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Everyone's Gone to the Movies (Now We're Alone at Last)
2008-06-20 04:32
by Alex Belth
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to bronxbanterblog.com.

Variety has a wonderful new issue out celebrating 50 years of the Dodgers being in L.A. Our good pal Jon Weisman has his talented finger prints all over this one. I contributed two pieces to the issue--one, my picks for the ten best baseball movies of them all, another, a sidebar on ten memorable baseball scenes in non-baseball movies. Let me know which baseball flicks you think were robbed. Also, give me some more examples of good baseball scenes in non-baseball movies. There are many more of them than decent baseball films. I didn't even mention the Mantle-Maris scene in that old Doris Day movie, or the grenade-thrower from "Under Fire" who loved Dennis "El Presidente" Martinez.  Or the softball game in "Gung Ho."  Or...

Comments
2008-06-20 04:53:58
1.   bp1
"The Sandlot" is one of my favorite baseball movies ever. It seemed to echo my childhood, right down to when the game is called if they lose the ball, or everyone pitching in their coins to buy a new one. The scruffy kids beatin the tar out of the clean cut kids. It was sorta like home movies. A very fun movie. My kids like it, too.
2008-06-20 05:13:51
2.   williamnyy23
1 Sandlot was very good. I also love a movie called Pasttime, but don't know too many others who do. Another one I like is It Happens Every Spring, although admittedly, it is kind of corny.

I think I'd replace League of Their Own, which I hated, with one of those three.

2008-06-20 05:23:07
3.   williamnyy23
Baseball scenes in a movie is an interesting twist. I can't think of any good ones off the top of my head. Another interesting list would be the 10-best baseball related TV episodes. I'd nominate the Simpsons softball game, the X-files alien baseball episode; MASH covering the 1951 pennant race; and any number of Cheers episodes.
2008-06-20 05:28:09
4.   Josh Wilker
My favorite baseball-in-a-non-baseball-movie moment, or collection of moments, is from The Bad Lieutenant, when the Mets' (then unprecedented) comeback from a 3-0 series defecit provides the backdrop to Keitel's abject disintegration. The whole subplot is carried by the ranting radio voice of Chris "Mad Dog" Russo (who hated the movie). Best moment is when one of the Mets wins causes Keitel (who has bet on the other team) to shoot his car radio then turn on his siren and drive around like a maniac for a while.
2008-06-20 05:31:04
5.   Josh Wilker
4 : Here's that radio-shooting scene, even better than I remember it being:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ir8Y4iFrWk8

2008-06-20 05:37:47
6.   williamnyy23
4 Alex had that scene on the list.
2008-06-20 06:13:55
7.   Josh Wilker
6 : D'oh!
2008-06-20 06:17:07
8.   Sliced Bread
non-baseball movie-wise: Zelig on the Yankees was pretty damn funny.
2008-06-20 06:36:22
9.   mehmattski
Enthusiasm.... enthusiasm... enthusiasm.
2008-06-20 06:49:05
10.   wsporter
Alex with the Steely Dan reference; I didn't see that coming
2008-06-20 06:55:34
11.   mehmattski
Oh, how about the softball scenes from A Few Good Men ?

We have softball games and marching bands. They work at a place where you have to wear camouflage or you might get shot!

Also, yeah the Sandlot absolutely has to be in the top 10 baseball movies of all time. Since it's the only one I haven't seen, I'd have to bump Long Gone .

On a more blasphemous note, I'd put Field of Dreams on the bottom of the top 10. Just never did anything for me. Give me Bull Durham any day. In fact:

1. Bull Durham
2. The Sandlot
3. A League of Their Own
4. Eight Men Out
5. The Natural
6. Bad News Bears
7. Major League
8. Bang the Drum Slowly
9. Pride of the Yankees
10. Field of Dreams

2008-06-20 07:04:24
12.   williamnyy23
11 AFI just came out with their top-10 lists by genre, and they considered Field of Dreams as "fantasy" (#6) and not "sports".
2008-06-20 07:06:57
13.   YankeeInMichigan
I'd put The Rookie up there with the best of them. It gets extra points for maintaining a G-rating in the ninetees.

I'm not a big movie buff, and I can probably can't the movies that have completely satisfied me on both hands. The Rookie and A League of Their Own are both on the short list. (11 So, by the way, is A Few Good Men, though it's best "baseball scene" was "He does think better with his bat.")

