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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Keith Law: Moneyball

I’m sorta reminded of the time Effin’ Stink Lad (non-LOSH) cruised a dump on D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage because he was too close to the action.

Moneyball, the movie, is an absolute mess of a film, the type of muddled end product you’d expect from a project that took several years and went through multiple writers and directors. Even good performances by a cast of big names and some clever makeup work couldn’t save this movie, and if I hadnt been planning to review it, I would have walked out.

...Then there’s the baseball stuff, which is not good. For starters, the lampooning of scouts, which draws from the book, isn’t any more welcome on screen (where some of the scouts are played by actual scouts) than it was on the page; they are set up as dim-witted bowling pins for Beane and Brand to knock down with their spreadsheets. It’s cheap writing, and unfair to the real people being depicted. Current Oakland scouting director Eric Kubota also gets murdered in a drive-by line that depicts him as a clueless intern given the head scouting role after Beane fires Grady Fuson in April after a clubhouse argument (that never really happened). I’ll confess to laughing at the scout referring to “this Bill James bullshit,” although the A’s bought into that bullshit years before the film claims they did - and, in fact, hired Paul Depodesta three years before the movie-A’s hired Brand. (In the film, Fuson refers to Brand as “Google boy,” a term applied to Depodesta by Luddite beat writers in LA three years later.)

 

Repoz Posted: September 14, 2011 at 10:46 AM | 326 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics, books, media, reviews, site news

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   101. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#3924724)
How about movies you had no expectations of, in fact, probably expected them to suck, but ended up enjoying?

Kicking & Screaming. I'm a huge Ferrell fan, but didn't think this movie would be any good because of it was rated either G or PG. I was really bored one day and decided I would watch it and I enjoy(ed) it enough to say it's probably one of my 5 favorite Ferrell movies.

EDIT: Forgetting Sarah Marshall was also unexpectedly great. And ATL (shut up).
   102. Traderdave Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#3924725)
Can someone explain what it means to MST3K a movie?
   103. Banta Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:17 PM (#3924726)
Pirates of the Caribbean (the original)

Yup, I went into that expecting nothing and enjoyed the hell out of it. I mean, how could anyone expect anything out of a movie based on a ride?
   104. Dale Sams Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:18 PM (#3924729)
How about movies you had no expectations of, in fact, probably expected them to suck, but ended up enjoying?


Can't Hardly Wait
Starship Troopers
   105. Randy Jones Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#3924732)
The only time I have ever walked out on a movie was in college when my roommate and I spent every Friday for 3 years going to the movies in the morning and skipping around to see 3(or more) movies each time. There were a couple times where we were stuck with 45-60 min to waste while there were absolutely no movies we wanted to see. Not sure if that actually counts, but we saw parts of some awful movies. This is how I ended up seeing the Mod Squad movie and other such masterpieces. We also got to MSTK3 many movies, as the 11am and 1pm showings of movies tended to be just us or us and some elderly couples.
   106. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#3924733)
How about movies you had no expectations of, in fact, probably expected them to suck, but ended up enjoying?

For me, this is usually left-wing documentaries - a category my GF loves, and I usually expect to pretty much tell me what I already know or think or both, so I want to skip 'em. Especially if there's a criminal-justice theme, because I'm a defense lawyer, and I sort of go in thinking "busman's holiday."
Just this year, though, two of those movies - "Crime After Crime" and "Shakespeare Behind Bars" - turned out to be fantastically good.

Another GF discovery: "You Can Count On Me." Everything about it sounded like a Lifetime TV drama, but it was way, way better than that.

EDIT: "Superbad" worked in the opposite direction. GF was very reluctant to see it, demanding to know "OK, your friends liked it, some critics liked it... who? Specifically. Did any women like it?" Etc. And then she ended up laughing her ass off.
   107. Daunte Vicknabbit! Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:21 PM (#3924735)
Never walked out, to my recollection. Funniest other people walkout was when I saw "Dave Chapelle's Block Party" with three friends Freshman year. About 20 people in the theater at the start, by the time Dave started joking about how disappointed in the movie everyone expecting "I'm Rick James, #####!" Would be, the theater was empty except the 4 of us. Apparently southern white college males never understood the satire in Chapelle's humor, nor his love of those trampled underfoot and great hip-hop.
   108. BDC Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:21 PM (#3924736)
Have you ever been the ONLY person watching a movie?

My son and I were the only two people at a matinee of The Future of Food, one of those anti-agribusiness documentaries – a few years ago, at the Waverly in New York. Cute little auditorium with an old-fashioned curtain across the screen and nobody in the audience.

movies you had no expectations of, in fact, probably expected them to suck, but ended up enjoying?

BASEketball.
   109. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3924737)
Can someone explain what it means to MST3K a movie?

Mystery Science Theater 3000. Making snarky comments about whatever's going on in the movie. With the right friends and the right film, you can enjoy a bad movie even more than you can enjoy a good movie.
   110. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3924738)

How about movies you had no expectations of, in fact, probably expected them to suck, but ended up enjoying?


Super Troopers definitely. The trailers made it look beyond stupid, but so many people recommended to me and I was crying laughing in the first five minutes.

My wife dragged me to Love, Actually. It wasn't great, but for a rom-com, it wasn't as formulaic and brain-dead as most of them and I enjoyed myself.
   111. Greg K Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#3924740)
Superbad actually surprised me, didn't have very high hopes.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang too...but those are more a case of mediocre hopes which led to greatness.

