Monday, May 14, 2018

2018-05-07 Highest-grossing baseball movies according to Box Office Mojo, as reported by the Hall of Fame.

Q.        What beloved baseball movie introduced an actor-couple who were later banned from participating in Hall of Fame activities honoring that very movie?
Hint:     The movie was written and directed by a career minor leaguer.
Hint:     The movie was filmed on location after the baseball season, which is why the grass had to be touched up with green paint and why the breath of the actors can be seen in many of the night scenes.
A.         BULL DURHAM  [WIKI page]
-  Susan Sarandon & Tim Robbins met on the set of “Bull Durham”.  Their outspoken political stances caused the 2003 cancellation of a 15th anniversary Cooperstown celebration of the movie by Hall of Fame president Dale Petroskey.
-  Ron Shelton played in the minors from 1967 to 1971 and had a cameo role in the film as an umpire.
-  Filmed in Durham, North Carolina during October and November of 1987.
NOTE:  The actual Crash Davis played parts of 3 seasons in he majors.  His first hit was a triple of future MVP Spud Chandler.   In only one of his ten minor league seasons, 1948, did he play for the Durham Bulls.
FCR -  Tim Luca, San Mateo, California
Incorrect guesses: 

Q.        What fictional movie features a non-fictional former Terrapin who played under Mugsy?
Hint:     The shooting schedule was too limited to wait for real grass to mature, so experts on sod in California were hired to create the film’s playing field.
Hint:     The most memorable lines in the movie were spoken in a whisper.
A.         FIELD OF DREAMS  [Wiki page]
-  The film Field of Dreams pays tribute to the brief major league career of Archibald W. “Moonlight” Graham, a University of Maryland alum.  Graham played briefly on defense on 30-Jun-1905 for NYG, managed by John “Mugsy” McGraw.
-  The sod pros worked at Dodger Stadium and the Rose Bowl.
-  Among other lines, a disembodied voice taunted, “If you build it, he will come,” which was central to the plot.
FCR -  Vince Guerrieri, Elyria, Ohio
Incorrect guesses:  Citizen Kane, Chief Bender, The Horse Whisperer, Archibald “Moonlight” Graham, The Pride of the Yankees, Bang the Drum Slowly, The Natural,

Q.        What recent biopic had its title reduced to a couple of digits?
Hint:     The actor playing the main character recently did another biopic of an important historical figure.
Hint:     The first time this player’s story was told on the ‘big screen’, the subject, not an actor, played himself.
Hint:     It has a Tomatometer rating of 79%, but an Audience Score of 85%.
A.         42  [IMDB Trailer]
-  Jackie Robinson played himself in the 1950 movie The Jackie Robinson Story.
-  Actor Chadwick Boseman also played Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall in the 2017 film Marshall.  [Yes, yes, he had *another* movie come out this year!]
FCR -  Daniel Blumenthal, Falls Church, Virginia
Incorrect guesses:  61*, Chadwick Boseman, Jackie, the interminable  jackie robinson story”, Jackie Robinson, The Jackie Robinson Story.

Q.        What movie introduced us to a villainous owner, who, in the original script, was to be the guiding force behind a team’s success.
Hint:     The major league team in the movie is threatened with moving to a city that today HAS a major league team.
Hint:     The cast includes a former World Series MVP, a former Cy Young Award winner and a character who would later portray a military major, colonel and general, not to mention a judge and president of multiple countries.
A.         MAJOR LEAGUE  [NYT review]
-  Former Las Vegas showgirl Rachel Phelps (played by Margaret Whitton) inherits the Cleveland Indians baseball team from her deceased husband,.  Screening audiences preferred her as the “bad guy”.
-  The team is portrayed as the Cleveland Indians and the target city to move to is Miami.
-  WS MVP Steve Yeager appears as Duke Temple and CYA winner Pete Vukovich plays Clu Haywood.  First baseman Pedro Cerano is played by Dennis Haysbert.  Haysbert has become an actor with many major roles not the least of which is as the face and voice of credibility for Allstate Insurance.  Also played Nelson Mandela and U.S. President David Palmer.
FCR -  Eric Savage, Short Hills, New Jersey
Incorrect guesses:  Eight Men Out, Damned Yankees, The Natural,