I found The Natural, with its endless slo-mos and blatant lightness-darkness imagery, excrutiatingly painful to watch.

2008-06-20 07:13:40
14.   YankeeInMichigan
And I would give 61* honorable mention (not great but not a klinker). My days of baseball awareness began just after Mantle's retirement, so I had only a sketchy image of who he was. This movie filled in the blanks.
2008-06-20 07:18:20
15.   Jon Weisman
Alex's lists are in alphabetical order. And though he's too good a guy to admit it, I think that he'd make a change or two or three on the movies list if it weren't for an overbearing editor or two. But I think he did a great job writing up the stories.
2008-06-20 07:21:24
16.   williamnyy23
15 The entire section was fun to read...great job all around by the Toaster denizens.
2008-06-20 07:22:37
17.   Bama Yankee
11 Good call on A Few Good Men...

KAFFEE: I need my bat. I think better with my bat. Where's my bat?
JO: I put it in the closet.
KAFFEE: You put it in the closet.
JO: I was tripping over it.
KAFFEE: Don't ever put a bat in a closet.
.
.
.
KAFFEE: Stay here, I'm going to the office for a while.
SAM: Boy, he does think better with that bat.

I love that moview. BTW, sometimes when I'm having trouble thinking...I'll go get my bat (it doesn't usually help and then I just get more frustrated...and now I have a bat in my hands). I always wondered if Joe Torre started holding Jeter's bat after he saw A Few Good Men... ;-)

2008-06-20 07:31:30
18.   YankeeInMichigan
17 I love that movie too, though having gone to high school with Aaron Sorkin might make me a bit biased. He always dreamed of being a song-and-dance man. No one (even he) was aware of his latent playwriting talent.
2008-06-20 07:33:24
19.   rsmith51
Those scenes in City Slickers where they talk about baseball are pretty good.
2008-06-20 07:34:54
20.   rsmith51
I am guessing that Alex wouldn't have put FIeld of Dreams on there, but the editor insisted.

I love the movie, but I remember Alex saying he didn't care for it.

2008-06-20 07:39:38
21.   Raf
If you're into anime, you may want to give "Princess Nine" a shot.

Basically, the story is about a bunch of girls who form a baseball team with the intention of beating the boys in a tournament. Their ace is a young girl with a major league fastball which was taught to her by her late father. He pitched in the pros, a rising star that was caught in a game fixing scandal, and banned from the league.

Has all the sports cliches you would expect.

2008-06-20 08:12:19
22.   bartap74
Even if the Yankees are the villains, For the Love of the Game remains my favorite baseball movie. Intertwined with a romance, it follows the career of a pitching ace nearing the end of a storied career, trying to force one more magic performance out of his tired arm.
2008-06-20 08:13:09
23.   mehmattski
3 There's the South Park episode where the boys don't want to play baseball anymore, but every other team is much better at losing, so they keep advancing in the tournament...
2008-06-20 08:16:05
24.   Travis08
The Little League scene in Dazed and Confused, especially the "Good Game" exchanges after the game was over, was well-done.

Worst baseball movie: Fever Pitch. For so many reasons.

2008-06-20 08:25:34
25.   williamnyy23
22 Perception is funny. If there was a list for worst baseball movies, For the Love of the Game would be atop that list. The plot around the no-hitter seemed so contrived that it made me wince on more than a few occassions.
2008-06-20 08:46:38
26.   Raf
25 It was a good idea executed poorly.
2008-06-20 08:47:32
27.   jonnystrongleg
Not claiming it's top 10 (need some time to cultivate that list) but here is a funny baseball-related scene from I Love You to Death w/ Kevin Kline and Tracey Ullman.

Keanu Reeves and William Hurt are two stoner killers for hire stalling for time as they don't really want to go through with the hit:

Marlon: [Marlon holds bat up to Joey, ready to hit him]
Harlan James: Well, look at that.
Marlon: A Reggie Jackson signed bat.
Marlon: Whoa, man. Awesome.
Marlon, Harlan James: Reggie, Reggie, REGGIE, REGGIE!
Harlan James: How many homers has he hit, like, lifetime.
Marlon: Whoa man, he's the best.
Harlan James: Wow, man.
Marlon: I don't know
[pause]
Marlon: A bunch.

