject was too much for our movie industry to handle.

About the only half-realistic biopic I can remember was Malcolm X, but I'm sure if I saw it again I'd probably start to notice all the discrepancies in that one, too. The late Manning Marable gave only incidental mention to it in his recent Malcolm X biography, which I'm not sure is a good thing or a bad thing.
   51. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#4013934)
Didn't realize their were so many good biopics (usually highly fictionalized).

Ban Johnson. As Bill James said (or something like that), any one day in the life of Johnson would make a great movie
   52. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:13 PM (#4013940)
Gentleman Jim


Heh. Entertaining, sure. In terms of actual accuracy, well, the less said the better. Flynn's hair couldn't hold a candle to the original's.

You could actually make some very interesting films about the lives of several of the elite prizefighters from that era, many of whom were as colorful and boisterous and Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali.
   53. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:14 PM (#4013943)
A great screwball biopic could be made on Ellis Kinder.
   54. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:17 PM (#4013947)
You could actually make some very interesting films about the lives of several of the elite prizefighters from that era, many of whom were as colorful and boisterous and Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali.


Yeah, it's forgotten now, but Jack Dempsey was fully the equal of Babe Ruth as a celebrity in the '20s.

And Paul Newman's biopic of Graziano is actually pretty good; if all too typical '50s fair, it's a superior example thereof.
   55. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:20 PM (#4013951)
Actually, as a TV series thing, I believe the time is ripe for Ball Four. You can say what you couldn't before--it wouldn't have to be sanitized (although, again, there are libel problems to get around) and actors are expected to be more like athletes now. Care and love would be requisites.
   56. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:24 PM (#4013956)
Looking on that list of biopics, I should add that Graziano movie that Morty mentions, plus Serpico, Raging Bull, Bird, and Quiz Show to a list of biopics that are both well made and bear more than a passing resemblance to the real life subject. Then there's also the TV special on Judy Garland that was played to absolute perfection by our greatest living actress, Judy Davis. If you remove the reality condition, then of course you can add as many more as you want. I loved Knute Rockne, All-American myself, even though the real life George Gipp bore little or no resemblance to Ronald Reagan's G-rated portrayal.
   57. zonk Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:25 PM (#4013958)
Actually, as a TV series thing, I believe the time is ripe for Ball Four. You can say what you couldn't before--it wouldn't have to be sanitized (although, again, there are libel problems to get around) and actors are expected to be more like athletes now. Care and love would be requisites.


Wasn't there a short-lived series loosely based on Ball Four back in the 70s or am I thinking of something else...
   58. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:31 PM (#4013966)
Yes, there was. It could never surmount it's potential. Too sanitized, chintzed on production values. Bouton himself starred and actually he wasn't bad. He gave it his all--but his all was all there was to the show. Too bad.
   59. Swoboda is freedom Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:32 PM (#4013968)
Harrison Ford will play Hall of Fame Dodgers’ executive Branch Rickey in a biopic about Jackie Robinson.

Yeah, a kick ass Branch Rickey.
   60. SoSH U at work Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:33 PM (#4013971)
Sam Rice is not exactly a household name, but I think he would make a great biopic.


I see fewer movies than just about anyone, but I'd see that. I find Sam, and his story, to be truly fascinating. He's probably my favorite ballplayer of all-time.
   61. Swoboda is freedom Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:38 PM (#4013977)
Now Green Lantern, that was a crappy movie.

Has Ryan Reynolds ever been in anything good or even made money. He seems to be the next Matthew McConaughey, a really good looking guy who gets cast in a lot of movies, but not a real good actor and none of the movies are any good (Dazed and Confused as an exception)
   62. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:48 PM (#4013984)
Van Wilder.
   63. Red Menace Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:50 PM (#4013990)
I can't wait to see Rickey face the camera, do an exaggerated double take, then flee.
   64. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:51 PM (#4013992)
Really good biopic: An Angel At My Table.
It helps - it helped me, anyway - that it's about a New Zealand author; I didn't know anything about her before I saw the movie.
   65. Tuque Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:53 PM (#4013994)
Has Ryan Reynolds ever been in anything good or even made money.

