Kurt-Russell-The-Battered-Bastards-of-Baseball

One of the year’s most fascinating documentaries, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, is coming exclusively to Netflix on July 11. Directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way, it tells the story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent minor league baseball team created by Kurt Russell‘s father, Bing Russell. That’s Kurt above, by the way; he was on the team.

The Mavericks were hugely influential and extremely entertaining, as is the documentary. (We reviewed the film at Sundance; read that at this link.) Justin Lin is attached to produce a live action remake, directed by Todd Field.

Before that happens, though, you can see the full film on Netflix next month. Below, see the poster for the film. Read More »

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Will Smith in I Am Legend

A pair of sports film just took significant jumps up the production ladder. First up, superstar Will Smith is in talks to star in a film about head injuries in the NFL produced by Ridley Scott. Peter Landesman (Parkland) is scheduled to direct.

Second, John Lee Hancock – director of the highest grossing sports film of all time, The Blind Side – will direct a film about the life of baseball superstar turned financial criminal, Lenny Dykstra. Read more about the Will Smith NFL movie and Dykstra project below. Read More »

James Mangold in Talks for Joe Namath Biopic

James Mangold directs Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine

James Mangold is looking to direct a movie about a larger-than-life figure who’s not a Marvel superhero. The Wolverine and Walk the Line helmer may be getting back into biopics with a film about Joe Namath, the legendary New York quarterback. Hit the jump for more details on the new project.

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David Gordon Green football drama

David Gordon Green is looking to play ball again with Eastbound & Down‘s Don Johnson. Only this time, they’ll be teaming up for a college football drama instead of a baseball comedy.

Titled Score, the new streaming project has Green attached to direct from a script by Johnson. It’s unclear right now whether it’s a TV series or a movie, but either way it has our attention. Hit the jump to find out what Johnson had to say about it.

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Lebron James More Than A Game

UPDATE: Universal Pictures has likely acquired the rights via Variety. Original story follows.

The inspiring story of Lebron James‘ high school basketball career was covered quite well in the 2008 documentary More Than A Game. Now, that story is getting a narrative treatment from a couple of Oscar nominees. Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire) and Rachel Winter (Dallas Buyers Club) are among the people selling a pitch that would tell the story of James’ high school days before he became an NBA superstar. Read more about the Lebron James movie below. Read More »

Yasiel Puig Movie

The day of the “can’t miss” hit sports movie has come and gone. Even really good movies, such as the recent Draft Day, haven’t seen the kind of support similar movies did two decades ago. But that doesn’t stop Hollywood from trying. Disney has Million Dollar Arm coming in a few weeks, and now Brett Ratner is on board with a new story. He and his company just bought the rights to a Los Angeles Magazine article about how LA Dodgers star Yasiel Puig escaped from Cuban imprisonment to become a baseball superstar. Read more about the Yasiel Puig movie below. Read More »

Space Jam Live Read

Generally when a group puts on a live read, they pick a script of reverence. An Oscar-winner like The Usual Suspects, a classic comedy like Groundhog Day or Ghostbusters, maybe a stage masterpiece like Glengarry Glen Ross. When Funny or Die does it, they go a little out of the box. They do Space Jam.

Michael Jordan famously starred in the 1996 animated hit, which blended live actors with the Looney Tunes in a sci-fi, comedic, basketball romp. For kids of that era, the film became a classic. For anyone who has seen it since, it doesn’t quite hold up. But it’s fun, with a nostalgic appeal, and so Funny or Die recruited an all-star cast to read the script. Literally. NBA All-Star Blake Griffin read the role of Jordan and a slew of comedians and actors filled in the other roles, such as Seth Green, Ralph Garman, Danielle Fishel, Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll and others.

Below, watch – not the whole thing – but a good 10-minute highlight of the Space Jam live read. Read More »

Draft Day review

The NFL is a notoriously cautious company. For years, it has not allowed official logos to be used by Hollywood; the NFL did not feel that a negative representation of football benefited the brand in any way. It makes sense, and also casts an odd light on Ivan Reitman‘s Draft Day, the first film ever officially licensed by the NFL. Obviously, the film does not shine a negative light on the league, something other football films definitely have done. There’s no mention of drug use or concussions. The lack of controversy actually works to the film’s advantage, creating a very broad entry point to a subject that might initially seem limiting. Draft Day doesn’t need controversy or on-field action to create drama. Read More »

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