Q.        What 1994 baseball movie was a successful re-make of a successful 1951 movie?
Hint:     The cast includes an honorary doctor, four Oscar winners, a former professional boxer, a multiple Emmy winner, an American League batting champ, an American League Rookie-of-the-Year runner-up, among others.
Hint:     The film features a playoff race that wasn’t played out in real life.
-  1951 version starred Janet Leigh as Jennifer Paige and Keenan Wynn as Fred Bayles.
-  The 1994 version, referenced in this question, had an impressively deep cast, including:
- Adrien Brody as Danny Hemmerling (Angels Player)
- Brenda Fricker as Maggie Nelson (Foster Mom)
- Ben Johnson as Hank Murphy (Angels Owner)
 -Matthew McConaughey as Ben Williams (Angels Outfielder)
These 4 are Oscars winners.  They won in The Pianist, My Left Foot, The Last Picture Show & The Dallas Buyers Club respectively.

- Carney Lansford as Kit "Hit or Die" Kesey Won the AL batting title for the Oakland A’s in strike-shortened 1981, hitting .336

- Mitchell Page as Abascal (Angels First Baseman) finished second behind only future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray in the 1977 AL ROY voting

- Tony Danza as Mel Clark (Angels Pitcher) once boxed professionally.

- Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Roger Bomman – 29 major acting award nominations

- Danny Glover as George Knox (Angels Manager) has won multiple Film and TV awards and holds an honorary doctorate degree from Paine College.

- Christopher Lloyd as Al "The Boss" Angel has won multiple Emmy Awards

In addition to:

Jay O. Sanders as Ranch Wilder (Angels Broadcaster)
Milton Davis Jr. as J.P.
Taylor Negron as David Montagne
Tony Longo as Triscuitt Messmer (Angels Catcher)
Neal McDonough as Whitt Bass (Angels Pitcher)
Stoney Jackson as Ray Mitchell (Angels Third Baseman)
Tim Conlon as Wally (Angels Color Commentator)
Israel Juarbe as Jose Martinez (Angels Second Baseman)
Albert Garcia as Pablo Garcia (Angels Shortstop)
Dermot Mulroney as Mr. Bomman (Roger's Dad)
Robert Clohessy as Frank Gates (Angels Pitcher)
Danny Walcoff as Marvin
O.B. Babbs as Mapel (Angels Player)
William Dear as Blue Jays Manager
Mark Cole as Norton (Angel Outfielder)
Jeff Seaberg as Popcorn Vendor
- Among others!

-  The film was released less than a month before the 1994 MLB Baseball Players Strike.  The playoffs and the World Series were never played that year.
FCR -  Leonard Epstein, Dallas
Incorrect guesses:  Cobb, The Babe Ruth Story,

Q.        Which 1990s baseball movie was a re-make of a 1950s movie of a different name?
Hint:     The contrivance of the plot varies little from that of the original Spiderman.
Hint:     John Candy makes an uncredited appearance.
Hint:     Several major leaguers play themselves.
A.         ROOKIE OF THE YEAR  [Roger Ebert review]
-  The 1954 film was titled Roogie's Bump and had appearance of Roy Campanella, Carl Erskine, Billy Loes and Russ Meyer playing themselves.
-  The parallel to Spiderman is that our hero has a miraculous accident that gives him superhuman power.
-  Candy plays broadcaster Cliff Murdoch.
-  Appearing as their own fine selves are Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Pedro Guerrero.
FCR -  Daniel Wilson, St. Paul
Incorrect guesses:  The Natural, For the Love of the Game, Brewster’s Millions,

Q.        What movie gave us baseball cinema’s most often repeated, and incorrect, line?
Hint:     The author of this line claimed that he had been chastised by Rogers Hornsby.
Hint:     The initial cut of the movie lasted nearly four hours.  The cinematic release was just over two.
A.         A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN  [USA Today review]
-  Tom Hanks as Coach Dugan (Jimmie Foxx) screams this line at his sensitive outfielder.
FCR -  Sarah Grynpas, Toronto
Incorrect guesses:  Eight Men Out, Pride of the Yankees, Field of Dreams,

