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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Moviefone: ‘Moneyball’ Writer Michael Lewis Reviews Keith Law’s ‘Moneyball’ Pan

Why don’t you just tell me the name of the movie you selected?

“Billy [Beane] called me and said Keith Law had sent him his review. I looked at it and I thought, What’s he talking about?” Lewis told Moviefone earlier on Wednesday. “It’s very weird that he’s on this. He’s intellectually dishonest, and I don’t know to what purpose.”

In his review, Law comes down hard on what the film cites as “Bill James bullsh-t” (James was the father of sabermetrics, the statical engine that drove Beane during the time period depicted in ‘Moneyball’), but Lewis says that wasn’t always the case.

“I don’t understand why he goes from being—when I interviewed Keith Law, and I did, at length—he was so nasty about scouts and scouting culture and the stupidity of baseball insiders. He was the reductio ad absurdum of the person who was the smarty pants who had been brought into the game and was smarter than everybody else. He alienated people. And now he’s casting himself as someone who sees the value of the old school. I can’t see where this is all heading and why. But I learned from experience that the best thing to do is ignore it, because it goes away.”

Check back to Moviefone next week for more with author Michael Lewis about ‘Moneyball.’ The film hits theaters on Sept. 23.

JE (Jason) Posted: September 14, 2011 at 10:43 PM | 282 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   101. JE (Jason) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 03:59 PM (#3925816)
   102. billyshears Posted: September 15, 2011 at 04:10 PM (#3925834)
There are two important pieces of information that I derive from a minor leaguer's stat line, for both hitters and pitchers:

1. Contact rate. In what percentage of his non-walk plate appearances/BFP does the hitter make contact/pitcher prevent contact?
2. In-play average and power (BABIP/SLGIP). This indicates how often the hitter is making/pitcher is preventing *solid* contact.

Everything else (walk rate, HR rate, and so forth) is less valuable, as an indicator of success, than the two items above - not that I ignore the other stuff, but I use them more as additional sources of knowledge.


I generally agree, but I also think age/level and minor league park/league factors are relevant information that fall into the realm of statistical analysis of prospects. Possibly for space constraints, but I rarely think you see prospect analysis that adequately explores the most relevant aspects of a prospect's statistical profile. I think the quest for ultimate "truth" is a worthy goal, but in their quest for truth Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, Keith Law and John Sickels are all telling us more or less the same thing. One the one hand, they're all probably "better" at their job, which is obviously a good thing. On the other had, I think the voice in the wilderness was thought provoking, added to the debate and was part of what eventually made everybody better in the first place. Without it, I'm not sure there is enough energy behind the statistical analysis of prospects to push the field forward, at least in the media.

Edit: Or, what #99 said.
   103. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 04:12 PM (#3925837)

If your team is producing $8 million of value for a $6 million investment, and team B is producing $10 million of value for a $12 million investment, you might be winning the "undervalued assets" contest but you are still losing on the field. The trick is not just finding "undervalued assets", but finding "undervalued assets" that, when combined, produce close to equivalent value to the "full-valued" and "overvalued" assets that your competition is finding.

This, to me, was always at the heart of the A's eventual failure to make more of their approach - Beane et al forgot (to some extent) that the total on-field value of your assets matters as much as (if not more than) the marginal value of those assets.


I don't think this is Beane's failure, necessarily. He didn't set the budget. If he only has $6m to work with, then making $8m of value is about as good an outcome as one can expect.

EDIT: Coke to 100.

Also, I don't really care for Community, and I tried to like It's Always Sunny but failed miserably. I hear good things about P&R though.
   104. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: September 15, 2011 at 04:20 PM (#3925855)
I really enjoy "The League" (I'm a Paul Scheer fanboy).
   105. Danny Posted: September 15, 2011 at 04:23 PM (#3925861)
Jeremy Reed may have been a failure, but what I wanted BP to tell me was which prospects had the best projections based on statistical analysis.

What does that add to your understanding of what helps a prospect succeed, and what keeps him from being successful?

There are two important pieces of information that I derive from a minor leaguer's stat line, for both hitters and pitchers:

1. Contact rate. In what percentage of his non-walk plate appearances/BFP does the hitter make contact/pitcher prevent contact?
2. In-play average and power (BABIP/SLGIP). This indicates how often the hitter is making/pitcher is preventing *solid* contact.

Everything else (walk rate, HR rate, and so forth) is less valuable, as an indicator of success, than the two items above - not that I ignore the other stuff, but I use them more as additional sources of knowledge.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but you seem to be saying that statistical analysis of minor leaguers doesn't add much value, and you attempt to show this by describing your own method of statistically analyzing minor leaguers (which, presumably, you believe adds value). Or are you just saying that your statistical analyses are better than BP's?
   106. Shredder Posted: September 15, 2011 at 04:27 PM (#3925866)
I think this may be a case where Keith is too close to the subject matter. I can enjoy spy movies because I'm not in the CIA. But I imagine if I were, I'd see a movie like this and think "they didn't show all the damn paperwork we have to do!". So it's going to come off as anything but realistic. But Keith's reviewing as someone who's been intimately involved in the processes depicted, so it's hard to be objective.

Take the movie "Tin Cup". It sucked for all sorts of reasons, most of which I won't get into. But the problem I had with it, as someone who still plays golf competitively, was that it just wasn't realistic. I don't meant the idea that a driving range pro could lead the open. That's Hollywood. I mean things like playing the U.S. Open on a sculpted, modern looking course. I mean having a 3-wood land in the middle of the green, sit there for about 30 seconds, then backing it up off the green and into the water, contrary to the laws of physics. I could believe that stuff if I didn't play all the time.

Besides, all of those A's teams won because of pitching anyway. All the walks and power stuff was way overblown. I know it's all about market inefficiency and whatnot, but the inefficiencies in the market they exploited weren't what made them good.
   107. SoSH U at work Posted: September 15, 2011 at 04:36 PM (#3925875)
Besides, all of those A's teams won because of pitching anyway. All the walks and power stuff was way overblown. I know it's all about market inefficiency and whatnot, but the inefficiencies in the market they exploited weren't what made them good.


