Eight Men Out Reviews

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Super Reviewer
January 20, 2014
Good sports movie with a great cast and realistic 1919 setting that unfortunately suffers from too many moving pieces, convoluting what is otherwise a simplistic morality tale with true-story credibility.
Super Reviewer
July 15, 2010
This is writer/director John Sayles's historical drama about the infamous Black Sox Scandal in which eight players from the Chicago White Sox were paid to throw the 1919 WOrld Series- an event which is one of the mot notable and darkest moments in ports history.

The retelling here is pretty good, and qwuite insightful, yet not without its flaws. The story could have ued some more context and clearer motivations, and it helps to have at least a little prior knowledge of the story before seeing this, but even then, this is still an enjoyable look at just how different the sports world was way back when, as compared to the days depicted here where the players were true working class heroes not making millions of dollars, and were seen as truly being guys deserving of worship, making their screw ups all the more stinging and upsetting.

I think the film also could have further detailed the labor history aspect of things, and the exact cultural impact the scandal had, but it does a decent enough job as it stands.
Super Reviewer
½ April 19, 2007
Worth seeing even if you don't like baseball. Great performances all round. How can you not love Michael Rooker?
Super Reviewer
½ October 13, 2010
This baseball drama is interesting, mostly because it's a true story, but also because it's got a lot of stars. The problem is, it gets really dull now and then. Overall, it's pretty good, though.
Super Reviewer
½ July 5, 2007
Tis is a GREAT idealization (not always totally accurate) picture of what happened after the Black Sox scandle of 1919! Shoeless Joe belongs IN the Hall of Fame!
Super Reviewer
November 13, 2007
Eight Men Out is the real life story of the 1919 Chicago White Sox's team that threw the world series for a big pay day. In the early 20th century, baseball players were barely payed enough money to live on, so when organized crime stepped in and offered a big pay day for throwing the 1919 World Series, half the team said yes. The film Eight Men Out is based on the book by Eliot Asinof, the first to officially tell the story of what happened. Until this book, people knew the outcome, but not the particulars. While the book goes into great detail, the movie does not. The film gives us the basics in a very simplistic form, in order to make it more dramatic, and that's the one part of this film I didn't really care for. The things I really wanted to know more about never seemed to materialize and a lot of what we saw in return was the Hollywood exaggeration effect. Don't get me wrong though, the film was very entertaining as it showed a lot of the action on the field and touched on some aspects of the scandal. The acting was stellar and it was really fun to see Charlie Sheen and John Cusack right as they were first starting out. As for the ending, well that was expected, but I still really enjoyed the sports action, back stories, and even the over the top dramatics surrounding the story. It may not be very in depth or even historically accurate, but seeing it again all these years later, I can now appreciate and understand why it is considered one of the top ten sports films of all time.
Super Reviewer
January 4, 2010
John Sayles films have always been a rewarding experience for me and this film is no different. I had heard of the stories of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the thrown World Series but here we get a depiction of the issues surrounding baseball in this time period and how players were open for corruption.
Super Reviewer
½ December 8, 2010
Very good biopic on the famous 'black sox' scandal.
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2010
Probably my 2nd favorite baseball movie behind The Natural. Great evocation of an era when baseball players were regular working men and the greatest game faced its darkest days.
Super Reviewer
May 11, 2010
A great ensemble film (if they filmed it now it would have a cast that would be the equivalant af Oceans 11!) and an engrossing true story. A young John Cusack is the standout here but David Strathairn is also brilliant as the ageing pitcher. Even if you've got no interest in baseball it doesn't matter as the relationships between the characters is the main point of interest.
Super Reviewer
June 25, 2007
One of the best sport/dramas ever produced is screenwriter/director John Sayles' interpretation of Eliot Asinof's book of the same title. A fact-based telling of the plot to throw the 1919 World Series by the Chicago White Sox, forever to be known as "The Black Sox Scandal". John Mahoney, John Cusack, Michael Rooker and D. B. Sweeney head an all-star cast with David Straithairn turning in an outstanding performance as pitcher, Eddie Cicotte. One doesn't need to be a diehard baseball fan to appreciate this exceptionally well made film.
April 8, 2013
a really interesting story, but slightly disappointing in its lack of depth. sure, it tells the story of the Black Sox scandal quite well. the acting is decent, the history is engaging, and overall it's a very watchable movie. what I don't like is that everything is very superficial. the characters are all very flat, and yet they're trying to hard not to be. there just isn't any room in the plot to develop richer character studies. and for a baseball movie, there doesn't seem to be much room for baseball either. you would think that in a movie about baseball players deliberately losing games, there would be more focus on the actual games. unfortunately, that's all pretty superficial too. overall, this isn't a bad movie, but it's not an especially great one either.
October 9, 2011
Ironic that one of the best baseball movies of all time is about the sports biggest black-eye. A top notch drama that is an excellent period piece as well. The thing that sells it are some very good performances and its historical accuracy.