Actively negative anticipation leading to a worthwhile movie...
Dead Man on Campus? Super Troopers maybe.
Actually in the stupid comedy category I think Hot Rod has to take the cake. There's aboslutely no reason that movie should be anything other than a forgettable clunker in a long line of SNL inspired forgettable clunkers, but it's great.

The Last Word or Dedication might fit. Although those may just be movies that I like that I shouldn't.

EDIT: I see I'm the 4th to bring up Super Troopers. We may have a winner.
   112. Greg K Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:27 PM (#3924744)
Have you ever been the ONLY person watching a movie?

Oddly enough a friend and I watched "The Dark Knight" in an old converted Opera House in Notting Hill once. It's the most beautiful theatre I'v ever been in, had private boxes and a balcony and everything. The IMAX version was sold out for the next 5 years so I assume that's where everyone was.
   113. BDC Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:27 PM (#3924745)
what it means to MST3K a movie?

Almost every movie I see, I exclaim at some point "We have a title!" when the title phrase comes up. Can't do it with every movie, but it often works: when Emma Stone scrawled "The Help" on the top of her tablet this past weekend, I had to say it aloud. Annoying habit, really.
   114. Banta Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#3924748)
The Ladies Man movie is another good one if you had no or negative expectations.

The only movie I've seen with no one else in the theater was the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. Went with one other person.
   115. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#3924749)
I went with a girl to see Election, which I loved and she hated. Despite her ample bosoms, I just couldn't look at her the same way. If she thought Election was too negative a movie, she wasn't going to be able to tolerate me, anyway.


This Election? The ending is pretty brutal...
   116. Greg K Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:31 PM (#3924752)
My wife dragged me to Love, Actually. It wasn't great, but for a rom-com, it wasn't as formulaic and brain-dead as most of them and I enjoyed myself.

Huzzah! I'm not the only one.

Sadly I've also watched the Love Actually commentary, which is pretty funny as it's Bill Nighy and Hugh Grant mocking themselves for an hour and a half. And Hugh Grant letting out some grade-A envy/hatred for Colin Firth.

Along the same lines "Have You Heard About the Morgans" is worth checking out purely for the commentary. From about 5 minutes in Hugh Grant and the director just rip into the movie, while Sarah Jessica Parker's comments consist of saying, "I liked wearing those shoes" every 15 minutes. There's one scene where the director pretty much admits he couldn't bring himself to film that day's work so he asked Bill Murray (who just happened to be visiting someone on set) if he wanted to direct the scene, which he did, since Bill Murray is ####### awesome.
   117. aleskel Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:34 PM (#3924754)
movies you had no expectations of, in fact, probably expected them to suck, but ended up enjoying?

The recent Star Trek remake. The fanboy nerd in me was fully prepared to be disgusted by the cynical hackwork cash-in, but it turned out to be ... pretty good.
   118. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:35 PM (#3924756)
Huzzah! I'm not the only one.

You guys, you guys...ugh. You are traitors to your gender! My girl loves that movie and it makes me want to tear my ####### eyes right out of my head.
   119. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:36 PM (#3924757)
Almost every movie I see, I exclaim at some point "We have a title!" when the title phrase comes up. Can't do it with every movie, but it often works: when Emma Stone scrawled "The Help" on the top of her tablet this past weekend, I had to say it aloud. Annoying habit, really.

I do a little golf clap.
And when somebody says "Let's get out of here" - which somebody always does, eventually - a quiet Marv Albert "Yesssss!"
   120. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:36 PM (#3924758)
How about movies you had no expectations of, in fact, probably expected them to suck, but ended up enjoying?


This one - saw it only because it was assigned for a class. Thoughtful and extremely moving.
   121. billyshears Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#3924759)
Kind of the opposite of Eternal Sunshine for me, which I loved the first time but liked it a bit less the second time.


Agree 100%. Probably the most surprisingly un-rewatchable movie I can think of.

Worst Date Movie: Heat. It's really, really long.

Only person in the theatre: Freejack. Mick Jagger! Emilio Estevez! What could possibly go wrong?
   122. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:37 PM (#3924760)
The recent Star Trek remake. The fanboy nerd in me was fully prepared to be disgusted by the cynical hackwork cash-in, but it turned out to be ... pretty good.

I was impressed they managed some product placement.
   123. Ron J Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:38 PM (#3924761)
Pearl Harbor.

Saw it with my mother and sisters. Wasn't an option to leave early. My mother wasn't very mobile at the time.

My sister and I shared a -- My God it's not over! -- when we realized they were going on to the Dolittle raid.
   124. winnipegwhip Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:40 PM (#3924763)
I walked out of Triumph of the Will.
   125. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#3924765)
I went and saw The Guard a few weeks ago. Funny movie. There were at least 10 people who walked out if it within 15 minutes of it starting. I guess they didn't like the accents.

A very funny film, although subtitles might have helped.

IMHO, the *best* date movie was "Groundhog Day." Didn't hurt that it was released on Valentine's Day.
   126. Kurt Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3924768)
How about movies you had no expectations of, in fact, probably expected them to suck, but ended up enjoying?

Kicking & Screaming. I'm a huge Ferrell fan, but didn't think this movie would be any good because of it was rated either G or PG. I was really bored one day and decided I would watch it and I enjoy(ed) it enough to say it's probably one of my 5 favorite Ferrell movies.