Q.        What is the most successful movie that ever focused on a major league General Manager?
Hint:     The movie and its subject have both been equally ambitious and equally successful… more or less.
Hint:     The movie, after 5 months of production, was almost scratched due to creative differences among the highest levels of officers of the film’s studio.
Hint:     Unlike most baseball movies, it received 6 Academy Award nominations, including Picture of the Year.
Hint:     Some of the movie’s more memorable quotes are,
~ “I hate losing more than I even wanna win!”
~ “How can you not get romantic about baseball?”
~ “Cut the crap, Pete. Would you have drafted me in the first round?”
~ “The problem we're trying to solve is that there are rich teams and there are poor teams. Then there's fifty feet of crap, and then there's us.”
A.         MONEYBALL  [S.I. Review]
-  A’s GM Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt, was ahead of his time, using more and different metrics than other teams (or even some of his own employees) thought useful.  His methods are now copies and extended to such a degree that the competitive edge he had created has been significantly diluted.
-  Oscar nominations:  Best picture
Best Actor – Brad Pitt
Best Supporting Actor – Jonah Hill
Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay – Aaron Sorkin, et al
Best Film Editing – Christopher Tellefsen
Best Sound Mixing -   Ed Novick, Deb Adair, et al
FCR -  Dave Goss, Wind Gap, Pennsylvania
Incorrect guesses:  42, Billy Ball, Pride of the Yankees, Bang the Drum Slowly, Jerry Maguire, Little Big League,

Q.        What biopic gave hope to millions of ex-baseball players?
Hint:     It’s about a lefty pitcher who was drafted by the Yankees and Brewers.
Hint:     Jittery electronics play a pivotal part in the show.
Hint:     The Owls don’t win it all but end up putting it in perspective.
A.         THE ROOKIE  [Rotten Tomatoes score]
-  Jim Morris, a high school teacher and baseball coach, makes it to MLB 17 years after first being drafted and ten years since his last minor league game.
-  Drafted by NYY in 1983 in the 18th round & by MIL in the 1st round of the 1983 MLB January Draft-Secondary Phase.
- Dennis Quaid, as Morris, tests his throwing speed against a traffic speed indicator that takes so long to register the correct speed that Morris turns away in disappointment.
-  Morris’ high school team is the Owls, members of which push him to a tryout.
FCR -  Fernando Piñeres, Cartagena, Colombia
Incorrect guesses:  Brewster’s Millions, Rookie of the Year, For the Love of the Game,

Q.        What baseball movie features adults playing against Little-League-aged teams?
Hint:     The film’s only nomination was for The Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor for one of its lead actors.
Hint:     They didn’t even take THAT one home!
Hint:     The movie’s presence on this week’s list and in this week’s theme is well-illustrated by the delta between its 11% critics rating and 64% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes.
-  Rob Schneider was nominated for the Golden Raspberry.
-  Its coterie of popular X-List actors partly explains its ratings.
FCR -  Jesse Asbury, Norman, Oklahoma
Incorrect guesses:  The Bad News Bears

WEEKLY THEME – The ten highest-grossing baseball movies according to Box Office Mojo, as reported by the Hall of Fame.

1.     A League of Their Own..... $107,533,928
2.     42........................................... 95,020,213
3.     Moneyball.............................. 75,605,492
4.     The Rookie............................ 75,600,072
5.     Field of Dreams..................... 64,431,625
6.     The Benchwarmers............... 59,843,754
7.     Rookie of the Year................. 53,615,089
8.     Bull Durham........................... 50,888,729
9.     Angels in the Outfield............ 50,236,831
10.  Major League......................... 49,797,148
Total for the 10 =..................... $682,572,881

In 2015, Sporting News asked its staffers to rank the greatest baseball movies ever made.  Here, just for fun, are their top 15:

1.     Bull Durham
2.     Major League
3.     Field of Dreams
4.     A League of Their Own
5.     Eight Men Out
6.     The Natural
7.     The Sandlot
8.     Moneyball
9.     The Bad News Bears
10.  61*
11.  The Pride of the Yankees
12.  Sugar
13.  42
14.  The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings
15.  For the Love of the Game

First Correct Respondent to Identify ThemeDavid Gordon, Chevy Chase (After Field of Dreams)

Incorrect theme guesses:

Tuesday -  Baseball movies in which active or former MLB players appeared.
               -  Kevin Costner baseball movies
               -  Oscar-nominated baseball movies
               -  Baseball movies with at least one Oscar nomination
               -  Baseball movies, where the main actor has played the role of other athletes.

Wed        -  Movies where White Sox outfielder turned movie consultant Ken Berry has a credit
               -  Baseball Movies that Rod Dedeaux was the baseball advisor or technical director
               -  Baseball movies where a character plays a real person (or someone heavily inspired by a real person), but the handedness is different

Thurs      -  Baseball movies that feature real life players as characters or actors

Fri           -  Baseball movies that feature real life players as characters or actors

Sat          -  In the first week of their release, they were the number one movie