each Grapefruit and Cactus League game inches us closer to Opening Day, I’ve
looked back at some of the most beloved cinematic salutes to our national
pastime…except this week, of course.
Seriously, folks, they can’t all be winners. So, today I look back with all the crankiness
of a Nick Hornby novel at one of the most overcooked of all cinematic baseball
turkeys – Fever Pitch.
not talking about the funny 1997 Colin Firth vehicle about a long, suffering
soccer fan. I’m talking about the
terrible 2005 American version, starring the woeful Jimmy Fallon, as a long,
suffering baseball fan. Oh! So
that’s what makes it American…baseball. What? Does Soccer not transfer from English to English?
If I didn’t spend $10 on the ticket and wasn’t the designated driver, I
would have walked out on this disaster 15 minutes in.
Fever Pitch (2005) was directed by the
Farrelly Brothers (Hall Pass) and
written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (A
League of their Own). The film
introduces us to Ben (Fallon) and Lindsey (Drew Barrymore). Opposites in everyway, they fall in
love. Everything is going great until
Opening Day reveals a deep secret about Ben – he’s a Red Sox Fan. Can their budding romance survive the
baseball season? Better yet, who cares?
not exaggerating when I say that I have
never sat through such a flawed movie in my life. It wasn’t even bad enough to be good. The Farrelly Brothers were so wrapped up in
location (with scenes actually shot at and around Fenway Park), authenticity
(cameos by actual Red Sox) and rewriting the ending that they forgot about a
little thing called, acting. (Note: I don’t want to give away too much about
the 2005 or 1997 movies, but when the Red Sox actually won the World Series, some major scenes had to be reshot.)
Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon as romantic leads on screen is as exciting as
watching paint dry. You know the
performances in the film are pathetic when ex-Red Sox, Johnny Damon, easily puts
in one of the more charming performances in the film. Stella Adler and Babe Ruth must be rolling over in their graves.
was never a Nick Hornby fan, but I always liked the novel, Fever Pitch. Because it’s
autobiographical, I feel like it speaks to some inherent truth in all of
us. If I could make a business card that
said “Trish Vignola – long, suffering sports fan”, I would. Seriously, Fever Pitch is not Hornby’s typical heaping helping of whinny men
suffering from “Peter Pan” complexes. It’s
the 1997 film worked so well because Hornby was actually involved in the
production, writing the screenplay.
Maybe the 2005 film failed so badly, because the Farrelly Brothers got
so wrapped up in Americanizing the film, they forgot about story or dynamic casting. Maybe a film that was less than 10 years old
at the time had no business being remade?
Thank god Hollywood learned its lesson with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Oh, wait! Too late.