It's that time of year again, when film geeks - and those who like to pretend that they're film geeks, despite having seen "Avatar" four times in the theater - go crazy over the Oscar nominations. "How many have you seen? I've seen six already, and I'm going to see three more this weekend. Can you believe they overlooked Sean Penn again?" I can't exactly blame them. I used to be pretty crazy about the whole Oscar thing back when I saw movies regularly at the theater. So maybe I'm just jealous.
In any case, the 2011 Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, and, wouldn't you know it, ten different baseball movies were nominated! Can you believe it? It's pretty amazing. If you're unfamiliar with the baseball themes of these movies, I've provided a handy synopsis of each below (with thoughts on a few of the real nominees included - shh!). Which do you think has the best chance to win?
It's the last week of July and the Brewers are right on the edge of contention. With clubs clamoring for the MVP bat of Prince Fielder before the trade deadline, Doug Melvin and Mark Attanasio are faced with a tough decision, which is only made tougher when a last minute bombshell is dropped.
In the world of competition softball, a driven, friendless girl pushes herself to the extreme to win the starting pitcher spot on the national team. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis star in this dark look at the sport.
NOTE: I don't think there's any reason to remove Natalie and Mila from this project, do you?
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Jose Canseco, recently retired as a UFL champion, returns to Major League Baseball to make one last go at it. Little does he know, there are forces all around who would do anything to keep him out. Looks like those UFL skills are going to have to come out of retirement…
A technologically advanced group of spies and con-artists are hired by Hank Steinbrenner to infiltrate Scott Boras' agency and discover his secret to winning such large contracts. The team is not prepared for what they find.
NOTE: "Inception" wasn't nominated for Directing or Editing? Seriously? This movie was fantastic for three reasons: an incredibly interesting, unique story that made complete sense in it's world, fantastic directing of the convoluted story, and even more fantastic editing of five or six complicated worlds. And yet it gets ignored in two of those categories? That's just strange.
"The Kids Are All Right"
Financed by MLB owners David Glass and Robert Nutting, a lighthearted look at a young, small market team as it fights it's way into the World Series.
"The King's Speech"
Reigning AL Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez becomes the face of the league when he starts off the season with a 0.00 ERA in his first 12 games with only a 1-5 record to show for it. Things become tough for Hernandez when he realizes that he will be forced to address the whole of MLB at the All-Star Game, leading him to employ a certain Japanese teammate in speech and culture lessons.
NOTE: I think I would watch Geoffrey Rush in anything. Lucky for me, he tends to make terrific movies. Even when he plays Cassanova Frankenstein.
"The Social Network"
MLB's best Twitterers, a collection of fringe players and bullpen guys, join together in a secret group to take down the big name superstars who tweet nothing but cliches and empty platitudes. New York Yankee Nick Swisher has an acclaimed cameo.
"Toy Story 3"
Fox Animation Studios continues the story of Frank and Jamie, as they are forced to deal with the reality of an aging relationship between ballclub and city. Will the City of Angels cast them aside, as so many other cities do with their owners, or will they find a renewed sense of love and joy to take them into this new stage? Robin Williams costars as the wisecracking Vlad, Frank and Jamie's jovial psychic.
NOTE: I said last week that "Toy Story 3" wouldn't get any Best Picture love. At the time, I forgot that they had extended the category to ten pictures. It's easy to include an animated film when you're looking for filler. I still contend that, within the normal five picture limit, "Toy Story 3" (or "Up" last year) would never be here.
Originally titled "True Grit: The David Eckstein Story".
NOTE: Too easy, I know. Sorry.
Front offices around the country fight for their life over the free agency catch of a lifetime, as Albert Pujols weighs his options for 2012. What will a desperate GM resort to? Will Pujols make the logical choice, or will a certain someone special cause him to rethink everything?