Archive for September, 2011

Moneyball: The Art of Filming an Unfair Game

Brad Pitt as Billy Beane

Three names go conspicuously unmentioned in the new film adaptation of Moneyball: Tim Hudson, Barry Zito, and Mark Mulder. There are two ways to react to this omission.

The first is to think that their exclusion is unacceptable for a film that purports to tell the story of the 2002 Oakland A’s. After all, the trio combined to win 57 games and pitch 675 innings to a combined 3.05 ERA that year. Zito in particular led the league in wins, en route to a Cy Young Award. Without those three, a team that won 103 games would have almost certainly missed the playoffs.

The other way to react to their absence, though, is to realize that it is entirely appropriate. Moneyball is not really a movie about the 2002 Oakland A’s—it’s a movie about Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) and his radical reinvention of the game. And it doesn’t take much reinvention to stick with a trio that was coming off a 2001 season in which they won 56 games and pitched 678 innings to a 3.43 ERA.

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The Louie Rankings

Nervous about the rankings?

Well, we promised rankings of the second season of Louie, and we followed through. It took us several weeks, but we followed through. If you want to see how Josh and John S broke down this summer’s best comedy, just keep reading… Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while contemplating the art of winning an unfair game…

Parks and Recreation: The 25 Funniest Lines of the First Three Seasons

Earlier this week, I mentioned that one of the two shows I’m most excited to see come back to TV this fall is NBC’s Parks and Recreation. In fact, I was so excited that I decided to compile the 25 funniest moments from the first three seasons. If you like what you see, then tune in for tonight’s season premiere at 8:30. If not, then watch anyway–I left off a lot a of great stuff: Continue reading

Top Ten Things To Be Excited About In The Fall TV Season

It’s time for my third annual installment of this laboriously titled NPI feature! And, man, was compiling this year’s list difficult. Not only is this fall season following an unusually impressive summer in TV, with Breaking Bad, Louie, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Pretty Little Liars, and Rivals all airing solid to great seasons, but the shows premiering over the next few weeks do not look especially promising. After all, does Whitney Cummings really need two new shows? As usual, some old favorites are off the list, either due to a decline in quality (Dexter) or senescence (Friday Night Lights). In their place, though, are shows I am not at all confident in labeling “exciting.” Anyway, with all that hedging out of the way, on with the list:

10) Hope Solo on Dancing With The Stars Premiered September 19 on ABC

For normal people, who don’t have the same crush on Hope Solo that I do, this probably isn’t that exciting. And while I won’t be watching DWTS, I will be looking up Hope’s performances on YouTube… Continue reading

Monday Medley

What we read while joining the ACC…

  • We don’t need to tell you Vin Scully is awesome, even if we find his call of Koufax’s perfect game a tad overwrought, Here, Vin  remembers his greatest calls, many of which include the original audio.

Curb Your Enthusiasm Season Eight Review

About midway through Season Eight of Curb Your Enthusiasm, I was worrying that the show was in the twilight of its run. There wasn’t anything major wrong with the season, but it seemed like every episode had enough minor flaws—it was too long, one story was weaker than the rest, a crucial plot development didn’t make sense, etc.—to prevent the humor from really clicking like it does in the best episodes of the show.

More generally, I wondered if airing at the same time as Louie was hurting my perception of the show. Both are shows about middle-aged, bald, single, misanthropic comedians who often have trouble relating to other people—and they both aired during the summer, when there are only a few comedies airing—so it was inevitable that I would be comparing the two. And the comparison was not working in Curb’s favor. In weeks where Louie was airing such memorable episodes as “Oh Louie/Tickets” and “Come on, God,” Curb was airing uninspired efforts like “Vow of Silence” and “The Hero.” I even started to wonder if Louie was making Curb redundant.

But then Season Eight ended on a run of four straight stellar episodes, and my worries mostly dissipated. Continue reading