AFI Preview February 7-April 17, 2014 - page 8-9

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Play Ball! Hollywood and the American Pastime
AFI Silver presents a dynamic line-up of films that
celebrate baseball—famously called the American
pastime, and by far Hollywood’s favorite sport for
moviemaking—and honor historic figures in the sport.
AFI Member passes accepted at all films in the
Play Ball series.
February 8–April 16
Free Screening!
Sat, Feb 8, 1:00
Following his National League MVP award in 1949, and just
three years after his electrifying major league debut in 1947, in
which he broke baseball’s color barrier and won the inaugural
MLB Rookie of the Year award, Jackie Robinson plays himself in
the Hollywood version of his real life story.
DIR Alfred E. Green; SCR Arthur
Mann, Lawrence Taylor; PROD Mort Briskin. US, 1950, b&w, 76 min. NOT RATED
Print courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Free Screening!
Sat, Mar 1, 11:00 a.m.
“If you build it, he will come.” Iowa farmer Kevin Costner hears a
mysterious voice in his cornfield, builds a backyard ball park and
is soon hosting the ghosts of the 1919 Chicago Black Sox for
games in this heartwarming fantasy, a celebration of baseball’s
magical hold on the imagination and the spiritual bonds it fosters
across generations.
DIR/SCR Phil Alden Robinson, from the novel “Shoeless Joe” by W. P.
Kinsella; PROD Lawrence Gordon, Charles Gordon. US, 1989, color, 107 min. RATED PG
Sun, Feb 16, 11:00 a.m.; Thu, Feb 20, 5:15
Cubs rookie Joe E. Brown has loads of talent, but his penchant
for excuse-making and tall tales earns him the nickname “Alibi
Ike” from his teammates. In a slump after getting dumped by
girlfriend Olivia de Havilland (in her screen debut), Ike finds the
mob attempting to coerce him into fixing the World Series—no,
it’s not a fantasy, Cubs fans, but a rollicking good baseball
DIR Ray Enright; SCR William Wister Haines, Ring Lardner; PROD Edward Chodorov.
US, 1935, b&w, 72 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Feb 15, 11:00 a.m.; Tue, Feb 18, 5:15
Cussin’, fussin’ and fight-prone Pirates manager Guffy
McGovern (Paul Douglas) has a lot to be angry about, with his
team mired in last place. But after a late-night encounter with the
archangel Gabriel in the outfield at Forbes Field, Guffy agrees
to swear off swearing in exchange for some heavenly help on
the field. With Janet Leigh, Keenan Wynn and Spring Byington.
Look for cameos by Joe DiMaggio and Ty Cobb. The favorite
film of Dwight D. Eisenhower!
DIR/PROD Clarence Brown; SCR Dorothy Kingsley
and George Wells, from a story by Richard Conlin. US, 1951, b&w, 99 min. NOT RATED
Sun, Feb 16, 5:00; Wed, Feb 19, 9:00; Thu, Feb 20, 9:00
Fed up with playing
for peanuts as a
member of the Negro
League’s Ebony Aces,
star pitcher Bingo Long
(Billy Dee Williams)
puts together a
barnstorming all-star
team of his own,
including slugging
catcher Leon Carter
(James Earl Jones)
and motor-mouthed
outfielder Charlie
Snow (Richard Pryor).
DIR John Badham; SCR Hal
Barwood, Matthew Robbins, from
the novel by William Brashler; PROD
Rob Cohen. US, 1976, color, 110
Sat, Feb 22, 11:00 a.m.; Wed, Feb 26, 4:30
Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra are a vaudeville duo in the winter
and star baseball players for the Wolves in the summer, two-thirds
of a celebrated double-play combo along with first-baseman pal
Jules Munshin. Challenges for the new season include the team's
new no-nonsense owner, Esther Williams, passionate Sinatra fan
Betty Garrett and gambler Edward Arnold's intense interest in the
Wolves' fortunes.