That first good A's team, the one that came up short of the playoffs, was genuinely this type of team. Jaha, Stairs, Velarde, Phillips around the emerging Giambi, the young phenom Grieve and a mostly pedestrian pitching staff. Subsequent A's teams resembled this "ideal" less and less.
   108. McCoy Posted: September 15, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3925885)
Do people want to watch a documentary or do they want to be entertained?

I've never really understood the people who said they didn't think they were going to like this movie because it wouldn't be accurate. Why would you want that? Do we simply want "Hey, I remember that" type moments or do we want to be entertained?
   109. Der Komminsk-sar Posted: September 15, 2011 at 04:53 PM (#3925897)
Scheer seems like a very likable guy (and had the only episode of WTF where I found myself strongly identifying with the interview subject), but I'm not big on him as a performer. Granted, that I've only seen an early episode or two of The League probably doesn't help in this regard. His HDTGM is a solid podcast, though (and turned me on to the wonders of Crank 2).
   110. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: September 15, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#3925899)
Do we simply want "Hey, I remember that" type moments or do we want to be entertained?

Having those kind of moments is sufficient entertainment for a lot of people these days. It's part of why Family Guy is so successful.

You're talking about Moneyball but that touches on why I don't like Community as much as some.
   111. BDC Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:01 PM (#3925903)
Do people want to watch a documentary or do they want to be entertained?

Well, ideally, both :) I think Gates of Heaven and Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control are among the most amazing films ever.

That aside, though, I think Shredder has an excellent point. There is a zone of closeness that rules out relaxed entertainment. Movies about English teachers usually drive me nuts, because they assume that English teachers are impassioned, well-off, aristocratic, and write novels. For a film with English teachers in it to entertain me, it has to go far enough off the rails to be unreadable except as pure farce (Wonder Boys is excellent at that).

Or clergy. I have several (now ex-) in-laws in religious life, and I find every Catholic priest or nun in every movie ever made to be so irritatingly unrealistic that I run screaming.

I've mentioned this several times before, but Field of Dreams lost me when Costner says to Liotta, "You were a low-ball hitter," not noticing that Joe Jackson is now hitting right-handed. And not because he was hitting right-handed, which could be poetic license. It was because the film was trying to sell Ray Kinsella to me as someone knowledgeable about baseball history, so Ray is either a phony or a moron.
   112. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:01 PM (#3925904)
No. I don't know what it is but when I watch the show I always feel like I'm missing something, like I should be laughing hysterically but I'm missing the joke somehow. I feel that way with The Office too, I just have never been able to get into it. I won't say I dislike either show, but neither show has left me eager to see the next episode.

I have laughed hysterically at some episodes of Community. Although the entire second season is still waiting to be watched on my DVR. But (as was discussed on the Star Wars thread), comedy is often a group activity. Even shows that I think are funny, I don't usually laugh out loud if I'm by myself. But in watching Community I actually have done that. The paintball episode* was incredibly funny. Although I'll admit that the funny parts were definitely the references to other TV shows/movies.

*Season 1. I gather there was another paintball episode in season 2.
   113. Danny Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:02 PM (#3925905)
Besides, all of those A's teams won because of pitching anyway. All the walks and power stuff was way overblown. I know it's all about market inefficiency and whatnot, but the inefficiencies in the market they exploited weren't what made them good.

The A's offense from 1999-2002, which is principally what Moneyball was describing, was 4th in MLB in runs scored. They were just 2 runs behind Texas and 51 runs behind Colorado, which is likely smaller than the park differences. Over that period, they led MLB in walk rate and were third in ISO.

The later A's teams relied much more on pitching than hitting, but the early A's teams won in large part due to taking and raking.
   114. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:04 PM (#3925911)
That aside, though, I think Shredder has an excellent point. There is a zone of closeness that rules out relaxed entertainment. Movies about English teachers usually drive me nuts, because they assume that English teachers are impassioned, well-off, aristocratic, and write novels. For a film with English teachers in it to entertain me, it has to go far enough off the rails to be unreadable except as pure farce (Wonder Boys is excellent at that).

Completely agree. Anything about computer programming (which is a lot these days) drives me nuts. Usually not enough to make it unwatchable, but it does take the shine off. I mean, what the heck OS are they using on CSI? It's the coolest looking interface, but one that would actually be completely unworkable. And don't get me started on the virus in Independence Day.
   115. Nasty Nate Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:05 PM (#3925912)
Do people want to watch a documentary or do they want to be entertained?

I've never really understood the people who said they didn't think they were going to like this movie because it wouldn't be accurate. Why would you want that? Do we simply want "Hey, I remember that" type moments or do we want to be entertained?


For some people/situations, accuracy is more entertaining.
   116. Shredder Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:15 PM (#3925921)
The later A's teams relied much more on pitching than hitting, but the early A's teams won in large part due to taking and raking.
Fair enough. I was using ESPN for a quick look-up, and they didn't go back further than 2002.
   117. Sweatpants Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:15 PM (#3925922)
Subsequent A's teams resembled this "ideal" less and less.
Yeah, it was pretty much one piece per year. Hudson came up in mid-1999 and was terrific - 11-2 with a 3.23 ERA. Barry Zito came up in mid-season 2000 and had a 2.72 ERA in fourteen starts. Mark Mulder debuted in 2000 but sucked, and then in 2001 he won 21 games.

The 1999 team had a 97 ERA+. In 2000 it was 103. In 2001 it was 122. Many of the slow power-hitters from the 1999 and 2000 (Grieve, Stairs, Jaha) were no longer contributors by 2001.

As Sosh notes, the 1999 A's got big contributions from guys in whom Beane probably saw more than other people did. John Jaha was old, injury-prone, and two years removed from his last good season. I doubt that anyone other than Beane wanted Matt Stairs. Tony Phillips was forty years old, but Beane still saw him as a guy who could get on base (which he was). That team overachieved.

