Ah, baseball, the great American pastime. It almost seems un-patriotic to not enjoy the sport…and yet I must admit I’m not a fan. Not even a little. When I saw that ThisTV would be airing Eight Men Out, starring John Cusack and Christopher Lloyd, I thought to myself ‘A movie about baseball has got to have more plot than an actual baseball game; I think I’ll check it out!’
For those of you who, like me, were not alive in 1919 and don’t have a plethora of baseball trivia stored away in your brain, this film is about a sketchy plan to throw the World Series by having the White Sox deliberately lose, in exchange for making thousands of dollars in bets against themselves. Despite being a pretty awesome team, the players were getting rather frustrated with their compensation. An early scene in the film depicts the players finishing a game and finding their bonus afterwards to be a row of bottled champagne gone flat. Non-fizziness aside, you might think getting paid in booze sounds like a grand idea. But when it comes time to try and pay rent and buy groceries, I’m pretty sure things start to unravel.
So, with all this unhappiness, a plan is hatched among some of the players, and they conspire with some shady rich guys to fix the World Series. What could go wrong?
As the Series got underway, the Sox did a pretty good job of making their losing look legitimate, trading wins with opposing team Cincinnati Reds. But rumors abounded, and after the World Series ended with a final score of 5-3 Reds, an official trial was held to determine what exactly had transpired and who was involved. Despite their planned loss, there were some teammates who claimed to have known nothing of the scandal.
In the end, eight White Sox players were found guilty of conspiring/having knowledge of the conspiracy and banned from professional baseball. All in all, the whole scam did not go as smoothly as planned. Admittedly, this isn’t the most feel-good type of film, but I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, and the cast was solid. So there you have it, my personal and non-professional film critic opinion of Eight Men Out. Until next time.
- Jess D.
Eight Men Out, 1988, rated PG
Starring: John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, Clifton James
Directed by: John Sayles
Written by: Eliot Asinof, John Sayles
Watch Eight Men Out on ThisTV!
Friday March 21st at 5am or(again) Thursday March 27th at 9pm!