DIR Busby Berkeley; SCR Harry Tugend, George Wells, from a story by
Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen; PROD Arthur Freed. US, 1949, color, 93 min. NOT RATED
Sun, Feb 23, 11:00 a.m.; Mon, Feb 24, 9:00;
Wed, Feb 26, 2:00; Thu, Feb 27, 8:45
“Washington—first in war, first in peace and last in the
American League.” Fed up with his beloved team getting
routinely trounced by the mighty Yankees, an elderly Senators
fan makes a Faustian pact with a dapper, red-socked Satan
(Ray Walston) and is transformed into youthful, golden boy
slugger Joe Hardy (Tab Hunter). Soon he's leading his beloved
team to the American League pennant, but pining for his wife
and home. So the devil pinch hits with his best minion—sexy
stunner Lola (Gwen Verdon), and when she belts out “whatever
Lola wants, Lola gets,” it’s hard to disagree. Choreography by
Bob Fosse.
DIR/PROD Stanley Donen; DIR/SCR/PROD George Abbott; SCR Douglass Wallop,
from his novel “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant.” US, 1958, color, 111 min. NOT RATED
Fri, Mar 7, 7:40; Sun, Mar 9, 6:30
Walter Matthau is Morris Buttermaker, a drunken pool cleaner
and onetime minor league prospect recruited to coach a
Los Angeles Little League team of hapless misfits. Buttermaker
adds two ringers: his ex-girlfriend’s baseball-loving daughter,
Amanda Wurlitzer (Tatum O’Neal), and the athletically gifted but
precociously criminal Kelly Leak (Jackie Earle Haley), while the
players learn to set their differences aside, pool their talents and
rally around an us-against-the-world mentality to challenge the
league’s top team, the Yankees. Gloriously un-P.C. but surprisingly
progressive beneath its crude exterior, THE BAD NEWS BEARS
is an only-in-the-1970s version of a “kids’ movie.” "An unblinking,
scathing look at competition in American society"—Roger Ebert.
DIR Michael Ritchie; SCR Bill Lancaster; PROD Stanley R. Jaffe. US, 1976, color, 102 min. RATED PG
Tickets $5!
Sun, Mar 2, 11:00 a.m.
Baseball’s most famous trick pitch, the wildly unpredictable
knuckleball, is discussed and dissected by an array of its most
famous practitioners, including Tim Wakefield, R. A. Dickey,
Phil Niekro and Charlie Hough. The knuckleball can flummox
even the most skilled hitter, as Derek Jeter, Gary Sheffield and
Carlos Beltran all attest, not to mention catcher Jason Varitek,
Wakefield’s long-suffering battery mate in Boston.
Stern, Anne Sundberg; PROD Dan Cogan, Christine Schomer. US, 2012, color, 93 min. NOT RATED
30th Anniversary!
Fri, Mar 7, 2:30; Sun, Mar 9, 11:00 a.m.
One of the most beloved sports movies of all time, this film
combines a classic tale of heroic destiny, a nostalgic love
for the American pastime at its glory in the 1930s and the
dramatic flair that the best sports contests deliver. Robert
Redford is Roy Hobbs, a middle-aged rookie for the last-place
New York Knights who has a mysterious past. Finally given
playing time, Hobbs' electrifying abilities vault the Knights into
contention, but the publicity attracts some unwanted attention
from unfriendly sources.
DIR Barry Levinson; SCR Phil Dusenberry, Roger Towne, from
the novel by Bernard Malamud; PROD Mark Johnson. US, 1984, color, 134 min. RATED PG
Sun, Feb 9, 11:10 a.m.; Tue, Feb 11, 5:15
With the help of a miraculous substance accidentally cooked
up in his lab, college chemistry professor Ray Milland re-invents
himself as a late-blooming rookie pitcher with an unhittable
DIR Lloyd Bacon; SCR Valentine Davies, from a story by Davies and Shirley W.