I wouldn't call Beane a genius. I agree with the argument that the pitchers were the biggest part of the A's success. But he did get a lot out of Moneyball-ish players - Matt Stairs, John Jaha, Tony Phillips, David Justice, Erubiel Durazo, Scott Hatteberg. This wasn't the main reason that the A's played well, but finding and acquiring this type of player was something that, for a while at least, Beane did rather well, and it did help.
   118. Greg K Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:16 PM (#3925924)
Completely agree. Anything about computer programming (which is a lot these days) drives me nuts. Usually not enough to make it unwatchable, but it does take the shine off. I mean, what the heck OS are they using on CSI? It's the coolest looking interface, but one that would actually be completely unworkable. And don't get me started on the virus in Independence Day.

I was about to say, lucky for me no one makes movies about historians! But then I remembered they do occasionally make movies set in the past. I know a few historians who must not be able to watch any historical movies. I recall one saying Master and Commander was ruined for him because they were using some cricket rules that weren't adopted until the 1830s.

Trivia like that I could care less about, and I try to not let discrepencies that aid the movie bother me. One thing that always irks me a little bit is that the main character in historical films is almost always someone with a modern mentality and sensibilities who rises above the backwards, narrow-minded world he/she finds him/herself in. I guess that's selection bias, those tend to be the trailblazing stories we're most interested in. One of the things I liked about the Girl with the Pearl Earring is not so much the plot (which I barely recall) but how it just immersed you in the period.
   119. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:20 PM (#3925926)
Completely agree. Anything about computer programming (which is a lot these days) drives me nuts. Usually not enough to make it unwatchable, but it does take the shine off. I mean, what the heck OS are they using on CSI? It's the coolest looking interface, but one that would actually be completely unworkable. And don't get me started on the virus in Independence Day.

I've learned to stop ######## about this sort of thing, otherwise my wife gets annoyed. (She's much better at ignoring stuff; she's a photographer, and I know it drives her crazy when they show them take a small, fuzzy picture, then blow it up so it's even fuzzier...then someone says, "enhance," and suddenly it's crystal-clear. But she says nothing.)

CSI I've just taken to thinking of as science fiction. Talk to a real-life criminologist sometime too, as they have more to complain about than us computer types.
   120. McCoy Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:22 PM (#3925929)
For some people/situations, accuracy is more entertaining.

I didn't know the world was full of CPAs.

I've never really cared how Hollywood chooses to show the food industry. It is usually inaccurate or used as merely a prop or for "depth" but I just don't really care.
   121. Darren Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:23 PM (#3925932)
If your team is producing $8 million of value for a $6 million investment, and team B is producing $10 million of value for a $12 million investment, you might be winning the "undervalued assets" contest but you are still losing on the field. The trick is not just finding "undervalued assets", but finding "undervalued assets" that, when combined, produce close to equivalent value to the "full-valued" and "overvalued" assets that your competition is finding.

This, to me, was always at the heart of the A's eventual failure to make more of their approach - Beane et al forgot (to some extent) that the total on-field value of your assets matters as much as (if not more than) the marginal value of those assets.


That sounds like an impossible standard. If you're doing better than the rest of the industry at getting return on your investment, you're doing a pretty good job. Of course, you'd like to do even better than that, but failing to do so isn't the result of forgetting something important. It's the result of being only good, not great, at fielding a team.

I'm trying to think of an annoying and really stretched analogy for this... Oh, got one. It's like being a salesman at a software company. You're having your annual review and your boss says, "Let's see, the average salesperson sold about $400,000 of product this year. You sold $600,000."

"Well, yes, I did pretty well. Do I get a raise?"

"Woah. You forgot a very important fact: We are trying to compete with Microsoft, so you really needed to hit $5 million in sales. You need to remember to focus on that next time. No raise for you."
   122. Greg K Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:24 PM (#3925933)
(She's much better at ignoring stuff; she's a photographer, and I know it drives her crazy when they show them take a small, fuzzy picture, then blow it up so it's even fuzzier...then someone says, "enhance," and suddenly it's crystal-clear. But she says nothing.)

Maybe if you played this on a loop...
   123. BDC Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:24 PM (#3925934)
Trivia like that I could care less about, and I try to not let discrepancies that aid the movie bother me

I spent most of the remake of Pelham 123 thinking "hey, those subway lines don't run there" . . . "hey, you can't drive from there to there that fast" . . . though I imagine if the story had been more interesting, I wouldn't have been distracted into those objections.

Which leaves me wondering if Moneyball will be more like Pelham II or more like Wonder Boys, where I just went with it. (One thing I loved about Wonder Boys was Richard Thomas's character, an English-Department chair who has written a book about baseball: when I saw the film, I was an English-Department chair who had written a book about baseball. Thomas's character was insufferable, and I got to thinking how insufferable I must seem to other people, and I just loved it.

But I guess I won't find out till the 23rd at the earliest. For some reason I thought Moneyball was opening this weekend. Dang.
   124. billyshears Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3925938)
My complaint with every show about lawyers is that it's not nearly boring enough. I want to watch some guy drafting a document for 4 hours, then getting a call from the client who tells him the terms of the deal have changed so that everything he has just done is worthless and giving him new deal terms to incorporate to a draft that has to out tonight which will take him another six hours to draft, then getting in a fight with his wife/girlfriend after he tells her that he's going to be late tonight. That's a good ####### show. Also, I can't stand when they show any lawyer fresh out of law school doing anything remotely significant or that has even a tangential relationship to the law.
   125. McCoy Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:28 PM (#3925939)
"Woah. You forgot a very important fact: We are trying to compete with Microsoft, so you really needed to hit $5 million in sales. You need to remember to focus on that next time. No raise for you."

But that might not be a bad response. It really depends on the situation.
   126. SoSH U at work Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:28 PM (#3925940)
and I got to thinking how insufferable I must seem to other people,


Stupendously, if you're still curious. (-:
   127. Drew (Primakov, Gungho Iguanas) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:28 PM (#3925941)
Why is it that when I have a big, earth-shaking point to make, we're already 50 posts into a discussion about stapled sex bacon?
   128. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:31 PM (#3925944)
Trivia like that I could care less about, and I try to not let discrepencies that aid the movie bother me.

Agree. Trivial things are fine. If the plot revolves around some new software, I can deal with that also. I always try to grant a movie its premise.

