Eight Men Out (1988)

PG   |    |  Drama, History, Sport


Eight Men Out (1988) Poster

A dramatization of the Black Sox scandal when the underpaid Chicago White Sox accepted bribes to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series.


7.2/10
17,365

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  • John Cusack and Michael Rooker in Eight Men Out (1988)
  • Charlie Sheen in Eight Men Out (1988)
  • David Strathairn in Eight Men Out (1988)
  • Christopher Lloyd and Richard Edson in Eight Men Out (1988)
  • John Cusack and Barbara Garrick in Eight Men Out (1988)
  • John Cusack and D.B. Sweeney in Eight Men Out (1988)

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Reviews & Commentary

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6 July 2004 | rmax304823
When the world was corrupt.
I especially enjoyed Studs Terkel and John Sayles as the two sportswriters, Fullerton and Lardner. They're very droll. They act as a kind of Greek chorus, making cynical wisecracks, keeping the audience clued in on what's supposed to be going on. As the White Sox play out yet another crooked game, Sayles said to Terkel, "Nothing but fast balls." "Nice, sloow ones," adds Terkel. It gets better. Terkel writes a column for the Chicago paper accusing gamblers of corrupting the game of baseball and Sayles is reading it aloud. "Writers are tainting the game," or something, says Sayles. "Keep reading," says Terkel. "The game would be better off without the long-nosed, thick-lipped Eastern element preying on our boys in the field." Terkels smiles around his cigar and says, "Makes you proud to be a sportswriter, doesn't it?"

The rest of the movie is pretty good too, although I sometimes get the characters and their motives a little mixed up. The baseball scenes are very well done. I say this, being no big fan of the sport myself. Charlie Sheen (a true aficionado) looks like he's heaving a heavy bat as he clunks out a hit, not a rubber prop. I admired too the way the series games swung back and forth as the players on the take tried to figure out if they were playing for the money or for themselves. It's tough to throw a game because part of one's self always wants to do what one does best -- in this case, play baseball well. The German ethologists call it "Funktionslust." In the end, despite some indecision, they do however lose.

The movie isn't kind to the gamblers or to the owners. Comisky was incredibly cheap and greedy. The script gives this as one of the reasons why the players agreed to throw the game. As Strathairn says when someone offers him a part payment, "I don't care about the money." He's throwing the games to foul up Comisky who has just denied him a promised bonus because Strathairn, playing the pitcher Cicotte, has only played 29 games instead of the 30 they'd agreed upon. Comisky has made him sit on the bench for the last few games so he wouldn't cross the bonus threshold. (Question: Given that Comisky cheated Cicotte of the contracted bonus, was Cicotte morally justified in throwing the games?)

The movie isn't nice to the gamblers either. Not only don't they pay off but they treat the players with contempt. Arnold Rothstein ("A.R.") treats EVERYBODY rudely. He never says hello when he enters a room, never says good-bye when leaving, and never smiles.

I kind of liked this. Sayles may not be a master but his films are always highly individualized. I cannot visualize him directing "Die Hard With A Sardonic Grin."

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film doesn't mention why baseball owners decided to name Kenesaw M. Landis baseball commissioner. Many baseball historians feel he got the job because he ruled in favor of the American and National leagues when the Federal League sued both leagues in 1914.


Quotes

Ray Schalk: Safe? You cockeyed son of a bitch! I had him! Who's paying you?
Chicago Umpire: Take a walk, Ray.
Ray Schalk: That's the worst call I've ever seen! I've been in this league for seven years!
Chicago Umpire: You heard me, Ray.
Chicago Umpire: Out of the ballgame.
Ray Schalk: They're all yours, Kid.


Goofs

Many newspaper headlines are in variations of the Helvetica typeface, designed in 1957.


Crazy Credits

During the opening credits of the movie, they are done against a blue cloudy sky up, then to the right and down to the bottom. Despite the ensemble cast, the most well-known leading and character actors at the time were credited first in alphabetical order, then lesser known actors that had roles that were just as large or larger were credited in pairs of two. Example: John Cusack, Christopher Lloyd, and Charlie Sheen were credited first, due to their successes with The Sure Thing, Back to the Future, and Platoon, respectively, but in pairs, Michael Rooker, Kevin Tighe, and Richard Edson also had pivotal roles, but were lesser known. Charlie Sheen was already well-established, but had no more than a few minutes of screen time the entire movie, Christopher Lloyd and Richard Edson were always together playing gamblers, but Lloyd was a much more well-known actor and credited first.


Alternate Versions

Five seconds were cut from the British theatrical release in order to obtain a "PG" rating. The film was later released uncut on video and the rating was upgraded ("15" for the earlier release and "12" for the DVD).


Soundtracks

I Be Blue
Written by
John Sayles and Mason Daring
Performed by Leigh Harris

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Drama | History | Sport

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