Monday, April 11, 2005

Fever Pitch

One of my loyal readers has requested that I review the movie "Fever Pitch." It makes sense that I should do so, because it's a very Boston, very Red Sox movie, and most of the people I know in town are extras in it. I am also always happy to oblige reader requests.

I saw the movie last night at the Loews Theater Boston Common. First of all, I'm not sure any movie is worth $10.25 per person, not to mention another $8.50 for a small popcorn and a Sprite. Okay, now I will stop bitching about prices like an old, crotchety person. (although I do have a little old, crotchety person inside me just foaming to get out)

I went into the Loews Theater Boston Common wanting to hate this movie. After all, Bill Simmons bitched about Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore dancing in celebration at the Sox' World Series win on the field in St. Louis for the entire off-season. (A low point of the movie, I must agree, though more on that later.)

But all in all, it was hard to complain about this movie. It had footage of lots of actual games from 2004 (a season no Red Sox fan will ever mind seeing replayed endlessly, whenever, wherever), plenty of local Boston flavor including cameos by Dennis Eckersley, ol' bug eyes Don Orsillo, and The Cask and Flagon, and a scene of the lead character taking out sheet after sheet of new, shiny, uncut Season Tickets from a box sent to him in the mail. Very moving.

One of the most important factors in deciding my ultimate feelings about this movie was the soundtrack. The Farrelly Brothers, who are from New England (plus), but the part of New England that is Rhode Island (minus), managed to include every song that is meaningful to the Fenway experience, including "Dirty Water," "Sweet Caroline," and "Tessie." It really felt like a baseball season. So much so that I am now dying to go to a game. Like in a primal need kind of way. It would have been actually cruel to release this movie in the dead of winter. Instead, the home opener is 3 hours from now, and my appetite is thoroughly and intensely whetted. (Although, who knows when I will actually get to go to a game, being neither celebrity, large corporation, nor scion of a famous New England family. The games have been sold out for ages. Does that happen at Safeco Field, Dodger Stadium, or Camden Yards within a few nanoseconds of the tickets going on sale? I think not.)

All of those things are plusses. Now for the minuses. I mean, this movie is a romantic comedy. Which I am not against (see "Sheldon" quote from two posts ago). But don't go to it thinking it's a sports movie, per se. The major plus side of that is that the non-baseball loving female (or male! let's not be sexist) type people in your life will probably be willing to go to this movie and will enjoy it. Being a romantic comedy, it has the requisite lovey-dovey ending and some believability-stretching moments for the purposes of bringing those two kids together in the end. But there's nothing super retch-worthy (speaking of retching..well, you'll see when you watch the movie). In other words, if you survived the last two minutes of "Four Weddings and a Funeral"--an otherwise outstanding film that ends with a drenched Andie MacDowell coyly reciting, "Is it still raining? I hadn't noticed," while gazing into the googly eyes of Hugh Grant-- then you'll be fine.

The most glaring error of the movie was the moment of infamy referred to incessantly by Simmons, when Drew and Jimmy go cavorting around the field at Busch Stadium after the Red Sox win. They actually did this at the actual Red Sox win, despite the fact that these two people are ACTORS and supposedly Jimmy Fallon might actually have been a YANKEES fan before shooting this movie when he had some kind of religious conversion to RedSoxdom (every true apostolate knows such a conversion is impossible). So that was pretty much bullshit. The only player D & J could get to cavort with them was Curtis Leskanic, which should tell you everything you need to know about that. Also, why on earth would two "normal" Sox fans be allowed to frolic on the field when just a series before at Fenway they were firmly relegated to their (granted, fabulous) seats? There was no need for that, and no need for Major League Baseball to kiss Hollywood's ass to give permission for it in the first place.

That gripe aside, the movie was actually pretty great. It might have been the songs, the hot days and cold beers at Fenway, remembering the baseball joys and sorrows of 2004 (since you know it all ended well, seeing the low moments in there too just makes it all sweeter), the look of Boston in summer, the beautiful green expanse in front of the Green Monster, or that cracking bat sound, but whatever the case, "Fever Pitch" did a fantastic job of getting me excited for the season ahead. Consider me fluffed.

6 Comments:

At 6:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a red sox fan living in SoCal, I don’t often get a chance to see the Boston skyline, Fenway or the Charles. But having lived in the city for a few months, this movie was able to capture just about everything visually that I miss! Thanks for incurring the expense on my behalf. JQ

 
At 6:37 PM, Blogger scs said...

Anytime JQ! It was my pleasure.

 
At 6:38 PM, Blogger joyandpain said...

I was going to ask your opinion the movie myself, so I'm glad to see a posting about it. I think I will have to wait some time before seeing this movie since I currently can't stand romantic comedies. Maybe next year I'll catch it on video.

 
At 6:40 PM, Blogger scs said...

Say it ain't so, joyandpain! Is romance dead? You should know this was a very palatable romantic comedy, as romatic comedies go. Also, the movie makes fun of her three married friends and their geeky/evil husbands, so that's a good time. Don't give up on the genre yet.

 
At 2:46 PM, Blogger charles.bukowski.costanza said...

thanks for the thorough review: it covered all of the aspects that are essential to you (which makes it fascinating by itself---you did well to acknowledge your biases, nice work). but i need a little more on the characters: drew is like drew does--a known quantity. but jimmy? i've always wanted to like him better than i actually do; he's one of those. i'm sure that he's passable or you would have mentioned it. i'm just curious. by "curious," i mean "was thinking of going to see the matinee showing of this, stoned, by myself, but am looking for something tangible to recommend it over 'kung fu hustle.'"

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger scs said...

Honestly, huntsman, being a Mariners fan is probably not gonna do it for you in terms of your enjoyment of this movie. A huge part of my ticket price being worth it was the "Boston stuff" that I live every day. That helped me to overlook plot weaknesses, Drew & Fallon being just okay (I mean fine, just not super), the ending's hasty re-write once the Sox won, and the general pitfalls of the romantic comedy genre. Then again, I would rather watch re-runs of Julie Child on PBS than sit through anything called "Kung Fu Hustle." Actually, Julia's quite good.

 

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