Just once, though, I'd like a character's cell phone to run out of battery power. :)
   129. Dudefella Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:33 PM (#3925950)
#124: Don't forget A Very Special Episode about discovery disputes. Or, Notice and Comment: The Musical!
   130. Darren Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:40 PM (#3925953)
Do people want to watch a documentary or do they want to be entertained?


Or to put it another way, do you want to hear the terrifying truth, or do you want to see Brad Pitt break some chairs!
   131. formerly dp Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:44 PM (#3925959)
Dan,
Am I the only one here that doesn't really like Community?

Tried to get into it, really just don't find it funny.
   132. formerly dp Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:46 PM (#3925960)
I'm sorry you can't remember the contribution that Jon Dowd made to the Giants in 2005.

I think Dowd was a white guy, too.
   133. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:50 PM (#3925964)
Agree. Trivial things are fine. If the plot revolves around some new software, I can deal with that also. I always try to grant a movie its premise.


It's funny, the more important something is to the plot, the more likely I am to let it slide. The example I've used for awhile now is the first SpiderMan movie. I had no problem with the premise that Peter Parker got bit by the spider and gained superpowers but when Kirsten Dunst fell 50 feet but somehow caught herself by her fingertips, that annoyed me for it's lack of realism.
   134. formerly dp Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:58 PM (#3925976)
The example I've used for awhile now is the first SpiderMan movie. I had no problem with the premise that Peter Parker got bit by the spider and gained superpowers but when Kirsten Dunst fell 50 feet but somehow caught herself by her fingertips, that annoyed me for it's lack of realism.

There's a physics prof who they brought on to consult for the Watchmen movie-- he called this the "miracle exception"-- every character gets a miracle exception (that a radioactive spider could transform Peter Parker into Spider-Man), but after that, the rest of the movie has to be physically plausible, or else the audience will lose interest and get frustrated (MJ catches herself by the fingertips after a 50 foot fall).
   135. hokieneer Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:59 PM (#3925979)
I think Dowd was a white guy, too.

Yep and hit right handed.
   136.   Posted: September 15, 2011 at 05:59 PM (#3925980)
just once I want to see a movie where the characters come across an encrypted file and the boss guy demands the geeks decrypt it and the geeks inform him it will take years :-)
   137. scotto Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:10 PM (#3925990)
One thing I loved about Wonder Boys was Richard Thomas's character, an English-Department chair who has written a book about baseball: when I saw the film, I was an English-Department chair who had written a book about baseball. Thomas's character was insufferable, and I got to thinking how insufferable I must seem to other people, and I just loved it.

There's a whole lot to love about The Wonder Boys. Except for Katie Holmes, but even she's not totally intolerable. Almost, but not quite. Every character save one is memorable, and many of the actors are at the top of their game. Douglas has the aged stoner thing down pat, too.
   138. Greg K Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#3925994)
just once I want to see a movie where the characters come across an encrypted file and the boss guy demands the geeks decrypt it and the geeks inform him it will take years :-)

So you're saying you'd watch an adaptation of Cryptonomicon?
   139. Swoboda is freedom Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:14 PM (#3925997)
I've learned to stop ######## about this sort of thing, otherwise my wife gets annoyed. (She's much better at ignoring stuff; she's a photographer, and I know it drives her crazy when they show them take a small, fuzzy picture, then blow it up so it's even fuzzier...then someone says, "enhance," and suddenly it's crystal-clear. But she says nothing.)

My wife and I have learned to ignore medical shows. She is an emergency physician. We could not watch E/R together without her groaning 2-3 times per episode. She would diagnose the unsolvable House dianosis in 3 minutes.
   140. Busted Flush Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:14 PM (#3925998)
I could care less about


Now there's something that drives me mad.
   141. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:14 PM (#3925999)
My complaint with every show about lawyers is that it's not nearly boring enough. I want to watch some guy drafting a document for 4 hours, then getting a call from the client who tells him the terms of the deal have changed so that everything he has just done is worthless and giving him new deal terms to incorporate to a draft that has to out tonight which will take him another six hours to draft, then getting in a fight with his wife/girlfriend after he tells her that he's going to be late tonight. That's a good ####### show. Also, I can't stand when they show any lawyer fresh out of law school doing anything remotely significant or that has even a tangential relationship to the law.

Like the 27-year-old big firm "jury expert" in The Social Network?
I don't worry about the law stuff in movies too much - in court or out of it - because I try to remember they're just telling a story & need to get from A to B without losing the audience. The only fiction movie I can think of where they mostly get the courtroom matters right is The Verdict, but how many people saw that compared to, say, Legally Blonde?
What does draw me out of the "fictional dream" is when the movie itself sets up a rule or set of rules, then blithely tosses it/them aside. For example, in WALL-E, they spend the whole movie establishing that humans are fat and lazy and haven't even stood up for, what, hundreds of years? But then when the plot demands it, all of a sudden the Captain can get up, fight, be strong, etc.
   142. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:19 PM (#3926004)
There's a physics prof who they brought on to consult for the Watchmen movie-- he called this the "miracle exception"-- every character gets a miracle exception (that a radioactive spider could transform Peter Parker into Spider-Man), but after that, the rest of the movie has to be physically plausible, or else the audience will lose interest and get frustrated (MJ catches herself by the fingertips after a 50 foot fall).

Yeah, this is what I mean when I say that you have to grant a movie its premise.

If the premise of the movie is that a teenager got powers by getting bit by a radioactive spider, that's fine with me. But if the premise is that a guy got blinded by a radioactive spill, and then his hearing, etc. got heightened, you can't in the middle of the movie make him able to jump 30 feet.

If you want to have a sci fi movie in space, your premise is that space travel is possible, etc. But your ships better behave like they're in space, not like they're World War II fighter planes.
   143. hokieneer Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:21 PM (#3926006)
For example, in WALL-E, they spend the whole movie establishing that humans are fat and lazy and haven't even stood up for, what, hundreds of years? But then when the plot demands it, all of a sudden the Captain can get up, fight, be strong, etc.

Dude, that's the power of the human spirit. 80% of movies are about the human spirit overcoming all odds, the more ridiculous the circumstances the better.
   144. OsunaSakata Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3926007)
Or to put it another way, do you want to hear the terrifying truth, or do you want to see Brad Pitt break some chairs!