He was in Adventureland, which is a really great, heartfelt coming-of-age movie. He was really good in it, too.
   66. The District Attorney Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:56 PM (#4014001)
Downfall was excellent, but I guess I wouldn't necessarily call it a 'biography'.
*rants incoherently*

Has Ryan Reynolds ever been in anything good or even made money. He seems to be the next Matthew McConaughey, a really good looking guy who gets cast in a lot of movies, but not a real good actor and none of the movies are any good (Dazed and Confused as an exception)
Reynolds has his strengths. He might not be the right pick for a romantic comedy where the guy basically stands around bemusedly while Julia/Sandra/Cameron/whoever attempts to radiate cute n' lovable. And if Green Lantern isn't (intentionally) funny, he probably wasn't right for that either. But I think he has charisma and is a good comic actor.
   67. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:56 PM (#4014003)
Looking through the list that wikipedia has of "biographical films"... Downfall was excellent, but I guess I wouldn't necessarily call it a 'biography'. I liked Ed Wood OK, though I think it's a bit overrated. Beyond that? Not a whole lot...


There are some outstanding movies on that list. The Passion of Joan of Arc and Andrei Rublev are both in my all-time top 10, and Alexander Nevsky and A Man For All Seasons are in my top 50 (though AMFAS probably doesn't deserve its place). I'd have a hard time calling the first two biopics in any conventional way. The Passion of Joan of Arc especially -- it's a movie entirely about Maria Falconetti's eyes rather than any historical person.
   68. Lassus Posted: December 12, 2011 at 05:57 PM (#4014004)
I personally didn't find Green Lantern awful, terrible, etc., like Cowboys and Aliens, just uninspired and boring. Blandly average.

To everyone who actually found it AWFUL, I'm curious what you would have done differently?

Edit: Not "the writing", or " it sucked", or "the acting", but specifics.
   69. SoSH U at work Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:00 PM (#4014010)
and Alexander Nevsky and A Man For All Seasons are in my top 50 (though AMFAS probably doesn't deserve its place).


Wait, something is overrated on your own list? I wouldn't think that possible.
   70. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:06 PM (#4014016)
Wait, something is overrated on your own list? I wouldn't think that possible.


Yeah, that doesn't make sense the way I wrote it. I meant that it's on my personal top 50, but I acknowledge that it's not really one of the best 50 movies ever made.
   71. PreservedFish Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#4014017)
We need to make a distinction between the two types of biopics:

A true biopic is really a movie biography: that is, it spans an entire life, or most of it. A Beautiful Mind, The Aviator, J. Edgar are recent high profile examples.

A lesser biopic isn't really a movie biography, it's just a true story that focuses on a single historical character and a more limited series of events. I think this format is a lot easier to pull off, and so it has most of the really good biopics: Ed Wood, Patton, Lawrence of Arabia.
   72. PreservedFish Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:09 PM (#4014020)
Actually, as a TV series thing, I believe the time is ripe for Ball Four.


I can absolutely see this, spun as a kind of Mad Men in baseball.
   73. zonk Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:10 PM (#4014022)
There are some outstanding movies on that list. The Passion of Joan of Arc and Andrei Rublev are both in my all-time top 10, and Alexander Nevsky and A Man For All Seasons are in my top 50 (though AMFAS probably doesn't deserve its place). I'd have a hard time calling the first two biopics in any conventional way. The Passion of Joan of Arc especially -- it's a movie entirely about Maria Falconetti's eyes rather than any historical person.


I do like Nevsky quite a bit -- I happened to take a Russian history course in college right about the time restored versions with re-recorded score were being released in the early 90s, and being exposed to the film and Eisenstein was a highlight even in a very good class.
   74. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:18 PM (#4014029)
Yeah, it's forgotten now, but Jack Dempsey was fully the equal of Babe Ruth as a celebrity in the '20s.


The equal? Dempsey surpassed the Babe as a sports icon during the 1920s. Babe Ruth's peak salary was $80,000 for a season, which he reached in 1931. A full 10 years earlier Jack Dempsey's manager turned down a $500,000 guarantee for the champ's fight with French war hero Georges Carpentier in favor of a 36% cut of the gate, which ended up being worth a tidy $600,000. Check out the crowd. Now admittedly Carpentier sold lots of those tickets himself, but this fight really cemented Dempsey's status as America's preeminent athletic icon, so much so that he hardly fought afterwards, instead raking in fat checks by starring in a series of awful action serials.

Dempsey 1926 title defense against Gene Tunney drew a crowd of 120,000 for which Jack took home $711,000 in a losing effort. The 1927 rematch earned Tunney a winner's purse of $990,000, a figure so far beyond what any athlete had ever earned that it was surpassed for decades, and Dempsey was the draw, not Tunney (as evidenced by any of Tunney's non-Dempsey purses).

