Monday, July 10, 2006

Now Playing: Eight Men Out

I'm kicking myself for not seeing this gem before now, but John Sayles always worries me. When he hits its a powerhouse film like Lone Star but when he misses he does so by a wiiiiide margin with a rambling, aimless dud like Limbo. But the man is known as the go-to script doctor in Hollywood and with good reason. He's been used on more than a few blockbusters like Armageddon and Apollo 13 because the man has a way with words most of us can only dream of.

Eight Men Out is a terrific tale brought home by an ensemble of actors that have all made significant names for themselves. I think around this time was when both John Cusack and Charlie Sheen were coming into their own so it's fascinating from a historical point of view to go back and see them before fame took hold.

This is of course based on the infamous Black Sox scandal surrounding eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox directly throwing, or having knowledge of the plan to throw, that year's World Series. I love old Chicago and seeing it shot how it was is gold for a history nut like me. It's also a fun and fast moving story that shows how one little suspicion slowly builds to the complete unraveling of the scheme by two reporters. Sayles himself plays Ring Lardner, one of the two reporters, and I thought it was a distraction having him at the center of things. It'd be like M. Night Shyamalan being a supporting character in his films rather than his normal "Captain Exposition" role. At any rate, it remains a solid piece of historical film making and one that's highly recommended.

I'm actually enjoying getting caught up on the blog now, and have a few more reviews to knock out. I'll get to those throughout the week and right now I need to also burn through season three of The Shield. Hopefully it's as good as the first two seasons were.

EDIT: I actually realized tonight when I logged back in that I never hit publish. This review is from the first of June and should have gone up then but didn't. Feel free to enjoy it now, and also note that I've since burned through season 3 of The Shield and packed in a few new movies too.

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