That's funny, I was about to mention the other Kicking and Screaming for this, the Eric Stoltz/Parker Posey/pool guy from Seinfeld one. There are so many great little moments in that movie.

First date: New Jack City. It took me months to recover from that one.
Only one in the theater: One of the Police Academy Movies, maybe 5 or 6
Walkout: Curse of the Were-Rabbit is the only one, but that was only because my kid was scared.
   127. villageidiom Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3924769)
I don't read Law's writing that often, but it's not like he's a grizzled old scout or something like that. The guy majored in applied math at Harvard; he's one of the people who helped popularize sabermetrics around the time that the events in Moneyball were taking place. I see no reason to discount his review simply because of his background.
I discount his review not for his background, but rather that his evaluation of the movie appears inseparable from his background. It is (I hope) possible to have such a background and still be able to set that aside when entering the theatre, and there's nothing I know of Keith to say that he's incapable of it. The review itself suggests to me that, in this instance, his review might reflect more of what he brought into the theatre than what happened once he got there. There are maybe three people who have that background; he's one, and 6 or 7 billion people aren't.

It's worth noting that Keith might have written this review not as an exercise in objectivity, aiming to assist other people in determining if the film is for them, but rather like any other blog post, reflecting subjectively one's experiences on any given day. I don't go to Keith for movie reviews, and I don't mean to hold him to that kind of standard if that's not his aim.
Greeks (and all other ancient Europeans and around half the humanoids in space) have British accents when they speak English. Movies have taught me this.
Enhanced that for you.
   128. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:49 PM (#3924774)
How about movies you had no expectations of, in fact, probably expected them to suck, but ended up enjoying?


Road Warrior. Knew nothing at all about it (or, of course, Mad Max) when my then-sister-in-law & her bf suggested we all go watch it at the drive-in back in early summmer of '82. It's probably one of my 15 or 20 favorite movies of all time.
   129. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:51 PM (#3924777)
I went to see "The Full Monty" with no-to-low expectations, and absolutely loved it. I still keep the soundtrack in my car.

Also "Rosewood"-I went because it had two of my favorite character actors in it (Ving Rhames and Michael Rooker) and there was a free screening on campus. It ended up being a very powerful movie.

********

To combine a couple of this thread's themes: my wife and I went to watch "The Changeup" last month. There was only one other person (an older black woman) in the theater, but she left after about 30 minutes.
   130. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:51 PM (#3924779)
Only one in the theatre? Not sure about that, but probably as often as not I'm one of 3 or 4. The fact that I almost always only watch horror flicks (& then only a couple of a year on the big screen) has something to do with that, I suspect, & also only ever go to matinees. (You'd think more people would be cheapskates, but apparently not.)
   131. Mark S. is bored Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:53 PM (#3924783)
My wife and I took our niece and nephew (7 and 4 at the time) to see The Stupids. If anything the movie undersold how dumb it was. My 7 year old niece actually said "I don't think I should be watching this". Needles to say, we left early.
   132. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:56 PM (#3924785)
I suspect, & also only ever go to matinees. (You'd think more people would be cheapskates, but apparently not.)

Get a job, Grouch!!!
   133. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: September 14, 2011 at 04:58 PM (#3924788)
I had no idea so many people walked out of movies.

Me too. I go to the movies theater around 5 to 9 times a month.* I always use metacritic and reelviews to decide what I'll see. That doesn't stop me from seeing movies that I don't like, but these two sources have enabled me to avoid total duds that force me to walk out of. In looking at the movies that people walked out of, they had disaster written all over them (except for Pulp Fiction).

I don't want to judge Law's review of Moneyball until I see the movie. I did read his review of the Up in the Air and I didn't think it was good. The twist, which he notes comes out of nowhere, is actually subtly foreshadowed and his character analysis is misguided.

* I live near so many movie theaters, it's almost a bit weird. Within two miles of me, there are two AMCs and an Ultraluxe Cinema. Within 4-5 miles, there is a "dollar" theater (used to be two "dollar" theaters near me but one closed), a Regal which has $6 movies all day Sunday, and a Century theater.
   134. BDC Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3924790)
Now that I think of it, my son and I were also the only people in the theater, last year, to see a Chinese film called Aftershock – really a pretty good drama about the horrific Tangshan earthquake of 1976. I still don't understand why that one was playing at the Parks Mall in Arlington, Texas. We have a large-enough Chinese community here, but several Chinese people I talked to said that it would be too upsetting to go see a film like that. Nobody from the usual Paul Blart audience was going to see it, so that left two art-film fans wondering where everybody else was.
   135. Greg K Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3924791)
To combine a couple of this thread's themes: my wife and I went to watch "The Changeup" last month. There was only one other person (an older black woman) in the theater, but she left after about 30 minutes.

Worth the price of admission? I'd like to see a movie and that's the only one playing here in the next little while that I can even fathom possibly having anything resembling a redeeming quality. I really hope Moneyball makes it to my local theatre.
   136. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3924792)
Have you ever been the ONLY person watching a movie?


