NO NO: A DOCKUMENTARY (2014)

DockEllis

Elizabeth

For a few years now, ever since Chris showed me this Youtube short on Dock Ellis, the short was one of my favorite Youtube videos I had ever seen. Animation is played over Pirates pitcher Dock Ellis as he describes the situation leading up to, and then performing, a no-hitter while tripping on acid. It’s super funny and amazing.

So I was excited to watch No No: A Dockumentary, which is sort of an extended, non-animated version of the short. It goes deep into who Dock Ellis was when he was an MLB pitcher and who he was after, along with the context that made him that way. Now that I’m really into baseball, the idea of someone today pitching a game while on LSD just completely blows my mind on multiple levels. It’s so crazy and interesting to watch old baseball footage; players’ bodies are different, their language is different, the atmosphere is different, the attitude is different.

No No does a good job of lending time to the event that gave the movie its name while also making it clear that Dock Ellis was more than just that guy who pitched a no-hitter on acid (though that’s a hard title to beat, I must say). He may not be the most famous ever player in baseball history, but he was certainly important and this documentary does him and his game justice.

Christopher

I first heard of Dock Elis from this animated short. I loved it and was definitely interested in trying to watch a game where the pitcher threw a no hitter while on acid. I showed Elizabeth this at some point and she and I have gotten really into watching The Orioles these past years so when we saw this on Showtime it was like it was made just for us.

I found the movie to be very interesting. They had some good footage of his career as well as interviews and he really did do a lot in his life. You also find out his skeletons which were very dark at times but as a whole his life seemed nice.

I’m glad we watched this and I liked it but I don’t think it was a great movie. I feel like you would have to be interested in the subject in order to find this movie enjoyable. But I would recommend that shit anytime!

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ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD (1994)

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Christopher

I used to love this movie and watching it now as an adult I still find it uplifting but the story is a mess. Based off of this movie I now know that as a kid I did not know that much about baseball. Almost everything baseball related about this film makes no sense other than the fact that baseball is a sport and that the Angels are a baseball team.

The biggest example of this is that Tony Danza plays a washed up pitcher who blew his arm out a few years ago. So the first time they send him in to pitch he has an angel with him so he pitches a perfect game!!! But no one seems to really care other than the fact that he just pitched well? But that’s not the really weird part. The weird part comes during the next game he pitches. So he’s pitching in the second game in the season and during the 8th inning (I think?) when he’s at 150 pitches, he begins to struggle. And for some reason it’s this big thing where it’s a great shame that he can’t finish the game. That makes absolutely no sense. Pitchers get tired. They can’t always throw a whole game and the number of pitchers that actually do are so slim this whole conflict is distracting cause it makes no sense! Just take him out and let a middle reliever take over!

This movie was fun but I think I watched it for the last time.

Elizabeth

This season I watched more baseball games that I think I had previously ever seen my whole life combined. So watching Angels in the Outfield now made me realize how much of the movie really doesn’t make a ton of sense. I sort of have the feeling that the filmmakers maybe didn’t know a lot about baseball, but know a lot about football. The baseball in Angels in the Outfield is this weird mix of baseball, football, and things that wouldn’t make sense in any sport. For example, every game the Angels play in Angels in the Outfield is a huge deal, and every game makes a huge difference. Sure, every game matters in baseball, but considering each team plays 162 games a season, there’s not nearly as much weight put on every game. It’s just sort of weird.

Despite that, Angels in the Outfield still reminded me how much I love baseball movies. They’re just the best sports movies, in my opinion. It’s also great seeing little Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Although I think having watched Angels in the Outfield so much growing up, I just cannot find Joseph Gordon-Levitt sexy. I was sort of shocked when I realized so many people find him sexy. He’s good looking, yes, but sexy? Isn’t he just little Roger?

Also, it’s worth noting that the angels are kind of huge assholes in this movie. Roger wishes for the Angels to win the pennant, because when Roger asks his father when they’ll be a family again, he says “I’d say when The Angels win the pennant.” Because The Angels suck, he means this sarcastically. But Roger wishes for this anyway, and even though God must surely realize Roger’s dad’s sarcasm, he goes with that wish anyway, rather than making Roger’s dad come back. The head angel also ends up telling Roger that his idol, pitcher Mel Clark (Tony Danza) is going to die in 6 months from lung cancer, and there’s nothing that Roger can do about it. Oh okay! I mean, that’s not a terrible burden to lay on this orphan with a shitty life or anything. COME ON, ANGELS!

