If you’re not a baseball fan and you’ve never watched Moneyball because of that, here’s a great piece of news: it’s not really a baseball film; it’s a film about economics. Wait. No. That doesn’t make it sound more exciting. Moneyball by Michael Lewis is a book that changed the way baseball is viewed by fans and baseball personnel. It attempted to explain how the Oakland A’s, a team with a payroll a fraction of the size of, say, the Yankees, Red Sox, or Dodgers, is consistently in contention for a spot in the World Series. The answer is: they don’t sign players or people; they sign numbers.
The Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane became the disciple of a formula that looks for players who simply get on base. Getting on base produces runs; runs produce wins. Moneyball is the story of his crusade to change how baseball is run, and only Michael Lewis, who is the best writer on economic matters to people who have no understanding of economics (hi), and Aaron Sorkin, who can make any subject compelling and fun, could have put together a movie version of that crusade that is riveting. It’s one of Brad Pitt’s best performances, as Beane fighting the entirety of the A’s to make his vision work, and one of the film’s best scenes comes before things start to click and he stumbles upon an upbeat locker room after another loss that Beane knows he’s going to have to answer for to everyone.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a fascinating film, but I don’t know that I would exactly recommend it to anyone because it’s also kind of reprehensible. THIS IS A RED BAND CLIP, in other words. Not only is Scorcese in his full “F-bomb-as-a-substitute-for-writing-dialogue” mode, but pretty much everyone in the film is on drugs for most of the film. Drugs are BAD! However…..this is too hilarious to not recognize, so that’s my moral equivocation opening. Physical comedy is something that’s not chic right now, but masters of it (ex. Dick Van Dyke) have proven that it can be just as funny and witty as the cleverest retort. When you think “physical comedy”, Leonardo DiCaprio is not a name that springs to the fore. However, DiCaprio’s acrobatics trying to reach and operate his car when a metric ton of quaaludes hit his system is, by far, the film’s best scene. His inchworm contortions are amazing, and this is really only half the performance, because he only degrades when he reaches home and gets in a fight with an equally quaaluded Jonah Hill. Whatever you may think of the film as a whole, this part is brilliant. DRUGS ARE BAD! Ok, think I covered myself there.
Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week. August 19th brings some well-reviewed possibilities as well as, hard as this may be to believe, the most unnecessary remake yet. Continue reading In Theaters This Week (8/19/2016) – Ben Hur, Imperium, Kubo and the Two Strings, War Dogs
22 Jump Street was just as surprisingly as much fun as 21 Jump Street and 23 Jump Street is going forward (announced just today). How that jives with the end of the film, which flashes through every possible Jump Street scenario possible, who knows? As long as Phil Lord and Chris Miller are involved, the stupid awesomeness will continue. 22 Jump Street hits stores on DVD and Blu Ray on November 18, 2014. Full details on special features below: Continue reading 22 Jump Street Blu Ray/DVD Date and Details
It blows my mind that the same two guys who brought us The LEGO Movie are responsible for 21 and now 22 Jump Street. Phil Lord and Christopher MIller have my attention forever. If you think that making a sequel to 21 Jump Street is a horrible idea, the movie agrees with you and steamrolls over most of your objections in a way that nearly breaks the fourth wall but just skirts the edge. Think Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum look WAY too old to be undercover at a college? SO DO THE STUDENTS! They make relentlessly hilarious jokes at Tatum and Hill’s expense the entire film.
Tatum and Hill have a fantastic comedic chemistry and here’s the deal: if you liked 21 Jump Street, you’ll like 22 Jump Street. It makes not a bit of effort to deviate from the formula that made the first movie work. If anything, it’s sillier and looser in plot because they’re all just clearly having such a blast being around each other. While there’s nothing that can top Depp’s cameo from the first film, seeing what Jump Streets XXIII – LXVII would have been is nearly as good. Chris Miller and Phil Lord made me laugh again and are responsible for two of the five best movies of 2014 so far.