This movie.
My friend and I saw it during the last showing on the last night at a theatre.
When we came out, the management asked if we wanted the poster and lobby cutout.
Interesting movie, but not enough to want those for my university wall.
   137. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:04 PM (#3924793)
Never walked out of a movie. My father and I did, however, walk out of a play: Little Johnny Jones starring (and I am not making this up) David Cassidy. We're both fans of Yankee Doodle Dandy, and there's one scene where Cagney does a huge dance number. Cassidy just taps his foot and points. By now we're both engaging in a pre-MST3K MSTing, to the annoyance of my mother, sister, and several others sitting around us, but we can't help it.

When they unfurled a giant American flag for no particular reason, we both stood up, climbed over the backs of our seats, and walked out.

First date movie ever: took a girl when I was 14 to see Kramer vs. Kramer. Turns out that's not a great date film.

Have never seen a movie totally alone. However, a year or so ago my wife and kids wanted to see some scary horror thing. I don't do those, so I went and saw Capitalism: A Love Story with about four other people.
   138. Forsch 10 From Navarone (Dayn) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:05 PM (#3924794)
Wasn't prepared to like "The Matador," but I very much enjoyed it. I was also very skeptical about "United 93" going in, but it was excellent.
   139. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:06 PM (#3924795)
Law responds to one of his commenters:

Really enjoyed reading the review Keith, though the truth is that you’re almost certainly too close to the material to bring any real perspective. My first quibble is that it is a movie and not a documentary (even if “based on a true story”), so the departures from reality have to be expected. They also will necessarily dumb down a lot of the inside-baseball details to broaden their audience (and enrage some baseball fans). They’ll also make villains who are not fair representations of the people they represent (whether it is Howe, the scouts, or Carlos Pena). Finally, your complaint about watching Brad Pitt talking on the phone as being boring is then contradicted by your complaint about having a GM fly across the country to complete a trade. As a viewer you want the two actors to be in the same room, not talking to each other over the phone.

Haven’t seen the movie, and it may be terrible because of the army of writers that stuck the fingers in it, but complaining about places where it takes dramatic license seems silly.

Wrong. And I can’t say I took anything you said after your “truth” seriously once you hand-waved away my perspective with an inane accusation of bias.

Yeesh! As my dad would say, "Don't get your water so hot."
   140. Cowboy Popup Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3924798)
Have you ever been the ONLY person watching a movie?

Chill Factor. My friend and I walked to it in the middle of a hurricane that flooded the streets. Not the brightest move. Anyway, it was so deserted that we took off our pants and hung them on nearby seat to let them dry. For those not familiar with Chill Factor:

It's the one where an ice cream truck plays a critical role in defeating biological weapon wielding terrorists.
   141. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:11 PM (#3924800)
Oh, forgot: movies that surprised me.

Superbad is definitely one. My son pushed it on me, and it was one of those I'm-tired-of-arguing things that ended up working in my favor.

On a similar note, The Book of Eli. Another recommendation from my son. My son has odd tastes: he's 20 and certainly enjoys "great" films (Casablanca is one of his faves), but he loves Michael Bay crap and stupid comedies too, so I can't always trust his judgement. (He keeps pushing me to see the Transformers movies, but I refuse.) Finally I relented, and...wow. What a good movie. Yet another recommendation from my son that surprised me: Requiem for a Dream.

Again, I know it sounds like I should just trust his recommendations, but then he goes and recommends Jackass or some Will Ferrell crap.
   142. Spahn Insane Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:12 PM (#3924801)
Worst Date Movie: Heat. It's really, really long.

I saw "Boogie Nights" on a first date, which was probably a bad idea in terms of both length and content.

PREEMPTIVE EDIT: Yes, I reckon there's an obvious "Dirk Diggler's manhood" joke to be made there.
   143. catseyepub Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:14 PM (#3924802)
Walked out of The Fog in 1979 or 1980 I think and I fell asleep to the last James Bond movie released, boy that was a stinker.
   144. bads85 Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:15 PM (#3924804)
Annoying habit, really.


Yes, it is extremely rude. You people need to STFU -- you aren't cute; you aren't amusing; you are just some jackass trying to bring attention to your intellect in a movie theater. The rest of the theater didn't fork down their cash to be entertained by your unfunny ass. You might find yourself clever, but the rest of the theater doesn't. If you want to talk to the movie to illustrate your worth, do it at home.
   145. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:16 PM (#3924805)
Within 4-5 miles, there is a "dollar" theater (used to be two "dollar" theaters near me but one closed),


In North Little Rock I lived about 4 miles from one of those. (Actually, when we first moved there we were 2 blocks from a tiny 2-screener ...). I used average probably 10 movies a month. No such thing here in Montgomery; closest we had was a place that showed second-run flicks, with a small coke (which I couldn't drink, of course) & popcorn (which I couldn't eat, of course) for I think $4.50. Not particularly shockingly, it went out of business about 6 years ago.

*sigh*
   146. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:17 PM (#3924806)
PREEMPTIVE EDIT: Yes, I reckon there's an obvious "Dirk Diggler's manhood" joke to be made there.

There is nothing at all funny about your tragically small dick.
   147. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:19 PM (#3924810)
I'd kind of like to go to this new dolphin with a prosthetic tail movie and MST3K it. That movie is just begging to be snarked.
   148. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:22 PM (#3924811)

This movie.
My friend and I saw it during the last showing on the last night at a theatre.
When we came out, the management asked if we wanted the poster and lobby cutout.
Interesting movie, but not enough to want those for my university wall.