There were other big sports stars in the 1920s, Bill Tilden, Red Grange, the Babe, but Dempsey was above 'em all.
   75. McCoy Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:26 PM (#4014038)
Jack Dempsey's manager turned down a $500,000 guarantee for the champ's fight with French war hero Georges Carpentier in favor of a 36% cut of the gate, which ended up being worth a tidy $600,000. Check out the crowd.

If you look you can see "Nucky" Thompson in the lower right hand corner.
   76. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#4014054)
If you look you can see "Nucky" Thompson in the lower right hand corner.


Heh. The guy they have playing Dempsey on that show fairly looks the part, but he sure doesn't sound it (Jack had a squeaky voice, which undoubtedly made it easy for him to get mining town toughs into the ring with him during his hobo days) and obviously he bears no resemblance in the ring.
   77. bads85 Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:50 PM (#4014065)
And then you'd have a third group who'd insist on making it "a baseball movie for people who don't necessarily care about baseball," a brilliant idea which leads to cheesy soap operas like Bang The Drum Slowly, though at least that joke had the excuse of being based on a novel rather than a real ballplayer.


What Hollywood did to Bang The Drum Slowly was criminal. That was a fabulous novel by Mark Harris that was turned to a garbage on film.
   78. Swoboda is freedom Posted: December 12, 2011 at 06:55 PM (#4014070)
What Hollywood did to Bang The Drum Slowly was criminal.

Robert De Niro's swing in the movie is what is really criminal. One of the worst baseball movies for the portrayal of actual play.
   79. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:00 PM (#4014074)
Branch Rickey: I did not kill Ray Chapman!
Ban Johnson: I don't care!


Give this man a year's supply of ProVasic.
   80. Jay Seaver Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:12 PM (#4014093)
Has Ryan Reynolds ever been in anything good or even made money?

Check out Buried. Tiny theatrical run, but it's almost all him and some amazingly good cinematography for a film set entirely in a coffin-sized box.

To everyone who actually found [Green Lantern] AWFUL, I'm curious what you would have done differently?

Given it to Stephen Sommers and let him go nuts. Sommers's need to fill every inch of the screen with CGI would have been an asset in that movie, and for all his faults, he is pretty good at creating an atmosphere of big, fun adventure. The folks involved seemed to have no idea that things like "the green energy of will and the yellow energy of fear" cannot be said with a straight face. I'd also have kept Geoff Johns the hell away from the script and set, cast Loretta Devine as Amanda Waller, and resisted whatever blackmail material Blake Lively's agent has that keeps her getting cast in movies.

As for Cowboys & Aliens, hey, Ford was the best part of that movie. It's criminal that he hasn't really been in a straight Western since appearing on an episode or two of Gunsmoke when he was young (The Frisco Kid basically being a Gene Wilder comedy). Supposedly he's signed to play Wyatt Earp in a thing about him during his latter days in Hollywood, but somebody really needs to cast him in a real Western while it's still possible.
   81. PreservedFish Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:19 PM (#4014103)
Supposedly he's signed to play Wyatt Earp in a thing about him during his latter days in Hollywood,


Someone stole my idea! I was going to write a screenplay based on this subject for a competition. Then I realized that I have no ability to write screenplays.
   82. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#4014105)
I thought Ryan Reynolds was in "Wet Hot American Summer"--who am I thinking of?
   83. Jay Seaver Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#4014107)
Well, it's also been done before...
   84. Jay Seaver Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:26 PM (#4014111)
82 - Paul Rudd?
   85. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:29 PM (#4014114)
Nevsky ?

If we're going to get all high-tone arsty-fartsy foreign filmy here, Abel Gance's Napoleon is right up there, too.
   86. PreservedFish Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:29 PM (#4014115)
#83 - I wasn't aware of that movie. But that one looks like it sucks. My movie was about Wyatt Earp mentoring a young JohnFordy director. My movie would have been awesome, if I had been able to think of a plot.
   87. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:39 PM (#4014132)
Robert De Niro's swing in the movie is what is really criminal. One of the worst baseball movies for the portrayal of actual play.

not as bad as Tony Perkins throwing in Fear Strikes Out.
   88. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:39 PM (#4014134)
What Hollywood did to Bang The Drum Slowly was criminal.


Robert De Niro's swing in the movie is what is really criminal. One of the worst baseball movies for the portrayal of actual play.

Not to mention that 225 mile pop fly that rose in Shea Stadium and was caught in RFK Stadium. That was straight out of a Satchel Paige story. When Hollywood wants to do a sports movie, it should just stick to boxing and wrestling.
   89. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:43 PM (#4014141)
Robert De Niro's swing in the movie is what is really criminal. One of the worst baseball movies for the portrayal of actual play.


not as bad as Tony Perkins throwing in Fear Strikes Out.

