Friday, September 30, 2011

Baseball still on the brain, with Bennett Miller's next and more

It may be a slight exaggeration to say, as my friend Bob Connally did very well, that Wednesday night was "The Greatest Night of Sport You Will Ever See" except that for fans of certain baseball teams, it really was.

Even if you had no dogs in that fight, the final American League playoffs spot being decided in two dramatic games finishing three minutes apart showed just why baseball is not just America's pastime, but also its greatest sport, even if football is king for the moment.

And really, there's no better way to follow up that glorious night (especially for fans of one seriously cursed team from Charm City) than by going to see "Moneyball" if you missed it in week one, since it's the best baseball I've seen in many years, and one that thanks to Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and just some whip-smart writing will appeal just as much to people who somehow don't understand the allure of baseball as it will to diehard fans.

There's a solid chance that, though personally I'll be giving my money to "50/50" with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, "Moneyball" could finish in the top slot in week two given the baseball buzz, and that would certainly be well-deserved.

And I tell you all that to tell you this: "Moneyball" director Bennett Miller has just signed Steve Carell to star in his next movie, which will tell one of the truly odd stories to come out of my old and now new again corner of the world, that of John du Pont.

That name may not mean anything to lots of people, but certainly the Du Pont chemical company does. John, the heir to its sizable fortune, was a rather serious amateur wrestling fan, to the extent that he built a training facility called Foxcatcher on his Pennsylvania estate that attracted many of the country's top wrestlers. Until, that is, Du Pont, a paranoid schizophrenic, shot and killed Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler David Schultz (Du Pont died last year in a Pennsylvania prison at age 72.)

Just as with "Moneyball" and baseball, this is clearly an intriguing tale even if you don't care at all about wrestling (as a never terribly good former high school wrestler, I do, and coincidentally, Thomas McCarthy's wrestling movie "Win Win" still stands as my favorite movie of 2011 so far - rent it now.)

I have to assume that Carell would be playing Du Pont, but there's no confirmation on that just yet ... stay tuned.

There's also news out there about two of my other favorite filmmakers, Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden, who also coincidentally enough happened to make another of my favorite baseball movies, 2008's "Sugar." After that they made "It's Kind of a Funny Story," which while more than a bit uneven, was exactly the kind of human story that I look for in small-scale movies, and either one is well worth a rental.

For their next movie, the duo will direct (and I assume, as with their past movies, write, too, but not certain of that yet) something described as a "character drama" and titled "Hate Mail." It will be about the interweaving stories of several New Yorkers who receive said types of deliveries, and while that doesn't sound like the most intriguing of premises, they haven't let me down yet, so I'm in.

And finally today, before I close with one video clip, think of all your dream candidates to play James Bond. Daniel Craig is indeed pretty good, and he should be great as Mikael Blomkvist in Fincher's take on "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," but just think how amazing it would be if the role were to go to Stringer Bell.

That's apparently an old rumor, but being a now fairly old dude, I heard it for the first time this week as Idris Elba was making the promotional circuit for season two of "Luther," which premiered on BBC America (and my DVR) this week. Far from simply the first "Black Bond," which Elba rightly dismissed the significance of in interviews, what he would instead be, as fans of "The Wire" know, is someone who would give the character even more of an edge than Craig did, and a welcome boost of new energy.

In the meantime, police procedurals don't get much better than "Luther," in which Elba plays the titular lead detective. Season one is available now streaming from Netflix, and it's well worth tracking down.

And I'll leave you today, before I go swimming, help my dad spread some gravel for a greenhouse and then go see "50/50," with this clip for Roman Polanski's "Carnage," definitely one of the movies I'm most looking forward to for this fall/winter. Having seen the play it's based on by Yasmina Reza, I can tell you that it's one seriously wicked war of words, and with the movie starring Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly, it should be just as great. Enjoy this clip of Reilly describing his past experience in a "gang," and have a perfectly pleasant weekend. Peace out.

64 comments:

Bob said...

Saw "Moneyball" again last night. Holds up great on repeat viewing. I still can't publish on Blogger. Getting pretty frustrated.

Reel Fanatic said...

I've been having trouble with it, too, but I've managed to figure out that I really shouldn't complain too much about the few things in this world that are actually still free .. and I'll probably go see Moneyball again this weekend, too

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