One of the few movies I've ever paid to see twice, as it happens (as opposed, of course, to movies I've seen more than once on TV, VHS &/or DVD). Others would be the 2004 Dawn of the Dead, Basket Case, Hedwig & the Angry Inch, Rocky Horror Picture Show , Sling Blade, Passion Fish & Dazed & Confused ... though the 2nd viewings of the last 3 were at the aforementioned NLR $1 theatre, so they only half-count.
   149. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:24 PM (#3924814)
I saw "Boogie Nights" on a first date, which was probably a bad idea in terms of both length and content.


Good ####### christ I hate that horrible ####### movie so ####### much I can't even be bothered to think about proper ####### puncuation.

Edit: Or spelling.
   150. Dale Sams Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:24 PM (#3924815)
I took a friend, who happened to be a girl to "Bound". I knew it was going to be good, but didn't know the lesbian sex would appear so quickly. About 6 minutes in, my friend looks at me and says "What the hell have you taken me to"?
   151. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3924817)
Does anyone else picture gef in the 1 dollar theater raging at the 19 year old manager that he wants his money back?
   152. birdlives is one crazy ninja Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3924818)
Now that I've quickly read the review. A few comments.

Billy is the only fully realized character in the entire movie, and even at that his disparate pieces don’t tie all that well together.

I noticed this same problem with his review of Up in the Air. The fact that a movie doesn't fully develop multiple characters shouldn't be a negative. Not every movie can, and I would argue should, fully develop multiple characters simply due to the time constraints of movies. Multiple fully developed characters is a realistic for novels and I suspect Law is transplanting this expectation to movies when these mediums operate under constraints.

But the film provides neither, and I spent most of the movie wondering what was really on the line here.

Well, a dramatic PR answer is the industry itself. But I think it's safer to say what's on the line is how the industry operates in terms of decision making.

The film also relies on some pretty gross misrepresentations or oversimplifications of the business. The idea of a GM getting on a plane and flying two thirds of the way across the country to meet another GM to discuss a trade for a left-handed reliever is so absurd that it should set off alarm bells in even the casual fan. Do you really think that GMs only talk trades in person?

Misrepresentations or oversimplifications were bound to happen. To expect total realism and fully nuanced scenes from a movie isn't necessary goal. I'm not saying it shouldn't be valued. It just isn't a necessary expectation in order to enjoy a movie.

That speech applies just as well to any industry undergoing the kind of creative destruction ushered in by Bill James, Sandy Alderson and Billy Beane. Remember that when you see the next written attack on “stat geeks” who are ruining the game along with a defense of RBIs or pitcher wins.

Law then does understand what is on the line, but doesn't recognize it.
   153. Traderdave Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:32 PM (#3924824)
   154. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:34 PM (#3924825)
I took a friend, who happened to be a girl to "Bound". I knew it was going to be good, but didn't know the lesbian sex would appear so quickly. About 6 minutes in, my friend looks at me and says "What the hell have you taken me to"?

Yes, but how did she say it? This is important.
   155. Spahn Insane Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:35 PM (#3924826)
There is nothing at all funny about your tragically small dick.

Shooty, do you believe EVERYTHING your mom tells you?
   156. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:36 PM (#3924829)
Law responds to one of his commenters:


I think I've lost some respect for Law with that response of his
   157. Spahn Insane Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:37 PM (#3924831)
Good ####### christ I hate that horrible ####### movie so ####### much I can't even be bothered to think about proper ####### puncuation.

Well now, I like the movie quite a bit, but I still think a first date was a bad setting to see it for the first time.
   158. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:37 PM (#3924832)
You Can Count on Me is a great movie.

To paraphrase the guys in The 40 Year Old Virgin, I wasn't expecting much out of the Bourne Identity, but ended up loving it. Similarly, I had high expectations for the third movie, but was still pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it.
   159. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:38 PM (#3924833)
Does anyone else picture gef in the 1 dollar theater raging at the 19 year old manager that he wants his money back?


Luckily, I didn't pay to see ####### Boogie Nights. Admittedly, the circumstances under which I saw it were about as hideous as possible -- in the living room of the not particularly wonderful sister & brother-in-law of someone I didn't really know & didn't particularly like, in some section of a place I have no particular use for (Los Angeles), after a night of no sleep & away from whatever meds I was on at the time for insomnia & probably depression, amidst not only these 3 adults but also the sister & brother-in-law's 2 grade-school-age children, who probably, y'know, shouldn't have been watching Boogie Nights even if it were of Citizen Kane quality.

But what do I know? Hell, it was LA -- people out there are infinitely more sophisticated than yokels like me, I gather.
   160. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:38 PM (#3924834)
Shooty, do you believe EVERYTHING your mom tells you?

Of course not, but you shouldn't have let her make a plaster cast of it.
   161. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:40 PM (#3924835)
I haven't had any terrible movie date experiences. I saw "The Game" (David Fincher/Michael Douglas movie) on a first date, but that wasn't terrible (EDIT: to be clear I really liked this movie, but it is not a great date movie). I took my wife to see "Pan's Labrynth" on our third date--it was a lot darker than I expected, but obviously that worked out ok in the end.

