Day 11 – The Best Sports Film
Eight Men Out (1988 D: John Sayles, W: John Sayles)
Asking me to write about a sports film is like… asking me to write about sports. I just don’t know enough to speak believably on the subject, and have gone so far as to ask friends of mine for phrases to use if I actually have to watch a football game, so I sound like I know what I’m talking about. This strategy, as you might expect, pretty much backfires. I also used to invent player names to amuse myself (George Rumpelbacker was a recurring Tight End) while other people talked about the game. SO. Then. Eight Men Out. John Sayles is a favorite writer/director of mine, and this one knocks me out for its ensemble cast (c’mon — John Cusack, Michael Rooker, David Straithairn, Christopher Lloyd, John Mahoney, and there’s more) and the sad story at its heart. It’s the story of the Black Sox scandal, in which eight players for the 1919 Chicago White Sox conspire to throw the World Series. Sayles focuses wisely on Buck Weaver, who took no money but was thrown out anyway, and Straithairn’s Eddie Cicotte — another in a line of Straithairn’s deeply believable conflicted men.