The Black Sox scandal was an earth-shattering conspiracy when it happened, and remains perhaps the darkest hour in professional sports history. One of the most talented teams in this history of baseball agreed to throw the World Series in which they were heavily favored.

The film really gets into the motivations, hesitance and quandaries of the players who are played by a talented and veteran cast. Recognizable actors like Cusack, Sweeney, Rooker, Sheen and several others are quite good. Throw in others like Mahoney, James and Lloyd and you have a pretty good backbone of talent.

The story is very intriguing, but could have benefited from better pacing. At times it feels like its crawling, and at others it is moving too quickly. Really succeeds at capturing the out of control spiral this became for all parties involved, and its long lasting effects on the sport, such as the creation of the office of the Commissioner of baseball.

Overall, this is a very accurate film that both entertains and informs. While it's obviously geared towards the baseball fan, it is much more than a sports movie. Definitely near the top of the pile as far as baseball films, and offers an interesting look into early 1900's America.
½ October 16, 2011
The tale of the 1919 World Series, in which the Chicago White Sox threw the series for cash. The movie is first and foremost entertaining, but it also tells a fascinating story, a black mark in the history of baseball. I think it is a good film, probably lacking some accuracy, but it is fairly true to the events that took place.
½ February 10, 2011
You can't say anything, about the truth . This was then, I wonder,
about now . Meybe not in this sport, but others . This was America
back then . My Dad told me stories like this . About corruption that
would make you want to leave this country. Not be a part of it .
States, I understand . United ? I wonder . This movie makes you think,
about where we were , where we are , and , where we are headed .
This movie shows only right and wrong . Where does it stop ?

Watch it . Then, watch it again . Who was really in charge back then ?
Who ran this country ? Who runs it now ? You'll like this movie .
Even, if you don't like baseball .

Super Reviewer
December 8, 2009
Probably an accurate portrayal of how things really went down. Unfortunately that doesn't make for a very easy-to-follow nor interesting movie.
½ August 8, 2008
this was a very standard drama with nothing to make it stand out, which is disappointing given the compelling nature of the true story, which prevents one from grading the film too low. it's simply too good of a tale to tell.

the 1919 white sox were a veritable all-star team, like today's yankees, except they were paid abysmally, ironic since their owner was a former player. of the eight players involved, four or five would be in the hall of fame if not for the scandal. everyone talks about joe jackson, but at least he is remembered. eddie cicotte and lefty williams were the best pitchers in the game at the time and they have been completely forgotten. i say this not just because i am a baseball nerd but also because there is a lot less baseball history than there should be. only a couple of references to the outlawing of the spitball and the shineball, and the nine game world series. no talk of how home runs were out of style. could you tell eddie collins was considered the greatest thing since paper was invented when he played for the sox? oh wait, you didn't even realize he was in the movie, did you? could you tell the white sox catcher was a hall of famer? not in this film you couldn't. it doesn't exactly ruin the film, but baseball aficionados will not like the lack of baseball minutia in this movie. the writer makes a couple of token mentions of the team's greatness. but it is not elaborated upon. and remember, this is the white sox we are talking about. they did not win another world series for the rest of the century. big consequences for the franchise.

speaking of big consequences, much bigger ones in fact, some of the players involved were illiterate. they had no other job prospects. their lives were inexorably damaged by disinterested, manipulating conmen. this is not capitalized upon in the movie, outside of two successive scenes in which cicotte quips "what's immunity?" and an illiterate jackson signs a waiver of immunity. much more of this stuff was needed.

now for positive points. the acting is quite good, notably in the case of david straithairn as eddie cicotte and john cusack as buck weaver. also, the art direction is excellent, though old comiskey looks pretty small.

but there are a lot of cinematic cliches (ie the score) swiped from other eighties films that take place during this time, and it was extremely dumbed down. the film explored a few of the best players' motivations for accepting the dive money, and the movie also took pot shots at the old baseball bureaucracy with wisecracks a la film noir. but it did nothing to render charlie comiskey as anything more than a caricature, and the short shrift given to the actual investigation after the deal was done reeks of a play adaptation. this movie could have been legendary. instead, it is just what one expects from an old time sports drama and nothing more. if i ever get a chance to be a writer/director, this movie would be high up on my "to remake" list.
July 16, 2008
I don't usually enjoy sports movies, but that wasn't the case with this one. Extremely well done and very interesting. I wouldn't imagine it being much different in real life.
½ May 7, 2008
Pretty entertaining movie about the 1919 Black Sox scandal. I love the styles from the time period. The hairstyles and the suits are great and society was a little smarter back then because they had not experienced the dumbing down effects of the Mtv culture. This movie may make you think you were born a little too late.
½ April 11, 2008
Not sure how accurate it is, but it does give you some of the facts involving the gambling scandal of the 1919 White Sox. All characters were well played and Roger Clemens makes a pre-steroids appearance as well!
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