You know what was disappointing? I don't think I saw Brad throw a chair. You saw a chair fly out into the hallway. I think there's chair-throwing in the trailer. Brad does turn over his desk at spring training.
   145. Darren Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:26 PM (#3926013)
Forget it then, I'm not seeing it.
   146. BDC Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:32 PM (#3926023)
if the premise is that a guy got blinded by a radioactive spill, and then his hearing, etc. got heightened, you can't in the middle of the movie make him able to jump 30 feet

Rise of the Planet of the Apes, an excellent summer movie in many respects, is like this. The apes get super-smart, in which I clearly have to suspend disbelief; but they also can suddenly shatter skyscraper windows without a scratch, fall 40 feet to the pavement, and bounce up like Superballs. At that point they should simply start flying and using telekinesis, because WTH not.
   147. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:37 PM (#3926027)
Dude, that's the power of the human spirit. 80% of movies are about the human spirit overcoming all odds, the more ridiculous the circumstances the better.

I know, I know.
I was just hoping they'd come up with a way to remain consistent with what they'd already set up, and still have the odds-overcoming / triumph of the will moment.
   148. McCoy Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#3926034)
What does draw me out of the "fictional dream" is when the movie itself sets up a rule or set of rules, then blithely tosses it/them aside.

Like Star Wars with Luke and Darth Vader being his father?
   149. Greg K Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:42 PM (#3926038)
You know what was disappointing? I don't think I saw Brad throw a chair. You saw a chair fly out into the hallway. I think there's chair-throwing in the trailer. Brad does turn over his desk at spring training.

Actually Pitt is the one that throws the chair down the hallway. The integrity of the film stands!
   150. hokieneer Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:42 PM (#3926039)
Damnit McCoy, not another thread.
   151. Matthew E Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:48 PM (#3926044)
There's a physics prof who they brought on to consult for the Watchmen movie-- he called this the "miracle exception"-


Was that James Kakalios? Sounds like him. (He was one of my coauthors on Teenagers from the Future.)
   152. formerly dp Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:51 PM (#3926051)
Was that James Kakalios? Sounds like him. (He was one of my coauthors on Teenagers from the Future.)

Yeah, that's him. I'll have to check out your book, it looks interesting. Have you had a chance to read Morrison's Supergods yet? It's a mixed bag, but the chapters on the Silver Age are really good.
   153.   Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:52 PM (#3926052)
jeez spoiler alert mccoy come on
   154. asdf1234 Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:55 PM (#3926056)
There's a whole lot to love about The Wonder Boys. Except for Katie Holmes, but even she's not totally intolerable. Almost, but not quite. Every character save one is memorable, and many of the actors are at the top of their game. Douglas has the aged stoner thing down pat, too.


My favorite ringtone is the stoned, echoing giggle that Tobey Maguire gives in response to Rip Torn's "far shore of accomplishment" speech.

Talk about a film that needs a Blu Ray release.
   155. asinwreck Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:55 PM (#3926057)

Which leaves me wondering if Moneyball will be more like Pelham II or more like Wonder Boys, where I just went with it. (One thing I loved about Wonder Boys was Richard Thomas's character, an English-Department chair who has written a book about baseball: when I saw the film, I was an English-Department chair who had written a book about baseball. Thomas's character was insufferable, and I got to thinking how insufferable I must seem to other people, and I just loved it.


Was your wife ####### a pothead colleague at the time?

I tend not to enjoy Michael Chabon's more overstylized work, but both the film and book of Wonder Boys gave me a lot of enjoyment (even though I was fairly close to the subject matter, knew the guy Douglas's character was based on, and had some of my teaching schedule disrupted by location shoots for the film).

Keith Law's small review tells me more about Keith Law than it does Moneyball. Not that I'm chomping at the bit to see the film.
   156. Matthew E Posted: September 15, 2011 at 06:55 PM (#3926058)
Have you had a chance to read Morrison's Supergods yet? It's a mixed bag, but the chapters on the Silver Age are really good.


I've got it on hold at the library but it hasn't come around to me yet.
   157. Matthew E Posted: September 15, 2011 at 07:18 PM (#3926087)
So you're saying you'd watch an adaptation of Cryptonomicon?


A what? Is it available on DVD yet? If it is I'll buy it. Possibly two copies.
   158. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: September 15, 2011 at 07:25 PM (#3926098)
Like the 27-year-old big firm "jury expert" in The Social Network?

Actually, that didn't bother me nearly as much as having all of the parties sitting in on the depositions. (But I still really liked the movie.)
   159. Rusty Priske Posted: September 15, 2011 at 07:44 PM (#3926119)
Speaking on the tangent broken off from a tangent...

I LOVE Community so far (half way through season one). I haven't really enjoyed a sitcom since... the late 80's? I had a gf is watched some more recently than that, but nothign I cared about. I watched Seinfeld and the Simpsons, but only in syndication...
   160. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3926121)
Was that James Kakalios? Sounds like him. (He was one of my coauthors on Teenagers from the Future.)


There's a book about the Legion of Super-Heroes? WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED OF THIS???

Ordered. Man, back in the 70's and 80's I loved the Legion in a way that's probably not acceptable in polite society.
   161. billyshears Posted: September 15, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#3926123)
Like the 27-year-old big firm "jury expert" in The Social Network?

Actually, that didn't bother me nearly as much as having all of the parties sitting in on the depositions. (But I still really liked the movie.)

I agree that didn't bother me so much, for reasons I elected not to expound on from my work computer.
   162. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 07:48 PM (#3926124)
Yeah, this is what I mean when I say that you have to grant a movie its premise.

If the premise of the movie is that a teenager got powers by getting bit by a radioactive spider, that's fine with me. But if the premise is that a guy got blinded by a radioactive spill, and then his hearing, etc. got heightened, you can't in the middle of the movie make him able to jump 30 feet.


