Blog Archives

‘Maniac’ Looks Superbad

A brand new Netflix series titled ‘Maniac’ looks superbad in a good way.

With a cast led by ‘Superbad’ co-stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, along with Sally Field and Justin Theroux, ‘Maniac’ looks like an entertaining mind trip. Escaping into this show appears oddly comforting as a creative yet twisted cognitive wonderland.

Haven’t we all said sang, “I’m a maniac, maniac I sure know” to ourselves?

‘Maniac’ premieres September 21 on Netflix.


Happy Monday!

Jonah Hill hosted Saturday Night Live for the third time this past weekend. While “JH” was talking about the inception of the casting for “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a surprise guest appeared with something to say.

All in all, it was an SNL monologue of epic proportions. Actually, epic may not be the exact right word. What’s a good synonym for epic?

Happy Monday and Fly into the Week like, You Know!

Bottom of the Ninth

“As a celebration of the magic of movies involving baseball, at least one scene from a different film will be posted each day for the next nine days…”
—From “Top of the First” March 28th

2011 was the year that featured a movie that included two underdog story lines occurring simultaneously. The first was the major motion picture, “Moneyball,” which tells the true story of the Oakland Athletics in 2002, managed by Billy Beane, and how Beane dealt with the departure of his biggest stars: Johnny Damon, Jason Giambi and Jason Isringhausen. The second was the surprising chemistry between acclaimed leading man Brad Pitt and niche comedic actor Jonah Hill in this dramatic film about baseball…and so much more.

As described in “Top of the Second,” Brad Pitt portrays real life Oakland Athletics manger Billy Beane. He has to deal with the reality his clubhouse is, monetarily speaking, at the very bottom of the wealth ranks. “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. It’s an unfair game.” The fact is they cannot afford to pay any salary remotely comparable to that of the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox. This dilemma the As faced wasn’t even about tightening belts with regard to any kind of reckless spending. Rather, they actually had to throw the belts out into the trash. The status quo was not holding anymore.

It was a dire situation. Creativity on a shoe string budget was their only viable option. Numbers were the only asset they could afford. Luckily, Beane had the aptitude to grab the smartest guy for the job from his indistinctive cubicle in the bullpen in Cleveland.

Peter Brand: “Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins. In order buy wins, you need to buy runs.”

The clip below is the final scene of the movie.

This is a SPOILER ALERT warning. If you have not seen the last scene of the movie “Moneyball” and would like to see the film in its entirety first, then please do not click on the video.

Either way, the final two and a half minutes show the ending to the true story of Billy Beane and his attempts to score more runs and strikeout more batters in the micro while trying to change the way the game is played in the macro.

On screen, actors Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill pulled off the underdog upset with their natural fluidity with each other in their respective roles that brought credibility and realism to the characters and the movie as a whole. Was the real life ending for the people they portrayed on film as victorious?

Billy Beane: “We are card counters at the blackjack table. And we’re gonna turn the odds on the casino.”

Extra! Extra! Read All About It! As can happen in this sport, we have a tie score at the end of nine innings and will be preparing for the top of the 10th!

Top of the Second

“As a celebration of the magic of movies involving baseball, at least one scene from a different film will be posted each day for the next nine days…”
—From “Top of the First” March 28th

In the game of baseball, there are teams that can afford to peruse through a catalog of players, glaze over their hitting percentages and “big name” status and then call them up with a single offer that would make them potentially the biggest fools on the planet if they were to reject the contract. In other words, money plays.

But what if there was a team that thought differently? What if a manager and his Ivy League educated assistant used statistics and mathematical equations to evaluate talent to determine the best value in players who would inevitably score x runs, strikeout y hitters and ultimately win z games?

And more incredibly, what if this was based on a true story involving the Oakland A’s?

“Bottom of the First” showed us how math had to be used to get the Minnesota Twins, of “Little Big League,” into the game. The first scene (and a bonus scene!) from “Moneyball” shows us the genesis of deciding to utilize statistics and math to win the game.