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DRayBay’s Ultimate Movie Challenge: The Final Four

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Bull Durham vs Moneyball! Field of Dreams vs The Sandlot!

Moneyball took home a convincing 69-30 win against 42 to win the History category. As dominating as the Brad Pitt and company was in the division round, I’m not sure they are prepared for what awaits them in the next round.

If Bull Durham wins it all, it won’t be because it had a cakewalk. Following their rout of a tough Bad News Bears squad, they faced another brutal matchup in Major League, and even trailed throughout the first day of voting. On the second day, however, the Costner film found its footing and rallied to a 54-48 win. Here’s hoping they don’t get too full of themselves.

To get serious about both these films for a second:

Brad Pitt is driving force behind Moneyball. It is not just Billy Beane’s unconventional-at-the-time thinking that Pitt sells, but its the evangelical fervor he has in selling those ideas to the other members of his organization, from the front office down to the clubhouse. The former Mr. Jolie received a lot of glowing reviews for this performance, and they were deserved. I don’t know if this is better film than Bull Durham, but it’s still a damn fine movie.

Bull Durham works for different reasons. The smartly written script and sharp direction of Ron Shelton carry it, and the fact that none of the three stars dominate the screen allows for the triangle between them to fully develop. It is in essence a triumph of experience over youth—or is it youth over experience? I suppose it depends on your point of view.

Fighting off a quick start from The Natural, Field of Dreams rallied to an easy 61-31 win in the Drama category. The win moves us one step closer to the match-up we all want.

In the Family Fare group, The Sandlot took down Rookie of the Year in a contest that wasn’t close, 75-22. But the kids are playing with the big boys now. If they’re going to win from here on out, they better bring their A-game.

Now for the serious stuff:

We’ve talked a lot about the flaws in Field of Dreams, and they are all true. Especially Joe Jackson being a lefthanded hitter. I mean, geez, man, how can you be a baseball movie and get that—

Anyway...

There is truly a lot of great stuff in FoD. Baseball as a game passed down through generations. Pretty much everything James Earl Jones says or does. “Watch out for in your ear.” Is it cheesy? Corny? Of course it is. You know what else was cheesy and corny? Kirk Gibson off Eck. The Flip. Carlton Fisk waiving it fair. Lou Gehrig’s speech. Game 162. Call me a sucker, but I love it. All of it.

As for The Sandlot...look there is legitimately nothing serious about The Sandlot. This is a fun, cookie cutter kids flick that somehow struck a chord with Millennials and became a phenomenon. And that’s not a criticism. See, even though I was a touch too old when it came out to really get it, I still mostly get it: at its most generous, it’s about the power sports and an ally can play in helping us fit in. And there are far worse things in this world than that.

I’ll be traveling this weekend, so this poll will stay open through Sunday evening, with the final vote taking place next week.