Movies that I had low expectations for and really enjoyed:

Zoolander is probably #1 on the list

40 Year-Old Virgin (I was offered free tickets to a test audience showing of that movie and turned them down. Later kicked myself for that decision)

Most Mike Myers movies, especially the sequels (Wayne's World, Austin Powers)

Kill Bill (especially Vol. 2)

Striptease (I remember Burt Reynolds was hilarious, although I haven't seen it in 15 years)
   162. Shredder Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:40 PM (#3924836)
I'm a huge Ferrell fan, but didn't think this movie would be any good because of it was rated either G or PG. I was really bored one day and decided I would watch it and I enjoy(ed) it enough to say it's probably one of my 5 favorite Ferrell movies.
Did you see The Other Guys? That was one of the oddest movies I've seen, though still funny. Usually a wacky movie will sort of have a pattern of wackiness, but that just had weird elements in it that otherwise really had no connection to the plot. But I found that aspect of it really enjoyable.
I've walked out of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Van Helsing, and probably a few others I am forgetting.
I gotta go with Traderdave on this one. I can't remember how old I was when I saw this, but I was fairly young (high school maybe?), and a movie would have had to have been really awful to make me walk out if it also included Lena Olin and Juliette Binoche getting naked all the time.
   163. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:41 PM (#3924837)
On a similar note, The Book of Eli. Another recommendation from my son. My son has odd tastes: he's 20 and certainly enjoys "great" films (Casablanca is one of his faves), but he loves Michael Bay crap and stupid comedies too, so I can't always trust his judgement. (He keeps pushing me to see the Transformers movies, but I refuse.) Finally I relented, and...wow. What a good movie.


I didn't really like that movie that much. The action scenes were good, but I didn't like the ending. For one thing, why do they need a new warrior once the book's been delivered?
   164. Spahn Insane Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:42 PM (#3924839)
Of course not, but you shouldn't have let her make a plaster cast of it.

Well, the cast merely memorializes my level of excitement at the time, which is to say, an appropriate "in the presence of a naked Shooty's mom" level.
   165. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3924841)
Agree 100%. Probably the most surprisingly un-rewatchable movie I can think of.


I'm going to have to go with this one. Lots of shock-value laughs the first time around, but without the surprise, they're just awkward or unpleasant moments.
   166. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3924842)
I wasn't sure what to expect from Mystery Men, but really liked it. I'm still surprised that it flopped.
   167. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:47 PM (#3924845)
Zoolander is probably #1 on the list

Good pick. I saw this during my first or second year at boarding school. I'd like to think it was the height of the DVD era as my classmates had what seemed like every movie ever on DVD and I really caught up on a lot of stuff I would not otherwise have watched.

Did you see The Other Guys? That was one of the oddest movies I've seen, though still funny. Usually a wacky movie will sort of have a pattern of wackiness, but that just had weird elements in it that otherwise really had no connection to the plot. But I found that aspect of it really enjoyable.

I loved Ferrell in this movie but thought Mark Wahlberg came off as trying too hard.
   168. hokieneer Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:48 PM (#3924847)
I'd kind of like to go to this new dolphin with a prosthetic tail movie and MST3K it. That movie is just begging to be snarked.

Forgot about that one. I said this in the other moneyball review thread, but I think Real Steel is a potential gold mine.

I used to get stoned in HS and college and go snark on obviously awful movies. Not sure what was the worst one I ever paid to see, but Urban Legends 2 was probably the best time I've had. A group of 4 or 5 smart asses had the entire theater to ourselves, so there was no one like bads85 to try and ruin our buzz.
   169. staring out the window and waiting for fenderbelly Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:49 PM (#3924849)
I read until here just so I could comment on how awesome the movie review in #60 is... and on my way, I can across #125.

#125
I walked out of Triumph of the Will.


#60
SPOILER: you see a wiener


I don't walk out of movies because, as described above, if I am there then I either really want to see the film or am there with people. I'll quit on your BS narrative anytime though.

Once my wife and I watched Jackie Chan's awesome "Drunken Master" alone in a theater in small-town Wisconsin on Christmas.
   170. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:50 PM (#3924857)
Probably the most surprisingly un-rewatchable movie I can think of.

Flipping this topic...I remember the first time I saw Anchorman, I thought it was pretty funny and I laughed a lot. Then the second time I saw it, it turned out to be even funnier as I realized there were a bunch of jokes I missed while laughing the first time around. Since then, I've watched the movie at least 15+ more times and enjoyed it more with each viewing. Definitely my personal favorite comedic movie.
   171. Ryan Lind Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:51 PM (#3924858)

I have never in my life walked out of a movie, and I've seen some real stinkers in the theatre.


Walked out of Transformers 3 this year. No, I wasn't expecting it to be good, but the horrendous dialogue and bad acting actually made me feel uncomfortable and I just couldn't handle it.

Anyway, this is typical Law being sycophantic towards scouts as he always does.
   172. Alex_Lewis Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:51 PM (#3924859)
I really wanted to walk out of that Final Fantasy movie, but didn't due to friend constraints. Terminator 3 also really pissed me off, but again, friends. I'm surprised that no one has referenced The Happening. I was on a plane flight when inflicted with that one; turned it off after thirty minutes or so.
   173. SteveM. Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:52 PM (#3924861)
I wasn't sure what to expect from Mystery Men, but really liked it. I'm still surprised that it flopped.


