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Eight Men Out [Blu-ray]
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"The scandal that gave the nation's favorite pastime a black eye is dramatically rendered in the John Sayles (Lone Star) scripted and directed Eight Men Out. Based on Eliot Asinof's book Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series, the film traces the gambling conspiracy by members of the Chicago White Sox to lose the 1919 World Series in order to win a huge gambling payday. The film features an impressive cast including John Cusack (Say Anything), Charlie Sheen (Wall Street), D.B. Sweeney (Taken 2), David Strathairn (Lincoln), Michael Lerner (Barton Fink), Clifton James (WUSA) and Christopher Lloyd (Back To The Future)."
- MPAA rating : s_medPG PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
- Product Dimensions : 7.5 x 5.5 x 0.5 inches; 2.88 Ounces
- Item model number : Relay time: 111min
- Director : Sayles, John
- Media Format : Widescreen
- Run time : 2 hours
- Release date : November 24, 2015
- Actors : Cusack, John, James, Clifton, Lloyd, Christopher, Sheen, Charlie, Strathairn, David
- Studio : Olive Films
- ASIN : B016BSQW4W
- Number of discs : 1
Best Sellers Rank:
#15,355 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
- #1,612 in Drama Blu-ray Discs
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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The film is fairly faithful to Eliot Asinof's groundbreaking book on the 1919 series fix, which is well-written, conveys a great deal of the color of the era, and gets a good deal of facts wrong, being the first book on the subject.
With those limitations (and a slender budget and run time), John Sayles brought the energy of post World War I America to life, re-created the World Series with an outstanding ensemble cast (Charlie Sheen, D.B. Sweeney, John Cusack, David Strathairn), and caught many of the social issues of the day (Prohibition, labor unrest, business and political corruption, even racism). The script is brilliant and makes the overlapping plotlines coherent, and the sound effects, editing, and music, make things work, too.
After I saw the film when it came out in 1988, I wished my grandfather, a huge baseball fan, who was an adult at the time -- and not involved with his older brother's nefarious work -- could see it with me, so I could ask him about the details: clothes, buildings, behavior, and so forth.
It's just one of my favorite films.
However, I wouldn't have a chance to ask my great-uncle about the accuracy of this film. He got whacked by Arnold Rothstein in 1925 or 1926. He is forever a cornerstone in the infrastructure of New York. He's holding up the Hellgate Bridge.
"Eight Men Out" is a period piece about the infamous fixing of the 1919 World Series by eight Chicago White Sox players, who did it with varying degrees of enthusiasm and reluctance, in cooperation with big-time gamblers who had approached them. This movie is based on the excellent 1963 Eliot Asinof book of the same name. The screenplay was written 11 years before this 1988 film was made, by director/writer John Sayles, who wrote a screenplay faithful to the true story. The resulting film is excellent at retelling the full story of how the 1919 "Black Sox" threw the World Series, as well as taking us back, quite well, to this era that opened the Roaring '20s. (This scandal damaged baseball hugely, and as I recall from my baseball research as a kid, Major League baseball came back primarily with the developing fame of a young Babe Ruth within a couple of years.) This film is true to the clothes, language, and cars of the times, generally, and also spends sufficient time on the all-important post-World Series discovery of the conspiracy, the hiring of well known Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis to investigate and pass judgment on this matter as the new lifetime Commissioner of Baseball, and takes us through that famous series of concluding events that resulted in lifetime bans from baseball for the eight players. (As I recall from my own childhood research, nobody got any "commutation of sentence" later on, either-- they were out for the rest of their lives as it turned out.)
The film also contains scenes showing how different groups of the conspiring gamblers were double-crossing ONE ANOTHER as well as the players they were conspiring with. An interesting side element of which I had been previously unaware.
The cast is absolutely top-drawer, including Charlie Sheen, D.B. Sweeney (both of whom were already good high school and college baseball players, respectively, in real life), John Cusack, Michael Lerner, David Strathairn, Christopher Lloyd, Clifton James, Michael Rooker, John Mahoney, Studs Terkel, and several other fine actors.
As to the blu-ray picture quality--FANTASTIC! Looks absolutely PERFECT, ultra-sharp, with beautiful colors, clean and unflawed--this has just the most beautiful picture quality by far of any movie from the 1980s (or 1990s!) that I've ever seen, and I own a few hundred blu-rays. There is thankfully no phony grain added, it's just a very sharp, very clean picture. I had seen a beautiful print of this great film not long ago on the MGM-HD Channel, and was hoping the eventual Blu-ray would be as good-- and not adding in phony grain to degrade the picture quality, which these small Blu-ray production houses tend to do. But, this Blu-ray turned out even slightly BETTER than that excellent MGM-HD Channel presentation. I also have the DVD, and this Blu-ray's picture quality is far better, as one would have hoped.
There is also an extremely good "making of" documentary from the 2007 DVD included on the Blu-ray, about an hour long, primarily with director-writer John Sayles, also actor D.B. Sweeney (who played Shoeless Joe Jackson), and, to a lesser extent, a couple of other actors in the film. This documentary is extremely informative about the movie-making aspects of this film from the development stages, also including interesting discussions of the training in baseball of the actors, and why doing the baseball parts very well was important to the filmmakers. The other extra is a good trailer, also in very sharp picture-quality. Oddly, there are no subtitles available, not even in English.
Olive Films has produced the nicest Blu-ray of theirs that I've ever seen, most especially in regard to the spectacular Blu-ray picture quality, which is superior to that of virtually any other Blu-ray I've seen out of 300+ Blu-rays-- and without a doubt vs. 1980s and 1990s films on Blu-ray.
Highly recommended Blu-ray release!
Charlie Sheen gets the artwork cover all to himself in this Blu-ray version, but this is definitely an ensemble film. Eagle-eyed viewers of this 1988 film will spot future cast members of "The Wire", "NYPD Blue", and "The Firm", and even one future member of The Flying Karamazov Brothers.
This is basically the Blu-ray edition of the 2008 20th Anniversary DVD release. Those of you who, like me, were only familiar with the earlier DVD release (with zero special features) should be quite pleased with the improved picture quality and "new" goodies.