Eight Men Out Reviews
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.
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.
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 .
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.