Thursday, August 18, 2016

Shameless self-promotion: Underrated baseball movies at ClassicFlix (plus my favorite "modern" ones)

Check out my newest feature at ClassicFlix: a look at underrated baseball films. Tell 'em Cultureshark sent you, and don't you dare miss it!

Underrated Baseball Films
By Rick Brooks
As a lover of both baseball and old movies, I enjoy discussions of the best films about the national pastime. Unfortunately, too often arguments begin, say, 40 years ago and concentrate on modern times while excluding fine works from Hollywood's past. The Pride of the Yankees is deservedly beloved; one of the iconic movies of the golden age of studio filmmaking, but it often stands alone as the token "classic" choice in the conversation.
Now, this piece looks only at pre-1970 efforts. Some of my favorite post-1970 baseball movies include:
*The Natural (I loved it as a kid and hadn't read the novel beforehand. I was puzzled that so many grumbled about it at the time).
*Field of Dreams (Sappy? Yes, but I confess I liked it much more than "Bull Durham," which I almost didn't even consider a baseball movie at first because I was so annoyed by Susan Sarandon. I should revisit that one.)
*The Naked Gun (Hey, the last, what, 20 minutes takes place at a ballpark, and it's some of the funniest baseball movie footage this side of "The Babe Ruth Story.")
*The Rookie (Underappreciated recent gem--earnest and moving with a great Dennis Quaid performance)
I think all things considered, the best baseball movie ever might be John Sayles' Eight Men Out, which really brought a fascinating historical era to life. 42, by comparison, seems a bit sterile to me, though I think it is quite good in its own right.


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