It was unpleasant of a shoot according to Hank Azira, the director never directed another movie again.
   174. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 05:59 PM (#3924869)
On a similar note, The Book of Eli. Another recommendation from my son. My son has odd tastes: he's 20 and certainly enjoys "great" films (Casablanca is one of his faves), but he loves Michael Bay crap and stupid comedies too, so I can't always trust his judgement. (He keeps pushing me to see the Transformers movies, but I refuse.) Finally I relented, and...wow. What a good movie.

I didn't really like that movie that much. The action scenes were good, but I didn't like the ending. For one thing, why do they need a new warrior once the book's been delivered?

Fair enough, though I didn't really think about that all that much. And if you really think about it, the idea that the book could have that much power is a bit silly. But I enjoyed the deep world the movie established, and I enjoyed Denzel's performance. Plus, Mila!
I wasn't sure what to expect from Mystery Men, but really liked it. I'm still surprised that it flopped.

Wow. I thought that movie was horrendous. Easily the worst time I've had watching William H. Macy do anything. When Geoffrey Rush started chasing people around with his fingernail, I was done.
   175. Dale Sams Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#3924872)
I saw Exorcist 3 at a hotel, and being the third in a series where part 2 was excreable, I had very low expectations.

I had no idea it contains a couple of the scariest moments in cinema history.
   176. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#3924874)
I'd kind of like to go to this new dolphin with a prosthetic tail movie and MST3K it. That movie is just begging to be snarked.

You know how sometimes you can tell just from the promotional poster that a movie is going to be terrible?
This is one of those times.
   177. Ryan Lind Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#3924876)
I really wanted to walk out of that Final Fantasy movie, but didn't due to friend constraints. Terminator 3 also really pissed me off, but again, friends.


The movie theatre here is next to one of my favorite pubs, so if I do walk out my friends always know where to find me..
   178. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:05 PM (#3924878)
Totally agree on "The Other Guys". There were some random bits that crack me up-the Derek Jeter stuff, the lion vs. tuna, the FBI mug, the hardware store manager.

That was also another movie that had a lot of my favorite actors-Rob Riggle, The Rock, Michael Keaton.
   179. Greg K Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:05 PM (#3924879)
Or trailers
I'd say that's strike one right there, and strike two through eighteen are that it's a Canadian movie.
   180. bads85 Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:07 PM (#3924883)
I used to get stoned in HS and college and go snark on obviously awful movies.


Geek. Was the AV Club full?

>>>A group of 4 or 5 smart asses had the entire theater to ourselves, so there was no one like bads85 to try and ruin our buzz.<<<

You guys weren't that smart -- you were sitting in an empty movie theater, talking to a screen during your sexual prime. However, at least you weren't being rude. Plus, your scenario is much different than that some jackass popping off to the screen in a crowded theater during a first run movie.
   181. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:07 PM (#3924884)
Totally agree on "The Other Guys". There were some random bits that crack me up-the Derek Jeter stuff, the lion vs. tuna, the FBI mug, the hardware store manager.

Lion vs. Tuna and "aim for the bushes" pushed me to tears.
   182. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:09 PM (#3924886)
You know how sometimes you can tell just from the promotional poster that a movie is going to be terrible?
This is one of those times.


"Cowboys & Aliens" [granted, I haven't seen the movie]
   183. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:10 PM (#3924890)
You know how sometimes you can tell just from the promotional poster that a movie is going to be terrible?
This is one of those times.


I would love to know how they decided on casting Kris Kristofferson. I mean, he's pretty great and all, but he seems a very random choice for a cloying animal movie featuring annoyingly precocious children and a clearly insane Morgan Freeman.
   184. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:11 PM (#3924892)
Lion vs. Tuna and "aim for the bushes" pushed me to tears.

I'm not a Will Ferrell fan and just thought the movie was meh, but that monologue was TEH AWESOME!
   185. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#3924893)
Surprised that "Superbad" is on many people's "pleasant surprise" list. I had the opposite experience - very high expectations, and was pretty underwhelmed by the movie. I found the two cop characters to be the guys I wanted the movie to focus on, not the kids. I'm not even sure I can remember what the plot was.

"Step Brothers" was a pleasant surprise. I had pretty much given up on Will Ferrell after his string of stinkers since Anchorman, but Step Brothers was pretty funny, even with some flaws such as being about five minutes away from being too annoying and having a klunky ending, but it definitely made me laugh quite a bit.


I think I've lost some respect for Law with that response of his


That seems like it was ghostwritten by Dave Cameron.
   186. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:14 PM (#3924896)
I would love to know how they decided on casting Kris Kristofferson. I mean, he's pretty great and all, but he seems a very random choice for a cloying animal movie featuring annoyingly precocious children and a clearly insane Morgan Freeman.

Also, on the poster, he looks like they used his image from the Wax Museum.

"Cowboys & Aliens," you could tell from the trailer what a POS it was gonna be.


Also: wait, Exorcist 3 has (good) scary parts? Must investigate.
   187. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:15 PM (#3924902)
Surprised that "Superbad" is on many people's "pleasant surprise" list. I had the opposite experience - very high expectations, and was pretty underwhelmed by the movie.

I had the same reaction. I think, after seeing a lot of his movies, I just really dislike Jonah Hill. He really gets on my last nerve.

Anybody see Will Ferrell's Raymond Carver story adaptation? Raymond Carver is pretty much my deity so I want and don't want to see it.
   188. Spahn Insane Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:20 PM (#3924911)
Anybody see Will Ferrell's Raymond Carver story adaptation? Raymond Carver is pretty much my deity so I want and don't want to see it.

