What happened Hollywood? I thought we had a deal. I would continue to support your callous materialism and celebrity telethons, and you, in return, would make a good movie about baseball every five years. For a while you kept your end of the bargain -- The Natural (1984) followed by Bull Durham (1988) followed by Major League and Field of Dreams (1989) followed by A League of their Own (1992) followed by The Sandlot (1993) followed by...well...you get the point. We had a good thing going there Hollywood.
And while I've continued to read Us Weekly on a semi-regular basis and donated several dollars to the Angels Amongst Us Foundation for Justice, your well hath run dry. In the past ten years you've given me Summer Catch, Mr. 3000, Fever Pitch, and a remake of Bad News Bears.
El-oh-El. I laugh aloud at your creative failure.
Since you're clearly out of ideas, Hollywood, I have compiled a few of my own informed suggestions for your benefit. Please consider the following list of potential baseball movies to be made in the near future.
And yes, Hollywood, until things change I will continue to address you in this snarky, patronizing tone. It makes me feel big.
"Cage Rats" - A low-brow ball-buster about a family that runs a derelict batting cage/family fun zone establishment. Jeff Daniels plays the owner and patriarch of the family, a minor league washout with big dreams and little business acumen. Danny Devito steals scenes as the disheveled groundskeeper who lives in a castle on hole 15 of the miniature golf course. Daniels' daughter, a talented and beautiful malcontent played by Mila Kunis, drives the plot forward with her wayward search for "something more.". And don't miss Jonathon Taylor Thomas' surprising and resurgent turn as Daniels' foul-mouthed nephew. Cameo by Ozzie Guillen as the world's worst pinball player.
Tagline: "Life's a pitch."
"Southwestia" - Part social commentary part Homeric epic, this affecting tale profiles the life of a travel team baseball coach (Val Kilmer) living in suburban Phoenix. Amidst personal turmoil -- home foreclosure, business failings, and the like -- the coach finds refuge in the success of his talented youngsters. The plot revolves around the complex, almost intimate, triangular relationship between the coach, his wife (Toni Collette) and the team's rudderless young star (the younger brother of the guy who played Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez...if he exists). Cameo by Tom Verducci as "Impressed Scout #2."
Tagline: "In the land dust and dreams, it's never just a game."
"Starstormers" - By the year 2450 everything has changed. Planet Earth has been consolidated into a single nation state, just one member of a cross-galactic coalition of 8 life-supporting planets. All members of the Android Coalition, as it is known, are forbidden from traveling to non-member states. All except the Starstormers, that is, a barnstorming baseball team composed of the Android Coalition's very best. Together this group of 25 travels to the universe's end, battling strange creatures and transversing vast expanses of unknown. Starring Robert Downey Jr. and Dule Hill as a slick-fielding, smooth-talking double play combination. Cameo by Placido Polanco as a contact-hitting alien.
Tag line - "Life ain't easy in the Final Frontier League."
"Las Ninas Montanas" - A young nun (Shannyn Sossamon) arrives in the Andean village of Ria Blanca tasked with improving the church's missionary presence in an isolated mountain region. When met with resistance from the town elders, the nun, a former All-American pitcher in high school, decides to form a softball team among the village youth. Hoping to leverage the kids' support as part of her overall mission, the nun ends up challenging local conventions and unearthing a painful communal secret. Cameo by Clayton Kershaw as a local Peace Corps member.
Tag line: "At mountain's top, at world's edge, stay on the dirt path."
"Heading Home" - The honest and arresting story of an All-Marine All-Star team that barnstorms military encampments during the Korean War. Led by star pitcher Harold MacArthur (Joseph Gordon Levitt), this roving band of ballplayers tries to make sense of the game they love amidst untold death and decay. Cameo by Buster Posey as an injured, homesick GI.
Tag line - "There are no ties in baseball. Only in war."
"The Turnstiles" - A Kurosawa-obsessed ticket attendant (Paul Giamatti) annoys the shit out of everyone who passes through his gate by quoting lines from Kurosawa movies. Cameo by C.J. Wilson as a delightfully frank peanut hawker.
Tagline - "45,000 fans, 9 players, 7 Samurai, 1 Asshole."
"Ventiuno: The Roberto Clemente Story" - How has this bipoic NOT been made? Humble beginnings, groundbreaking player, mesmerizing talent, heroic and tragic downfall, symbolic afterlife. Check, check, and check. This story is ready for its close-up. Biggest question: Who would play Clemente? No one comes to mind immediately. Maybe a former or current player a la Ray Allen in "He Got Game?" Maybe Laz Alonso? I'm open for suggestions here. Cameo by Many Sanguillen as a Puerto Rican journalist.
Tag line: "Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth."
"Market Street Mayhem" - Baseball players by day, contract killers by night, there is no hit too big for assassin duo Pablo Sandoval and Brian Wilson. With Wilson bringing the brawn, and Sandoval providing the uncomfortable ethnic humor, no one can top this pulverizing pair. But what happens when GM Brian Sabean puts a clause in each of their contracts that explicitly forbids murder? Will the Beard and the Panda cave? Or will they keep on kicking ass? Cameo by Bud Selig as an underground informant in the mold of Huggy Bear.
Tag line: "They might be Giants, they might be killers, they might be both."
Note to reader: I don't know jack about movies. I KNOW you could do better. Ammendments welcome!