This is often referred to as magical realism. In fiction you can set up a world with "magical" rules (that's a generic term; could mean future science, super-powers, or whatever), but you have to obey them consistently. Also, if your magical rules don't specifically suspend a real-life rule, then you have to obey that too (e.g. MJ falling and stopping herself with her fingernails).
   163. McCoy Posted: September 15, 2011 at 07:51 PM (#3926130)
The only recent movie that I couldn't really accept the premise of was Salt with Angelina Jolie. I just could not find it believable that an anorexic woman could kick highly trained male soldier's asses and do the various jumps from heights that she constantly does in that film.
   164. Matthew E Posted: September 15, 2011 at 07:52 PM (#3926132)
There's a book about the Legion of Super-Heroes? WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED OF THIS???


Do you guys pay attention to nothing I ever say? I haven't kept it a secret...

You may also want to check out my blog, if you're into that kind of thing.
   165. phredbird Posted: September 15, 2011 at 07:55 PM (#3926137)
I think this may be a case where Keith is too close to the subject matter. I can enjoy spy movies because I'm not in the CIA. But I imagine if I were, I'd see a movie like this and think "they didn't show all the damn paperwork we have to do!". So it's going to come off as anything but realistic. But Keith's reviewing as someone who's been intimately involved in the processes depicted, so it's hard to be objective.


a couple of people i know in the ad business say they can't watch 'mad men' for much the same reason, which is too bad cuz i love that show.
   166. Dan Szymborski Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#3926143)
Even if the movie turns out to have some serious flaws or get off the core subject matter, I assume it's still essentially a movie about sabermetrics.

Even if it totally sucks, this is it, guys. This is the movie about sabermetrics. There ain't no waiting for the next one.

If someone makes a movie "Dan Szymborski: A Story of Awesomness" I'm not going to grouse that they made me an immigrant factory working coming from Poland without a penny in my pocket that learns how to get over his wife's death by spreading laughter to terminally ill children until I was eventually killed saving a box of kittens from a terrorist bomb. Because that will be the Dan Szymborski movie, so I should shut up and enjoy the ####### thing because that's it right there.

We're a bunch of sabermetricians and sabermetric writers and baseball fans that like sabermetrics. One of the most famous/infamous statistic-related guys in baseball history was in a movie and played by Brad Pitt. Who cares if the movie does suck?
   167. scotto Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:03 PM (#3926146)
a couple of people i know in the ad business say they can't watch 'mad men' for much the same reason, which is too bad cuz i love that show.

Funny, I know more than a few 70 y.o. retired advertising people who are in recovery; they say MM gets the milieu precisely right.
   168. formerly dp Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:04 PM (#3926148)
a couple of people i know in the ad business say they can't watch 'mad men' for much the same reason, which is too bad cuz i love that show.

I would be really curious about their objections, given the way the industry has changed from then to now. Which I thought was part of the point of the show. I haven't followed the literature on the show-- an article discussing what they got right about the industry from that period and what they're distorting would be a good read. I know he has talked pretty extensively on gender, race, ect, portrayals on the show.
   169. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:05 PM (#3926149)
The only recent movie that I couldn't really accept the premise of was Salt with Angelina Jolie. I just could not find it believable that an anorexic woman could kick highly trained male soldier's asses and do the various jumps from heights that she constantly does in that film.


Speaking of Salt, Jim Emerson, who is a film critic and editor-in-chief of RogerEbert.com, has a 3 part series on editing action sequences called "In the Cut" that he's posting over at pressplay.

The 1st one examined a sequence from The Dark Knight, while the 2nd examines a sequence from Salt.

Both are really interesting from a technical analysis of how you compose, frame and edit action and how that can affect how an audience reacts to the finished action. Worth a watch if you're a film geek, or if you just want to understand the process better.
   170. McCoy Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:05 PM (#3926150)
Who cares if the movie does suck?

I see your point but sometimes the movie really does suck.
   171. Matthew E Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:07 PM (#3926151)
Plus let's face it. We were never going to get reality in this movie. Impossible. Reality is what actually happened with the 2002 A's. Michael Lewis had to bend and stretch some stuff in writing the book Moneyball because the shape of a Michael Lewis nonfiction book is different from reality. It's stylized. Then we had the additional transformation of the Michael Lewis book into an Aaron Sorkin movie, something else that's a heavily stylized version of reality. The movie was always going to be a very odd duck indeed and we should basically just be thankful that it seems to have emerged into the world in a relatively watchable form.
   172. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:09 PM (#3926154)
a couple of people i know in the ad business say they can't watch 'mad men' for much the same reason, which is too bad cuz i love that show.

I would be really curious about their objections, given the way the industry has changed from then to now. Which I thought was part of the point of the show. I haven't followed the literature on the show-- an article discussing what they got right about the industry from that period and what they're distorting would be a good read. I know he has talked pretty extensively on gender, race, ect, portrayals on the show.

My mom was a secretary for an ad house back in those days, and she swears that the show totally nails how things were.
   173. Darren Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:09 PM (#3926155)
87% on Rotten Tomatoes.
   174. formerly dp Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:10 PM (#3926157)
Because that will be the Dan Szymborski movie, so I should shut up and enjoy the ####### thing because that's it right there.

This is why 24 Hour Party People will be always be the best "based on a true story" ever. Tony Wilson's character doing the 4th look and telling the audience "given the choice between the legend and the truth, I choose the legend". And then there are lines that the real Tony Wilson said in response to the film, that they inserted in. In response to the film playing up the amount of cocaine the characters do, Wilson explained they were always partial to pot, and believes "cocaine is a destroyer of creativity." In the film, that's what his character says-- right before snorting a rail-sized line of white powder. The DVD commentary is actually Wilson going scene by scene describing what's accurate and what's embellished.
   175. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:13 PM (#3926160)
This is often referred to as magical realism. In fiction you can set up a world with "magical" rules (that's a generic term; could mean future science, super-powers, or whatever), but you have to obey them consistently. Also, if your magical rules don't specifically suspend a real-life rule, then you have to obey that too (e.g. MJ falling and stopping herself with her fingernails).

Yes, that's exactly it. If you set up your rules and follow them, I have no problem with how far out they are. Doesn't guarantee a good movie, of course, but I won't complain about the implausibilities.

