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ThisTV Movie Review: Shady Wagers, Flat Champagne, and Baseball

Eight Men Out coverAh, 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 lookCast lineup 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!

ThisTV Movie Review: Eagle Vs. Shark

eagle-vs-sharkLove can be awkward and strange and painful and funny and sometimes only makes sense to those involved in the relationship.

Never has that been made more apparent than in Eagle Vs Shark. This romantic comedy from Loren Taylor and at least one of the writers of Flight of the Conchords is not your typical rom-com fair. Jemaine Clement (Jarrod) is hilarious but not the first thing that comes to mind when you think ‘romantic lead,’ and Loren Taylor (Lily) is adorable but just so strange. It’s hard to picture her acting opposite the usual handsome love interests like Matthew McConaughey or Bradley Cooper (which actually makes Jemaine kind of perfect for her).

The plot to Eagle Vs Shark basically breaks down like this: Lily is quiet and awkward and madly in love with Jarrod, who comes in to the fast food restaurant where she works in order to pick up her co-worker, who is not at all interested. Determined to make her love known, Lily crashes Jarrod’s costume party, almost defeats him at his favorite video game, and pretty much inserts herself into his life from there on. Of course the path to true love does not go smoothly for Lily and Jarrod, and soon they are traipsing across the country to exact revenge on Jarrod’s old nemesis, prove their worth to friends and family, and finally (hopefully) find what they are looking for in each other.

eagle_vs_shark3If you are a fan of Flight of the Conchords, or comedy from New Zealand, or that wonderfully hard to watch type of comedy that makes you feel uncomfortable and embarrassed for the characters, Eagle Vs Shark should be right up your alley. There are quite a few moments in this film where you find yourself desperately wanting to look away or take a bathroom break or even pretend you are asleep. They’re funny, but you feel almost bad for laughing.

There are also some amazingly sweet moments where you watch the two leads reach out to each other in quiet, emotionally stilted ways. Ways that you can find yourself relating to because they seem so realistic. We’ve all had those moments in a relationship, especially at the beginning, where we want to connect to another person but have no idea how to make it happen without some awkwardness thrown in. It isn’t huge and flashy and exciting when it finally does happen for Lily and Jarrod. But in its soft and strange simplicity it’s pretty much perfect.

– Mia V

Eagle Vs Shark, 2007, rated R
Starring Loren Taylor, Jemaine Clement, Joel Tobeck
Directed by: Taika Waititi
Written by: Loren Taylor, Taika Waititi

Watch Eagle Vs Shark on ThisTV!
Monday March 3rd at 3pm or(again) Friday March 14th at 9am.