Smith; PROD William Perlberg. US, 1949, b&w, 87 min. NOT RATED
Sun, Mar 23, 1:00
“There’s no crying in
baseball!” Penny Marshall’s
beloved film, recently
voted into the National
Film Registry by the Library
of Congress, follows the
rise of the All-American
Girls Professional Baseball
League created by Chicago
Cubs owner Walter Harvey
(Garry Marshall) in the
1940s, responding to the
diminished ranks of male
pro ballplayers during
WWII. With Tom Hanks,
Geena Davis, Madonna
and Rosie O’Donnell.
DIR Penny Marshall; SCR Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel; PROD Elliot
Abbott, Robert Greenhut. US, 1992, color, 128 min. RATED PG
Fri, Mar 21, 7:30; Mon, Mar 24, 9:40; Wed, Mar 26, 6:30
(Montgomery College Show)
Ron Shelton’s uproarious and ribald take on the minor league
experience. With Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins
and Robert Wuhl. Named the #1 Greatest Sports Movie by
Sports Illustrated.
DIR/SCR Ron Shelton; PROD Thom Mount, Mark Burg. US, 1988, color,
108 min. RATED R
25th Anniversary!
Tickets $5!
Sat, Mar 29, 10:00; Mon, Mar 31, 9:45
“JUST a bit outside.” With the Cleveland Indians ownership
intent on tanking the season and moving the franchise to
Miami, a motley band of misfit players resolves to play hard,
make the playoffs and save the franchise. The ensemble cast
includes then up-and-comers Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes,
Rene Russo and Dennis Haysbert, plus Tom Berenger, James
Gammon, Corbin Bernsen and Bob Uecker.
DIR/SCR David S. Ward;
PROD Chris Chesser, Irby Smith. 1989, color, 107 min. RATED R
Tickets $5!
Wed, Apr 2, 7:00
Ranging from Hall of Famers Hank Greenberg and Sandy
Koufax to slugger Al Rosen and colorful characters like Moe
Berg, Lipman Pike, Barney Pelty and “Subway Sam” Nahem,
plus recent stars like Shawn Green, Kevin Youkilis, Ian Kinsler
and Ryan Braun, this documentary explores the story of Jewish
ballplayers and the American pastime. Written by New York
Times Pulitzer Prize-winning sports columnist Ira Berkow and
narrated by Dustin Hoffman.
DIR/PROD Peter Miller; SCR Ira Berkow; PROD
William Hechter. US, 2010, color, 91 min. NOT RATED
Free Screening!
Sat, Apr 5, 11:00 a.m.
Once a promising pitching prospect until a shoulder injury
derailed his career, Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) has settled down
into teaching science, coaching baseball and being a good
husband and father. Still displaying a blazing fastball, the
35-year-old coach is challenged by his players to try out for the
majors, which he reluctantly does and, to his and his family’s
amazement, earns a job with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Based
on a true story, directed by John Lee Hancock (SAVING MR.
DIR John Lee Hancock; SCR Mike Rich; PROD Gordon
Gray, Mark Ciardi, Mark Johnson. US, 2002, color, 127 min. RATED G
Tickets $5!
Sat, Apr 5, 3:45
This Oscar-nominated documentary charts Hank Aaron’s Hall of
Fame career, capped off by his pursuit of a record long thought
unbreakable: Babe Ruth’s career mark of 714 home runs.
DIR/SCR Michael Tollin; PROD Fredric Golding. US, 1995, color, 120 min. NOT RATED
Tickets $5!
In person: filmmaker Aviva Kempner
Sun, Apr 6, 5:15
Hall of Fame first baseman Hank Greenberg was twice
named American League MVP, played in five All Star games
and hit 58 home runs in 1938, nearly eclipsing Babe Ruth’s
record of 60. The sport’s first Jewish superstar, at a time when
racial segregation in America was still the norm, Greenberg’s
accomplishments on the diamond also made him a target of
DIR/SCR/PROD Aviva Kempner. US, 1998, b&w and color, 90 min. RATED PG
Free Screening!
Sat, Mar 29, 11:15 a.m.