Or any worse than Paul Newman or Tom Cruise trying to look like pool players. Though Newman played his characters very well in both The Hustler and The Color of Money---until he got down over the table and looked like John Kruk against Randy Johnson, and Cruise was even more clueless.
   90. Morty Causa Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#4014151)
Guys, it's hard enough finding an actor for a role in a movie, much less one that is also an athlete, and an athlete who can't act is a whole lot worse than an actor who can't athlete. Besides, that's when that thing you learned about in high school English class--suspension of disbelief--is supposed to kick in.
   91. Brian C Posted: December 12, 2011 at 07:53 PM (#4014163)
being exposed to the film and Eisenstein was a highlight even in a very good class.

Hey zonk, if you're in Chicago, the Gene Siskel Film Center has an Eisenstein series in January, with 35mm prints, live accompaniment for the silents, etc. Definitely figures to be awesome.
   92. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: December 12, 2011 at 08:18 PM (#4014209)
Guys, it's hard enough finding an actor for a role in a movie, much less one that is also an athlete, and an athlete who can't act is a whole lot worse than an actor who can't athlete. Besides, that's when that thing you learned about in high school English class--suspension of disbelief--is supposed to kick in.

yeah, well--sometimes that's hard. Now that I think about, Tony Perkins hits the exacta because he was also woefully inept-looking as a basketball player in Tall Story. (But he sure looks good in a dress)
   93. Jay Seaver Posted: December 12, 2011 at 08:21 PM (#4014213)
Besides, that's when that thing you learned about in high school English class--suspension of disbelief--is supposed to kick in.

I always tend to think "suspension of belief" is the filmmakers' responsibility, not the audience's. But, if you're making a movie and the point of a scene is to show how good a character is at baseball, you might want to see what you can do about doubling if the guy you hired to act isn't up to it. Especially now, when it's not exactly uncommon to composite an actor's face onto a stuntman's body.
   94. zonk Posted: December 12, 2011 at 08:29 PM (#4014221)
Hey zonk, if you're in Chicago, the Gene Siskel Film Center has an Eisenstein series in January, with 35mm prints, live accompaniment for the silents, etc. Definitely figures to be awesome.


Thanks much for that -- I think I just might to have chuck any NFL plans for the Nevsky/Potemkin double bill and perhaps Ivan I & II as well.
   95. Brian C Posted: December 12, 2011 at 08:37 PM (#4014229)
Thanks much for that -- I think I just might to have chuck any NFL plans for the Nevsky/Potemkin double bill and perhaps Ivan I & II as well.

Potemkin might be the only one I skip. I have the Blu-ray (which is excellent) and I've even seen it theatrically, in fact at the Film Center with (I believe) the same accompanist.

I've never seen Strike or October, though, so those are big priorities. It's been a few years since I've seen Nevsky and Ivan, so I'll get to those if I can as well, especially Ivan.
   96. kthejoker Posted: December 12, 2011 at 08:53 PM (#4014241)
Great biopics:

Bound for Glory
The Lion in Winter
A Man for All Seasons
Hotel Rwanda
Amadeus
The Last Emperor
   97. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: December 12, 2011 at 09:00 PM (#4014244)
Guys, it's hard enough finding an actor for a role in a movie, much less one that is also an athlete, and an athlete who can't act is a whole lot worse than an actor who can't athlete. Besides, that's when that thing you learned about in high school English class--suspension of disbelief--is supposed to kick in.

The problem for me is that some actors are just so miserably miscast as athletes that I can't stop laughing every time they swing like the proverbial girl, or even better, start going into some triple-pump windmill windup with runners on base. This is why I reach for my revolver when I read that "this is a baseball movie for people who don't have to like baseball." Thanks but no thanks.
   98. esseff Posted: December 12, 2011 at 09:13 PM (#4014263)
Great biopics:


Shine
Gandhi (great at least until Candice Bergen shows up)
My Left Foot

Out of Africa is kinda, sorta autobiographical
   99. cercle Posted: December 12, 2011 at 09:13 PM (#4014264)
Ford has been mailing in performances for well over a decade now. I can't imagine why anybody would cast him in anything.
   100. Brian C Posted: December 12, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#4014286)
Is Amadeus even a biopic? For one thing, it's not actually about Mozart. And for another, it's an almost wholly fictionalized version of Salieri. It's like saying that, say, Aguirre: The Wrath of God is a biopic.
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