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The great Chicago White Sox team of 1919 is the saddest team to ever win a pennant. The team is bitter at their penny pincher owner, Charles Comiskey, and at their own teammates. Gamblers take advantage of this opportunity to offer some players money to throw the series. (Most of the players didn't get as much as promised.) But Buck Weaver and the great Shoeless Joe Jackson turn back at the last minute and try to play their best. The Sox actually almost come back from a 3-1 deficit. Two years later, the truth breaks out and the Sox are sued on multiple counts. They are found innocent by the jury but baseball commissioner Landis has other plans. The eight players are suspended for life, and Buck Weaver, for the rest of his life, tries to clear his name. Written by
Patrick Lynn <email@example.com>
Beautiful, Devastating. The Finest Baseball Film Ever Made.
When people talk about their favorite baseball movies, you always hear the same titles being tossed around. Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, and of course, these are terrific movies. But I don't think any one movie has so perfectly caputured the game, the public's love and obsession with it, and how fragile and vulnerable the men whos play it can be. John Sayles movie, from Eliot Asinof's impeccably researched book, so perfectly caputres America in 1919, and paints the Black Sox scandal as a tragedy, whereby men capable of great things are brought down to the level of theives and gangsters by something as simple as greed, and as awful as revenge. What sets this movie apart, to me, is the cast. There is an athleticism about this cast. Charlie Sheen had a scholarship to play ball at Kansas State, and is well known for his passion for baseball. D.B. Sweeney, who is simply remarkable as Shoeless Joe Jackson, the illiterate hitting machine, whose tragedy also spawned the novel Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella, which served as the source for Field of Dreams, played minor league ball before a motorcycle accident ended his career. They look and play like ballplayers. In far too many films there is something horribly fake about the baseball aspect. Some capture baseball scenes perfectly, and simply haven't the emotional, real life depth that a movie needs, while others capture plenty on the emotional side but fall short in terms of the realism on the field. This movie is a rare GEM that captures both so well. The acting is terrific. Sweeny, as said, does a fantastic job, as do John Mahoney as the team's manager, and the terrific character player Michael Rooker (who oddly is only good in movies where he isn't highly billed...for example, don't see Jean Claude Van Damme and Michael Rooker in Replicant...) as Chick Gandil, the first baseman whose shady connections initiate the whole gambling scenario. But the standout performance has to be John Cusack as third-baseman Buck Weaver. His being drawn into the scandal's backlash is by far the most devastating part of this film, as he is the moral center of the film, torn between his love of his teammates, and his loyalty to the integrity of a game he loves, and never got over the loss of. Simply Remarkable.
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