by Jon Fusco
With football now sadly in our wake and winter continuing to keep a stranglehold on our collective will to set foot outside, it seems there’s not a lot to hope for these days. Fear not, brave filmgoers! Baseball is here! In four days, pitchers and catchers report to those areas of the country which are not covered in slush and black ice, bringing with them the promise of sun, fresh cut grass and the smell of hot dogs and boozed-out bleacher fans.
Here are 6 films to get you excited for the re-emergence of our national pastime. Plus, it’s Spring Training!
The return of baseball also signals the return of Fantasy Football’s slightly more meticulous cousin….with 2430 games a season, compared to the NFL’s 256, the word “obsession” becomes somewhat of an understatement. Fantasy Baseball, for the subjects of this documentary, is life. It’s, um, a little sad. Watch above, free!
Could 2014 be the year Billy Beane finally brings a championship to Oakland? Heart-poundingly tense, beautifully adapted by Aaron Sorkin, and featuring impeccable performances from Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman, this movie is, if nothing else, a fine education on how to build a championship caliber team from…well, pretty much nothing.
3. Angels in the Outfield
Possibly the greatest theological-baseball hybrid film to hit the 10-and-under demographic ever made. Joseph Gordon Levitt is said to have drawn the majority of his inspiration for Inception from his turn as baseball prophet/messiah Roger Bomman. Mostly this movie makes us nostalgic for the never-should-have-been changed “California Angels,” those throwback unis, and that awesome logo, but it does beg the question: is Mike Trout getting some help out there?
4. The Jackie Robinson Story
Before 42, there was this much less dramatized and Harrison Ford-less biography on Robinson’s historic career in the MLB. On April 15 this season, all players from each of the 32 teams will don the number 42 in celebration of his struggle to make baseball the truly great sport it is today. Watch above, free!
5. The Sandlot
Anyone who doesn’t like this movie is probably a can’t-hack-it pantywaist who wears their mama’s bra. And if you are one of the few that don’t enjoy this backyard baseball classic, you at least have to appreciate the insults…”butt sniffer,” “pus licker,” “fart smeller,” “buffalo butt breath,” “pee-drinking crap-face,” “you bob for apples in the toilet! And you like it!” When it comes down to it, there’s no better movie that embodies the spirit of baseball.
6. Rookie of the Year/Little Big League
We’re still convinced these movies are actually the same film. One is about a kid who manages a team. The other is about a kid who pitches for a team. We’re pretty sure one of them stars Gary Busey. In any case, the Cubs and the Twins could definitely use some help right now.
Alternate title: Emma Thompson is Flawless
Completely Unsolicited Advice on How to Give an Acceptable Oscar Speech
Whenever a remake comes out, your first instinct should be to scrounge all corners of the earth for the original. (Always watch the original first!) But since we’re inundated with the remake factory some like to call Hollywood, tasking yourself with seeing the original paired with every new release seems quite daunting.
Here are five reasons you just really need to watch the original Endless Love (1981).
1. It stars young and beautiful Brooke Shields, Tom Cruise, and James Spader.
This could be reason enough. The beautiful angel/paragon of youth that is Brooke Shields as a teenager floats around the screen like a nymph, leaving nothing but death and heartbreak in her wake.
Oh, also Tom Cruise has a bit part (shirtless) and James Spader is looking fine.
2. It’s visually stunning. Like, actually.
Acclaimed director Franco Zeffirelli and cinematographer David Watkin (who also shot Catch-22) bring this story to fruition with beautiful lighting schemes and an eye for visual nuance.
3. It features Diana Ross and Lionel Richie’s most famous single hit.
The titular song was a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 for 9 weeks. It also received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for “Best Original Song,” along with 5 Grammy nominations.
4. It’s MUCH sexier than the remake. More butts. More sex. More obsession.
The remake’s got nothing on the original when it comes to sex. The remake is rated PG-13 and doesn’t cross any notable lines, if you know what I mean. The original is full of passionate sex and naked butts.
5. It’s got a creepy Mrs. Robinson wannabe and very, very strange Oedipal… er, overtones.
Brooke Shields’ parents just won’t let her have sex with her man in peace. The mom wants him, the dad wants her. Yep. See it to believe it.
6. It has one of the coolest one-man stunts ever.
Not to spoil anything, but someone gets hit by a car at some point. The stunt was conducted in New York City by a single stuntman who does a high end-over-end flip in mid-air, one of the most notable single film stunts to date.
Watch the original now! Here or below:
Single on Valentine’s Day? You’re in good company. There are 100 million unmarried adults in America. And for the first time ever, the majority of US households are headed by an unmarried person. Watching this will 100% make you feel better. We promise!
Sochi + Snow Day = As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me. Watch now, free, here or below:
Why Greta Gerwig On A Sitcom Is A Good Thing For Female Storytellers
by Emily Buder
In a world studded with child stars and toddlers in tiaras, it’s tempting to dismiss famous faces under twenty as pop phenomena symptomatic of a vapid youth culture. But certainly it wasn’t always this way. Certainly the the child star once contributed something noble to a society much in need of a lift.
Enter Shirley Temple, the original child star. Out of the abyss of the Great Depression came a sprightly face framed with curls and dimples. This was the face of whimsy in a country that had forgotten it. The three-year-old danced into the homes of America’s overworked, underpaid masses, lending smiles to the hopeless and downtrodden. The frivolous antics of a small child became the fodder of a Hollywood legend.
Today, Temple is emblematic of the power of entertainment. Much like Charlie Chaplin, she showed a bourgeoning Hollywood industry the depth of its influence on the American psyche. But beyond the winsome face of youth that’s etched into our country’s history, little is widely known about Temple’s storied life, which came to an end last night after eighty-five years.
1. She helped save Fox from bankruptcy.
In 1934, Fox Films merged with Twentieth Century Pictures to become Twentieth Century-Fox. Its then studio head, Darryl F. Zanuck (pictured above), harnessed the fledgling talent that was three-year-old Temple and focused his resources upon cultivating her star status. Temple elevated the studio from near-bankruptcy—it was tens of millions of dollars in debt—to one of the most successful and profitable studios in Hollywood.
2. She stopped acting at 22.
Disheartening studio flops, a messy divorce, and a diminishing audience interest in the post-innocent Temple culminated in a decision to retire from acting at age twenty-two.
3. She was a spokeswoman for breast cancer awareness.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing a mastectomy in 1972, Temple held a news conference from her hospital room to raise awareness and encourage women not to “sit home and be afraid” after discovering a breast lump. At the time, mastectomies were secret operations, and Temple helped bring breast cancer awareness to the forefront of the nation’s priorities in public health discussion.
4. She was a politician.
A staunch opponent of the Vietnam War, Temple was a liberal Republican who once ran, albeit unsuccessfully, for Congress. After, however, she was appointed Representative to the 24th United Nations General Assembly and the United States Ambassador to Ghana by President Richard M. Nixon. Later, she also served as the U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, appointed by George H. W. Bush.
5. At age six, she was the first recipient of a Juvenile Academy Award.
In memoriam, watch these two famous films featuring Temple.
The Little Princess (1939)
Dora’s Dunking Doughnuts (short, 1932)
I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph. —