KNUCKLEBALL! (2012)

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Elizabeth

When Knuckleball! first came out, I saw R.A. Dickey as a guest on The Daily Show and sort of fell in love with him, in a baseball player sort of way. I thought he was really well-spoken (for an athlete) and was really intrigued by this whole knuckleball thing, which I hadn’t heard of up to that point. This was around post-season baseball time, so I didn’t get to see R.A. Dickey pitch at all, so I was still intrigued/confused by the knuckleball.

Chris and I had been meaning to watch this for a really long time, but then it finally came out on Netflix and between that and being in the mood after the MLB draft, it was hard to pass up seeing this. And it’s really cool. I love a good sports documentary, and I just thought this was great. It goes into the mechanics of the knuckleball, which is a pretty important element to a viewer like me. I’ve since seen R.A. Dickey pitch, so I’ve seen the knuckleball in action, but still didn’t quite understand how it worked. This documentary goes into all the reasons the knuckleball is great and awful; how it can bring a career back from the dead and then abandon a player when he needs it most. I’ve decided I don’t like watching games where the Blue Jays (R.A. Dickey’s team) play the Orioles (Chris’ team and my team now) when Dickey pitches, because it just sort of kills me when he does badly, but if he does well . . . it’s against the Orioles and that’s not great, either. Caring about sports feels like a full-time job sometimes.

But Knuckleball! is also great if you’re not a huge baseball fan, because it explains what needs to be explained and tells compelling stories about Tim Wakefield (a since-retired knuckleball pitcher) and R.A. Dickey’s careers. See this for suuuure.

Christopher

It took us forever to watch this movie. It wasn’t ’til Netflix put it on Instant Watch did we finally sit down to see it. I’m glad we did ’cause this documentary was great. For some reason, growing up, I don’t think I ever understood that Tim Wakefield was a knuckleball pitcher or that there were even pitchers that only threw knuckleballs. I really feel that this is a movie that everyone should see, even people that don’t feel that into baseball. It really helps you understand the struggles of professional sports. Though this is about a specific kind of people, it walks you through the struggles of sports. No matter how good you are there will be times you struggle and sometimes it takes completely reinventing yourself to stay in the game! Please watch this.

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992)

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Elizabeth

It’s baseball season, and with the rash of games that Chris (and myself!) have been watching, I’ve also been sort of itching to watch baseball movies, even though I think I’ve already seen all of the great ones. And A League of Their Own is definitely one of them. I used to play softball, and while I can’t remember the timeline of when I started playing softball in relation to when I first saw A League of Their Own, I definitely thought about the movie a lot during the softball season. It’s kind of hard not to, especially when you’re a young girl. There just aren’t a ton of movies about women’s sports; in fact, this is the only movie I can think of off the top of my head. And what’s great about A League of Their Own is that even though Geena Davis (at the height of her sexiness, I think) is the star catcher for the team and the majority of the women have movie star looks (obviously), it somehow still comes across as being more about women and sports than pretty women and sports.

It also does a pretty great job at balancing the issues that would be unique to an all-female sports team, particularly during WWII (husbands dying in the war, having to wear skirted uniforms, not being taken seriously), with the actual sports, so that it’s still a baseball movie without being 100% a sappy chick flick.

Also, Tom Hanks can do no wrong. Seriously. I even saw Larry Crowne, which is kind of unbelievably stupid and pointless, but Tom Hanks was still super cute and charming and pretty much single-handedly prevented it from being a total failure. And Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own is just kind of perfect.

Christopher

This movie is and will always be a classic! I really don’t have a lot to say though. This really is a movie you can sit down at any moment and watch. I think thats why we watched it in the first place, so I could make a collage and not have to pay full attention.

If you haven’t seen this then I assume you’re under 10 years old so get your parents to rent it for you! Or watch it on Netflix.