EDIT: And it can be OK if you add things. Like if you have a trilogy and in the third movie a super hero discovers he has a new power. I don't mind that, it's an extension of your rules. I guess I actually mostly have a problem with your "also" there. Daredevil has his powers, you established that. You didn't establish that he could jump 30 feet. You didn't add superhuman leg strength later. He just did it.
   176. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:22 PM (#3926163)
Do you guys pay attention to nothing I ever say? I haven't kept it a secret...

You may also want to check out my blog, if you're into that kind of thing.

I'm not always observant. Plus I go through periods where I don't come here (partially because the Cubs get so bad I can't take anything baseball-related, and partially because this plays kills my work productivity).

Awesome site. Bookmarked. May need to go dig out my LSH run and re-read it now.
   177. rfloh Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:24 PM (#3926165)
"“Billy [Beane] called me and said Keith Law had sent him his review. I looked at it and I thought, What’s he talking about?” Lewis told Moviefone earlier on Wednesday. “It’s very weird that he’s on this. He’s intellectually dishonest, and I don’t know to what purpose.”"

That makes both of you then. Moneyball is an intellectually dishonest book.
   178. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:25 PM (#3926166)
EDIT: And it can be OK if you add things. Like if you have a trilogy and in the third movie a super hero discovers he has a new power. I don't mind that, it's an extension of your rules. I guess I actually mostly have a problem with your "also" there. Daredevil has his powers, you established that. You didn't establish that he could jump 30 feet. You didn't add superhuman leg strength later. He just did it.

I don't disagree with anything you're saying here. The point to my "also" was that in a world of superheroes, we're fine with superpowers, but if a character takes an Android-powered smartphone, launches an app, and uses the phone to heal his wounds, we're going to have a problem.
   179. DA Baracus Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:26 PM (#3926168)
Even if it totally sucks, this is it, guys. This is the movie about sabermetrics. There ain't no waiting for the next one.


That's not a compelling reason to watch a movie if it sucks.

Who cares if the movie does suck?


Do you normally chose to watch movies that suck?
   180. asinwreck Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:36 PM (#3926174)
The DVD commentary is actually Wilson going scene by scene describing what's accurate and what's embellished.


His commentary alone is worth the price of the DVD, in part because it allows viewers who may not have been familiar with Wilson to see how well Coogan captured him. I also liked Howard Devoto making a cameo in the film to question the veracity of the scene he was in.
   181. Greg K Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:37 PM (#3926175)
Do you normally chose to watch movies that suck?

If a movie gets made about my life I'm probably going to see it even if I know there's a pretty good chance it will suck. I think this was Dan's point, objectivity aside, this is a movie on a topic we're all interested in. It's very likely going to be the only movie ever made about a topic we all spend a lot of time thinking and writing about, discussing and reading. At least for me, the objective bar has been lowered for this movie unlike any in years. If I thought it looked "meh" I'd probably still go see it, and I don't see a lot of movies in theatre.
   182. Dan The Mediocre Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:38 PM (#3926178)
87% on Rotten Tomatoes.


I'll accept that in the same spirit as a poll that has Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard having written 6 of the 7 greatest books of all time.
   183. Greg K Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:44 PM (#3926182)
Is there a movie equivalent to that music program where you rate a bunch of songs and it spits out suggestions?

That would be useful.
   184. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:46 PM (#3926185)
Who cares if the movie does suck?

People who like movies?

I haven't been holding my breath waiting for a movie about sabermetrics. Why would I? It already exists, it doesn't need a movie to validate it. Certainly not a shitty one. I am interested in the movie because I enjoyed the book but it's not going to fill some gap in my life because of its subject matter.
   185. formerly dp Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:49 PM (#3926187)
My mom was a secretary for an ad house back in those days, and she swears that the show totally nails how things were.

That was the impression I had from talking to people I know who study advertising, and phredbird's was the first time I'd seen it suggested otherwise.

Is there a movie equivalent to that music program where you rate a bunch of songs and it spits out suggestions?

That would be useful.


A quick and easy way would be to create a new account on Amazon and then start adding movies you like to the shopping cart. Amazon's recommendation engine works really well IMO.
   186. phredbird Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:49 PM (#3926188)
a couple of people i know in the ad business say they can't watch 'mad men' for much the same reason, which is too bad cuz i love that show.

Funny, I know more than a few 70 y.o. retired advertising people who are in recovery; they say MM gets the milieu precisely right.


i'm glad to hear that! the guys i know who aren't into it are not 70 yr old vets, so maybe they just can't relate or something.
   187. formerly dp Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:52 PM (#3926189)
His commentary alone is worth the price of the DVD, in part because it allows viewers who may not have been familiar with Wilson to see how well Coogan captured him.

That was my first exposure to him. I know of him as a fan of Factory Records, and read Deborah Curtis's Touching from a Distance, which references him, but otherwise was in the dark.

I also liked Howard Devoto making a cameo in the film to question the veracity of the scene he was in.

Absolutely genius. I use this film to teach postmodernism and it helps students immensely. Plus it gets them into some good music, one of the best film soundtracks ever.
   188. A Random 8-Year-Old Eskimo Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:53 PM (#3926192)
I'll accept that in the same spirit as a poll that has Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard having written 6 of the 7 greatest books of all time.


I don't see the two as comparable at all. Critics are not flawless. I don't always agree with their opinions on movies. However, an aggregation of reviews from movie critics is different from a relatively obscure poll that most people weren't informed about and where there was a campaign to get submit ballots containing certain books. An equivalent site to Rotten Tomatoes that aggregated picks from different literary websites would not have produced the same results.

Even if these critics don't know as much about baseball and can't evaluate the accuracy of the movie in the same way that readers of BBTF can, they can still offer valid opinions every other aspect of the movie, from acting to entertainment value to directing to plot pacing and so forth.
   189. phredbird Posted: September 15, 2011 at 08:54 PM (#3926193)
I would be really curious about their objections, given the way the industry has changed from then to now. Which I thought was part of the point of the show. I haven't followed the literature on the show-- an article discussing what they got right about the industry from that period and what they're distorting would be a good read.


i'm more or less the same age as the sally draper character. there have been numerous times betty or don have done something exactly as my parents did in those days. don resembles my father, smokes like my dad did, drinks like he did ... his office looks like my dad's office did in those days. its eerie. so i tend to think weiner has applied his talents to the verisimilitude of the business too. as i said just now, i am glad to hear that someone else has heard that weiner has got it right.
   190. formerly dp Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:04 PM (#3926205)
so i tend to think weiner has applied his talents to the verisimilitude of the business too. as i said just now, i am glad to hear that someone else has heard that weiner has got it right.