No--what's it called? I think almost any Carver adaptation's going to pale in comparison to "Short Cuts."
   189. NJ in DC (Now unemployed!) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:21 PM (#3924913)
Surprised that "Superbad" is on many people's "pleasant surprise" list. I had the opposite experience - very high expectations, and was pretty underwhelmed by the movie. I found the two cop characters to be the guys I wanted the movie to focus on, not the kids. I'm not even sure I can remember what the plot was.

Isn't having sex/losing virginity the plot of every comedy movie featuring "high schoolers"?

"Step Brothers" was a pleasant surprise. I had pretty much given up on Will Ferrell after his string of stinkers since Anchorman, but Step Brothers was pretty funny, even with some flaws such as being about five minutes away from being too annoying and having a klunky ending, but it definitely made me laugh quite a bit.

Agreed on "Step Brothers" as a pleasant surprise.

"Cowboys & Aliens," you could tell from the trailer what a POS it was gonna be.

The first trailer I saw it for this summer made me think it was going to suck. Actually, it wasn't even the trailer, just the title. The tv ads eventually pulled me in but the critical response has kept me from ever finding out.

Anybody see Will Ferrell's Raymond Carver story adaptation? Raymond Carver is pretty much my deity so I want and don't want to see it.

Haven't seen it, but a friend who isn't as much of a Ferrell fanboy as I am saw it and said it was pretty good.
   190. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3924917)
Oh! Count 127 Hours among the films I liked much better than I expected to. I knew I was going to see a pretty good movie, but that film made me indescribably happy. An odd reaction, perhaps, but I walked out with a renewed faith in our ability to not let life kick our ass. I love love love that movie, and repeat viewings have not diminished the delirium I experience when he escapes.
   191. Dale Sams Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:23 PM (#3924920)
Isn't having sex/losing virginity the plot of every comedy movie featuring "high schoolers"?


Speaking of which, I was pleasently surprised that Superbad used actors (Im referring to most at the party) that look like real teenagers, for the most part...and then felt dirty when I found said teenagers attractive.
   192. Greg K Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:25 PM (#3924922)
and then felt dirty when I found said teenagers attractive.

I don't care how young he is, it's only natural to be attracted to Michael Cera.
   193. Dale Sams Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:25 PM (#3924924)
Exorcist 3 is actually a good movie simply by having George C. Scott, Brad Dourif, and Nicol Williamson. The ham alone makes it worth it, and like I said, has some genuine terrifying moments.
   194. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:27 PM (#3924926)
Also: wait, Exorcist 3 has (good) scary parts? Must investigate.


It's pretty much of a modern horror classic -- an Exorcist sequel in name only, pretty much, based on Blatty's only tangentially Exorcistish '83 novel Legion.

Edit: Also, what Dale said. Helluva cast.
   195. Sheer Tim Foli Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:27 PM (#3924928)
I heard the same thing about Exorcist 3. My buddy told me to make an effort to see it.
   196. BDC Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:31 PM (#3924934)
I also laughed quite a bit at Stepbrothers: no redeeming social value, but it's good farce.

You people need to STFU

I will certainly take that under advisement :) Honestly, compared to people around me I am deadly silent in movies. I remember seeing Collateral in a theatre and having the entire plot explained, detail by detail, by the people sitting in front of me. I saw it as a kind of public service.

SENIOR GUY: HE'S PUTTING DOWN THE BRIEFCASE.
SENIOR'S WIFE: WHY IS HE PUTTING DOWN THE BRIEFCASE.
SENIOR GUY: NOW HE'S PICKING UP THE BRIEFCASE.
SENIOR WIFE: HE PICKED UP THE WRONG BRIEFCASE.
SENIOR GUY: I THINK HE PICKED UP THE WRONG BRIEFCASE ON PURPOSE.
SENIOR WIFE: THEY SWITCHED OUT THE BRIEFCASES.
   197. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:32 PM (#3924935)
Will have to check out Exorcist 3.
I try to see as many good scary movies as possible during Halloween Month, but am limited in the endeavor by the scarcity of good scary movies I haven't already seen.
So, we just end up watching "The Shining" and "Halloween" again.


"I just... wanted... totalktoyou!"
"Okay... let's talk."
bum! BUM!
"Whaddayawanna talk about?"
   198. The Artist Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:32 PM (#3924936)
I walked out of Gosford Park - what a self-indulgent piece of horseshit. Hated it - only movie I think I've ever done that for at a theatre.
   199. hokieneer Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:34 PM (#3924940)
Geek. Was the AV Club full?

Grow up in central WV, and let's see what you find to do for fun. I was already a professional cow tipper before I hit puberty.


You guys weren't that smart -- you were sitting in an empty movie theater, talking to a screen during your sexual prime. However, at least you weren't being rude. Plus, your scenario is much different than that some jackass popping off to the screen in a crowded theater during a first run movie.

I never said all the participant were guys. My high school GF was probably the funniest of the group.
   200. Lassus Posted: September 14, 2011 at 06:34 PM (#3924941)
I hate horror movies, and Exorcist 3 was excellent. Among many, many great things about this film, Brad Dourif is incredible. I'll echo the recommendation. It's probably even better if you have a catholic upbringing.
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