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Fever Pitch (Widescreen Edition)
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Fallon/Barrymore ~ Fever Pitch
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Now I see I paid an extra $4 for the "Collector's Edition" over the regular DVD release for what amounts to about a minute of extra Red Sox highlights interpolated at the end. That's it. That's the only difference. That, my friends, is a rip-off from the marketing people, and a pretty crummy one.
Not to say that as a DVD this isn't a very nice package. The gag reel is pretty funny. The directors' commentary and a couple of the featurettes are interesting enough. And the deleted scenes, frankly, make it into a better movie; I only wish they'd done a Director's cut and re-inserted the deleted scenes, because it makes the occasionally thin plot a lot fleshier. In particular, the deleted scene of Uncle Carl taking young Ben to his first game at Fenway is actually pretty wonderful, and great back story for why Ben is so addicted as an adult. It's a major weakness of Farrelly Brothers movies that they seem to cut for time what are often the best parts of the movies, resorting to the truly wretched device of voice-over narration to substitute for what would've been better done as actual story. "Me Myself and Irene" serves as the ultimate monument to this awful problem of trying to use voice-over narration to solve story problems, where script and editing problems could've been overcome with some attention before production was ever started. "Fever Pitch", fortunately, manages to stand up well enough even with the narration. It's just that it's more obvoiusly in watching the deleted scenes that this could've been raised from an enjoyable but somewhat fluffy movie to one with more of an edge -- both sweet and sour -- had they put them in the "original" movie.
And, as I note, I did enjoy the movie -- the romantic comedy is relatively adult, and despite some glossing over of Ben and Lindsey's respective addictions to the Red Sox and the workplace, one does get a sense of adult motivations and a real relationship between the two. Jimmy Fallon, quite suprisingly, does an excellent job at walking a fine line here between not trying to be a film dreamboat (which he couldn't pull off) and avoiding being a complete moron in the loveable-moron school (which would've been unbelievable, given the Drew Barrymore character's sophistication.) In particular, he does a nice shift of gears from the sweet "winter Ben" to some over the top moments in the height of his Red Sox passion.
One quibble, another thing that could've been fixed with the deleted scenes restored: you never quite get that verisimilitude of exactly what kind of dumb things us Red Sox fans get cranked up by -- arguing on the phone with, say, talk radio about managerial moves at 11 PM while your girlfriend lies naked and beckoning in bed, for instance. Still, good job on getting the essential passions on the table.
But all that said, why on earth did I get charged an extra $4 for a few baseball highlights that do nothing to make the movie better? No good reason. If you like the movie or the idea of the movie, just buy the regular non-collectors' DVD edition. Even if you're a Red Sox diehard like me, no reason to shell out the extra money for the collectors' edition, because there's nothing to collect you won't also be able to get in the deluxe 2004 playoff DVD set of the games.
One of Ben Wrightman's (Jimmy Fallon) 9th grade muses asks him, "When have the RedSox ever loved you back?" But for all of us who have loved and lost and loved some more, the answer isn't so clear.
Especially during these past few years (thank you John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Theo Epstein), that love has been requited. But the years of Jimmy Williams and Dan Duquette weren't so bad after all either. And we'll always have Ted Williams (and Harry Hooper, and even Babe Ruth for a few years . . .)
Drew Barrymore plays her second romantic movie ending on a baseball field (Never Been Kissed) extremely well. She's a vulnerable cutie with lots of female power and a straight shooter. In my opinion, she shares her secret shame of "seeing patterns of numbers and rearranging them into new patterns" quite well. Her buddies are convincing women characters that test and question her.
Jimmy Fallon plays a wonderful sweet school teacher, err man, with "something not quite right". His buddies exist on the RedSox plane only -- maybe because there's nothing else. Some of his little bits are perfect moving the movie forward by adding dimension to his personality.
For me, "Fever Pitch" works on practically all levels. I have seen it thrice and cried every time. My wife (from Boston) liked it as well.
For my NY Yankee friends, probably not.
Is God a movie fan..He must be!
Because the Red Sox our biggest American League rival people think it was always that way. But it wasn't. When I grew up in the 1950s the Red Sox had great hitters like Ted Williams and Pete Runnels. But they were never a contender. The Yankees rivals were the Indians and White Sox, the only two teams to beat them out for the American League pennant. But those rivalries were nothing compared to the Brooklyn Dodger vs New York Yankee rivarly that develop when they meet in the World Series 4 times in the decade.
In this movie Jimmy Fallon meets Drew Barrymore and falls in love with her. But this happens in the winter and the true Red Sox fanaticism doesn't really come until baseball season. She gets a hint when she see how his apartment looks like Fenway Park. But the true understanding doesn't hit until she see him with friends on ESPN while they were down in Florida watching for the new prospects.
The theme of the story is all about her finding time for a man in her life and we see how this very succesful woman is embarrassed when she is caught sleeping on the job. For Fallon it is about finding time for her with his busy schedule attendiing Red Sox games. He inherited two season tickets and before the season starts he and his friends get to decide who gets to go with him for these games. With Drew in his life he picks her to go with him to the most important games. One day he had to miss a game for a dinner appointment with her parents.
The last straw seems to be when he hesitates about taking a trip with her to Paris because the Sox would be in town. In the end he is depressed and decides to sell his tickets and show her that he would give up the Red Sox for her. If you go see it watch how it plays out. It is very funny and romantic.
For me the most interesting part was that it was filmed during the 2004 season and so as they filmed the outcome was in doubt because it hinged on how the Red Sox would do. The soap opera story of the Red Sox being humiliated in game 3 of the AL Championship Series, then being down with no wins and three losses even their die hard fans were throwing in the towel. After all no team in the history of the playoffs and World series had ever comeback down 3-0 to win a 7 game series. But in Hollywood fashion they did. That gave them the impetus to reverse thecurse and sweeo the Cardinals in the World Series. Fallon and Barrymore actually attended some of the games and were filmed there.
This film is good for men and women. Men love it for the baseball and an undersanding of how serious fans can be about their team. Women love it for the romance, a real chick flick.
One of the reviewers stated : "The Red Sox theme got blown out of all proportions" but I couldn't agree less. Through the entire movie my family kept pointing at Jimmy Fallon saying, "oh my God! That's you!"
After a life-time of having my heart and emotions shoved through a shredder by the Red Sox, a little romance set against the impossible dream of MY Team winning, actually winning, a World Series is great fun. And none of us misses the irony that this movie was supposed to showcase true love against inevitable despair; that irony makes the laughter all the sweeter.
This is a fun little movie; and as a friend of mine once said, "not every movie has to be a FILM." Fever Pitch may not be "high cinema," but it is a lot of fun; and again, after a lifetime of "high cinema" and rousing despair from the Boston Red Sox, a fun little movie on the tails of a World Series Championship is just the ticket.