I think this interview is the one where Weiner says that although he's writing about the '60s, many of the cultural (gender, race, sexuality) norms he portrays persisted well into the '80s even in larger metros like LA. (That might not be the right interview, I don't have time to listen through it right now)
   191. hokieneer Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:07 PM (#3926207)
87% on Rotten Tomatoes.

I don't see the two as comparable at all. Critics are not flawless. I don't always agree with their opinions on movies. However, an aggregation of reviews from movie critics is different from a relatively obscure poll that most people weren't informed about and where there was a campaign to get submit ballots containing certain books. An equivalent site to Rotten Tomatoes that aggregated picks from different literary websites would not have produced the same results.


It also has a rating of 81 on metacritic, based on just 4 reviews. I usually only use metacritic to see the aggregate review of a video game that I don't have the time to play anymore because I have a toddler running around, but I still like to pretend I can waste time on my Playstation. I'm not sure how reliable their aggregate is compared to Rotten Tomatoes, but I assume the methodology and source reviews are comparable.
   192. formerly dp Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:08 PM (#3926209)
I've got it on hold at the library but it hasn't come around to me yet.

Probably a good choice, not something I can imagine wanting to re-read. Morrison can't decide what he wants the book to be, IMO-- it's part cultural criticism, but interspersed with his autobiography, which is an interesting strategy, but one that makes it a little incoherent at executing both. It did prompt we to go back and re-read his JLA and New X-Men runs. Before the book came out, I had been reading through his awesome work on Doom Patrol.
   193. Swedish Chef Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:12 PM (#3926212)
I usually only use metacritic to see the aggregate review of a video game

What's the point? Big games doesn't get bad reviews anymore, the scale starts at seven.
   194. DA Baracus Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#3926218)
If a movie gets made about my life I'm probably going to see it even if I know there's a pretty good chance it will suck. I think this was Dan's point, objectivity aside, this is a movie on a topic we're all interested in.


It's not a movie about our lives. It's a movie based on something we're very interested in, but so are a bunch of other movies.

It's very likely going to be the only movie ever made about a topic we all spend a lot of time thinking and writing about, discussing and reading. At least for me, the objective bar has been lowered for this movie unlike any in years. If I thought it looked "meh" I'd probably still go see it, and I don't see a lot of movies in theatre.


Yes, but for most of us, if it stinks then we're not going to be interested in seeing it. That it's the only movie about the subject isn't a good enough reason.

For example, I would be very interested to see a good movie about Kevin Carter, Greg Marinovich, Ken Oosterbroek, and João Silva. But unless I come across it on cable, I'm not going to watch The Bang-Bang Club, because it got bad reviews.
   195. hokieneer Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:28 PM (#3926221)
What's the point? Big games doesn't get bad reviews anymore, the scale starts at seven.

I mostly agree with you, the scale needs an adjustment for any huge title. I don't necessary look at the score, but metacritic will have a nice index of 40+ reviews from numerous different publications where I could theoretically go read individual pros/cons.

Again this is a mostly pointless exercise for me anymore. I still have at least 3 games I've purchased this year that I have not finished yet, plus a few more games that I've been playing off an on for over a year now.
   196. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:35 PM (#3926227)
The point to my "also" was that in a world of superheroes, we're fine with superpowers, but if a character takes an Android-powered smartphone, launches an app, and uses the phone to heal his wounds, we're going to have a problem.

Yeah, I phrased my comment poorly. I was agreeing with all of your points, just trying to emphasize the one.
   197. Dock Ellis on Acid Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:37 PM (#3926228)
Agree with #195 - Metacritic is a terrific resource for folks like me who enjoy video games but rarely buys new ones.

Also, I'm at least a console/generation behind, so it's great when I want to find a new PS2 or even PS1 game to play.
   198. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:39 PM (#3926232)
A quick and easy way would be to create a new account on Amazon and then start adding movies you like to the shopping cart. Amazon's recommendation engine works really well IMO.

Also, Netflix (if you have an account) has just this sort of thing: go through and rate a bunch of movies and it will spit out suggestions. The more you rate, the better it is at suggesting.
   199. Greg K Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:47 PM (#3926239)
Yes, but for most of us, if it stinks then we're not going to be interested in seeing it. That it's the only movie about the subject isn't a good enough reason.

I think this might indicate we're talking about slightly different things. How can anyone know if a movie stinks if you don't see it?

Normally I'd only see a movie in theatres if I was reasonably sure it was a good movie. With Moneyball I'd lower my standard to, "as long its not universally panned". I have similar lower standards for anything Winona Ryder is in, or if someone one day finally makes that 18 hour mini-series on the August 1914 Diplomatic Crisis I've been demanding the film industry make these past twelve years.

Personal interest raises the odds I'm willing to run that a movie sucks. If I somehow knew 100% before going in that a movie was going to suck, then yeah I'd probably avoid it no matter what it was about.
   200. scotto Posted: September 15, 2011 at 09:52 PM (#3926243)
I've had pretty bad luck with Amazon and Netflix recommendations. The best remain person to person, including the Lounge's new music thread, and other BTF threads that get into movies, books or music. The forum area has a book thread that emphasizes history and the spec fic genres, it could use some help.

Recent examples of new stuff I've picked up and been very happy I have include The Antlers Hospice, ###### Up, The Joy Formidable, St. Vincent, Cults, Cloud Atlas, Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl, Grant Green Complete Quartets with Sonny Clark, Barcelona, Local Hero (a rewatch of something I saw eons ago), and The Wind That Shakes the Barley. Plus buzzing through Herzog's catalog like a crazy person.

Disclaimer: I like Pavement, but think it's terribly overrated.
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