Posted by on August 31, 2005 in Film | 0 comments

Some of my favorite films fall under the ‘Movies that were Underrated and/or Underperformed at the Box Office’ category. A short list includes Gods & Monsters (Brendan Fraser at his best), To Die For (Nicole Kidman should have won an Oscar for this – she was incredible), A Walk on the Moon (Diane Lane + Viggo Mortensen = H O T), Wonder Boys (perhaps the only movie in history where you might like Michael Douglas), Bowfinger (Eddie Murphy’s first great performance since 1985), and Primal Fear (Edward Norton is mesmerizing in his first starring role).

Clint Eastwood has directed two of the most intense movies of the last few years, Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby, and both have left me with a new appreciation for the man. People seem to either love or hate his directing style. What I love about it is that every scene serves a purpose; there are no wasted shots or moments. Eastwood has the ability to put his actors (some of whom are infamously difficult) at ease, usually resulting in brilliant performances. The characters in his movies are always deeply conflicted, and Eastwood is very efficient about illustrating those struggles to the audience. As for Eastwood as an actor, I prefer his later work. I was very impressed by him in Million Dollar Baby, and I’ve always liked Absolute Power (which he also directed) and In the Line of Fire

I never gave it much thought before today, but there are a good number of movies that are either about or are somehow related to baseball. As a fan of film and of the game, I made a list of those I’d recommend and those I’d avoid. For every two Kevin Costner gems, Bull Durham and Field of Dreams, there is the inevitable For the Love of the Game. I don’t think Kev will ever recover from not becoming a Major League baseball player after his success at Cal State Fullerton. He even played an ex-MLB player in the surprisingly decent independent film The Upside of Anger. I watch The Natural and Eight Men Out every time they’re on cable. Guilty pleasure baseball themed films include A League of Their Own, The Fan (De Niro plays a stalker better than anyone on earth – see Cape Fear), the original Bad News Bears, Major League, and Stealing Home (two words: Jodie Foster). And although it was made for HBO, 61* is a fantastic one as well. I still haven’t seen (it is about the Red Sox after all) Fever Pitch or Mr. 3000.  Here are a few that I wouldn’t even watch if I were home sick on the couch: Angels in the Outfield, The Scout and Summer Catch (is Freddie Prinze Jr. good in anything??). Yikes

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