Top-ten lists can be predictable. They often feature the same 15 or so movies, recycled and reshuffled to a point where it’s pretty obvious those were the best movies of the year — or at least the ones that made it to the top of the consensus pile. But out of the hundreds of films released every year, why cut it off at ten?
This list is not the ten best movies of 2014. These are the films that almost made the cut. Numbers 11-25. I decided to feature them because, unlike my top ten, these movies are at least a bit more varied. Foreign films, independent films, documentaries, animation, the movies on this list come from all over and contain at least a few surprises in an otherwise tired format.
Make no mistake. The films I previously wrote about, in my opinion, are the ten best of 2014. But these movies are pretty damn great too. Below read my not quite top 10 movies of 2014.
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The story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent minor-league baseball team that ruled the Pacific Northwest in the ’70s, is almost too good to be true. Founded by actor Bing Russell, the team counted his son, Kurt Russell, as a member, and brought together a bunch of hopeful oddballs from all over the country. The Battered Bastards of Baseball tells the story of the Mavericks, and it is a nearly unbelievable tale of success and scrappy play. This is a very funny, entertaining film, and one that has more love of the game of baseball than anything else I’ve seen this year.
Watch the Battered Bastards of Baseball trailer below. Read More »
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 »
How great is the story at the heart of the doc The Battered Bastards of Baseball? Only a handful of people have seen the film so far, which documents the history of independent baseball team the Portland Mavericks, which had a Hollywood pedigree and earned a huge fanbase thanks to earnest, accomplished play. The film just premiered at Sundance. There isn’t even a distribution deal set for the doc. Nevertheless, it is already set to be adapted into a dramatic feature, with Fast and the Furious director Justin Lin producing and set to direct.
Update: Actually, Todd Field (In the Bedroom, Little Children) will write and direct, with Lin producing, contrary to the first report about the project. That’s actually a very appropriate call, as we explain below.
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Everyone knows Kurt Russell as one of his generation’s most recognizable and badass actors. Some might even know that he was once a professional athlete. What most people don’t know, however, is that Russell’s father, Bing Russell, was even more eclectic. A famous actor in his own right, the elder Russell eventually used his Hollywood fame to start an independent minor league baseball team called the Portland Mavericks.
That incredible story acts as the epicenter of The Battered Bastards of Baseball, a documentary that premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Co-directed by Chapman Way and Maclain Way (Two of Bing Russell’s grandsons), it’s a fascinating and fun look at one of baseball’s hidden and heartwarming stories. Read More »