New kid in town Scotty Smalls is clueless about baseball, but
after a crash course in the fundamentals, he earns a spot on
his neighborhood sandlot team alongside Benny the Jet, Ham,
Squints, Yeah-Yeah and Repeat. But balls hit over the fence
at the sandlot land in Mr. Mertle’s junkyard, guarded by the
Beast, and one day that’s where Scotty’s stepdad’s Babe Ruth-
autographed ball lands. Nostalgic and humorous, Roger Ebert
praised the movie as “a summertime version of” A CHRISTMAS
DIR/SCR David M. Evans; SCR Robert Gunter; PROD Dale De La Torre, William S.
Gilmore. US, 1993, color and b&w, 101 min. RATED PG
Tue, Apr 8, 7:10
Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden’s (HALF NELSON) probing drama
follows 19-year-old pitching prospect Miguel “Sugar” Santos’
journey from San Pedro de Macorís in the Dominican Republic
to the small-town Iowa Single A farm team of the Kansas City
Knights. Official Selection, 2008 Sundance, Toronto Film
DIR/SCR Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck; PROD Paul Mezey, Jamie Patricof, Jeremy Kipp
Walker. US/Dominican Republic, 2008, color, 114 min. RATED R
Tickets $5!
Thu, Apr 10, 7:10
Former pitching great Luis Tiant returns to Cuba for the first time
since leaving in 1961 at age 20, for a bittersweet reunion with
his homeland and family members. Official Selection, 2009
Tribeca Film Festival.
DIR/SCR Jonathan Hock; PROD Kris Meyer. US, 2009, color,
102 min. NOT RATED
Sat, Apr 12, 2:45; Mon, Apr 14, 7:00
The true life story of Billy Beane, onetime phenom-turned-major
league bust-turned-innovative general manager of the Oakland
As. Six Oscar nominations, including Brad Pitt for Best Actor
and Jonah Hill for Best Supporting Actor. Based on the mega-
bestseller by Michael Lewis.
DIR Bennett Miller; SCR Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin,
from the book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” by Michael Lewis; PROD Michael
De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt. US, 2011, color, 133 min. RATED PG-13
Sun, Apr 13, 5:30; Tue, Apr 15, 4:20, 7:00–Free shows!
The inspiring story of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the
color barrier in all-white major league baseball when he debuted
for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, achieving stardom, opening
the doors for others and marking a key victory in the Civil Rights
DIR/SCR Brian Helgeland; PROD Thomas Tull. US, 2013, color, 128 min. RATED PG-13
Rare Films from the Baseball Hall of Fame
Introduced by David Filipi, Wexner Center for the Arts
Wed, Apr 16, 7:00
Celebrate the new baseball season with cinematic treasures
from the National Baseball Hall of Fame that will delight
baseball fans and cinephiles alike. Highlights of the program
include a clip of Willie Mays' 511th home run, Senators owner
Clark Griffith being serenaded by J. Edgar Hoover on his 85th
birthday, commercials featuring Gil Hodges, Harmon Killebrew,
Phil Rizzuto and Frank Robinson, a film on the 1955 Senators
and more! Total program approx. 120 mins. Video.
Program organized by David Filipi, Director of Film/Video,
Wexner Center for the Arts. Special thanks to Jim Gates,
National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown, New York.
Mon, Mar 24, 7:15; Wed, Mar 26, 9:20
John Sayles’ chronicle of the 1919 Chicago "Black Sox"
scandal, starring John Cusack, David Strathairn, Charlie Sheen
and Christopher Lloyd.
DIR/SCR John Sayles, from the book by Eliot Asinof; PROD Sarah
Pillsbury, Midge Sanford. US, 1988, color, 119 min. RATED PG
"Whoever wishes to know the heart and soul of
America had better learn baseball."
— Historian Jacques Barzun
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Tri-Star Pictures
Courtesy of Universal
Courtesy of Paramount
Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Repertory
Courtesy of MGM
Courtesy of Sony Pictures
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