Downstairs, the confused family thinks they are chanting for "Reggae" music.

Extra points for its Reggie-ness.

2008-06-20 08:57:00
28.   kylepetterson
Major League is tops for me with the Sandlot in the #2 spot. Then again, my wife gives me crap for the fact that the only movies I watch are comedies and movies where people get shot. While it's not 100% true, it is about 95% true. Violence and jokes. Can't go wrong.

BTW, the reason that Charlie Sheen looked so much like a pitcher was because he pitched in high school. According to articles he was hitting upper 80's on his fastball.

2008-06-20 09:06:46
29.   JL25and3
27 Excellent call. I love that movie, and it's a great scene.
2008-06-20 09:09:12
30.   weeping for brunnhilde
Summer O' Sam!

One of Spike's best.

Features very poignant, running use of Yanks broadcasts, Scooterman et. al. to set mood and time.

Brings me back.

2008-06-20 09:12:51
31.   weeping for brunnhilde
24 Oh, that is a great scene.

So real.

Poor bastard, has to haul ass off the mound and head for the hills.

That's a great fucking movie.

2008-06-20 09:33:32
32.   Josh Wilker
Two thoughts about Alex's great lists:

The vastly underrated Bad News Bears in Breaking Training deserves to be on the list. It's the Beneath the Planet of the Apes of baseball movies. Where else could you see a technicolor collision of On the Road, Jimmy Baio, and Enos Cabell?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest would surely also make a list of best basketball scenes in non-basketball movies.

2008-06-20 09:47:22
33.   Eric Enders
Great job, Alex.

Another tremendous baseball scene in a non-baseball movie comes in Kurosawa's "Stray Dog." The cops are chasing a murderer and they attempt to corner him in the stands at a Yomiuri Giants game. It's a long 20- or 30-minute sequence, tension-filled. Kurosawa filmed the whole thing during an actual Giants game, and sent his actors amongst the real crowd to be filmed, Medium Cool-style. (Though of course this was before Medium Cool.)

2008-06-20 09:51:44
34.   williamnyy23
WSJ ranked the top-10 male athletes in the world (http://tinyurl.com/4zrly5), and Arod made the list at number 10.

Still, what amused me was a comment about why Arod and baseball players ranked so low: "Baseball is largely hand-eye coordination and some power" said Mr. Coyle. "It doesn't accomplish much endurance".

I wonder if Mr. Coyle has every played 162 baseball games in 175 or so days. That sounds like a pretty nice endurance accomplishment to me.

2008-06-20 09:59:33
35.   rbs10025
In orbit about Jupiter in 2010...

Floyd: I'd love a hot dog.
Curnow: Astrodome. Good hot dogs there.
Floyd: Astrodome? You can't grow a good hot dog indoors. Yankee Stadium. September. The hot dogs have been boiling since opening day in April. Now that's a hot dog.
Curnow: The yellow mustard or the darker kind?
Floyd: The darker kind.
Curnow: Very important.

2008-06-20 09:59:45
36.   jonnystrongleg
How about the Padres game from My Blue Heaven?

Steve Martin teaches the kids about the "bumper" during the national anthem.

2008-06-20 10:20:08
37.   Just fair
I couldn't think of any non-baseball movie baseball scenes. So I'll have to give props to George Constanza taking out Bette Midler in a Seinfeld. H-I-larious.
I loved the Sandlot as well, but the original Bad News Bears will always be # 1 in my program.
Even if it ends with, "HEY YANKEES, you can take your apology and your trophy and and shove it straight up your ass." : )
2008-06-20 11:18:33
38.   Just fair
Oh yeah, there was Robin Williams talking about the Yaz homer in Good Will Hunting. That was pretty good.
And there was a movie with a young, high school kid and and an old crotchety writer who is a reclsuse. They somehow become friends and they go to an empty Yankee Stadium at night. Can't remember the title or the actors. D'oh,
2008-06-20 11:32:18
39.   Travis08
38 Finding Forrester, best known for "You the man now, dog."
2008-06-20 11:43:55
40.   Just fair
39 Sean Connery. Yes. Thank you.
2008-06-20 11:57:29
41.   Josh Wilker
The brawl scenes with the bat-weilding baseball-uniform clad gang in The Warriors was pretty gripping (and ridiculous). Does that count?

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