The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Screwball: The Ted Whitfield Story (2010)

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After the 90 minutes of pure amazing that was Poolboy: Drowning Out the Fury, I had to see what else Ross Patterson had to offer, and fortunately, he had a couple on Watch Instantly. I went with this one, because I liked the idea of a movie based on Whiffle Ball, something I used to play growing up.

Screwball: The Ted Whitfield Story, is about Ted Whitfield (Patterson), a star in the SoCal Whiffle Ball league, who finds himself something of a celebrity in 1994, when the MLB strike brings a few more people to the game. In 1995 though, when the MLB strike ends, Whitfield, in a desperate attempt to keep people at the games, makes a charge at the league's home run record, something he'll do at any cost. Will he succeed, yet lose himself in the process?

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While this is not Poolboy, very little is, and this still has some great moments. Patterson is hilarious, as are many in the cast. I think people who have seen Poolboy will recognize Patterson's style, from his line delivery, to some of the random craziness-- one of my favorites being when he threatens an ump with a box cutter. The film meanders a bit near the end, but Patterson picks it back up, and there's a twist ending that had me in stitches. See Poolboy first, then check this out, especially if you're here in the States and can check both on Watch Instantly.

Ross Patterson is one of those types of comedic actors that can say anything in a movie and make it funny. All of the scenes with him in them were hilarious, whether he's working out and smoking and taking blue dinosaur vitamins-- performance enhancing drugs-- or he's hitting on women giving interviews. His writing in this is great too, especially when the woman who played Peters in Poolboy (Edi Patterson) enters the film as Whitfield's wife, and describes her harrowing ordeal of being vaginally raped by a mountain lion-- in sign language. Who thinks of that? Ross Patterson apparently. The two of them have great comedic chemistry too-- Patterson and Patterson, not Patterson and the mountain lion. What you gotta love about this is that, even though it's not as good as Poolboy, you can see how he gets better from film to film, meaning FDR: American Badass could be something so fantastic words won't be able to describe it-- I may not even be able to review it.

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Another thing Poolboy has going for it that might make it more of a fit for readers of this blog is that it's about action movies, which everyone here is familiar with, while Screwball is about sports, and I'm not sure how many of my readers that connects with. Also, this makes fun of the issues Major League Baseball had with players taking steroids, and I'm not sure how many readers outside of the US and Canada know or care about that. For me personally, having grown up an hour north of Boston, I was raised on baseball, and a lot of these jokes rang true. I also grew up near some trailer parks, so a lot of the red neck jokes rang true too.

Whiffle Ball in particular hit close to home. We all used to play in my neighborhood, plus my dad and I would play in the back yard. The idea of a Whiffle Ball league is great, and I imagine people actually have them. I know my buddy played in a kickball league in Portland. No irony either, this was competitive rec league kickball. He asked if I wanted to check out a game, and I asked if I should bring orange wedges. He thought it was funny, his teammates not so much.

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Finally, fans of the blog might recognize Jaime Bergman. She appeared in the very first film we reviewed, Boa vs. Python. In this she plays a reporter interviewing Ted Whitfield, who is only in a robe and jock strap. Snippets of the interview play throughout the film. I think in a couple spots she was trying not to laugh. I gotta think there were a few retakes in some of those scenes, because I know I wouldn't be able to keep a straight face. I also thought it would be good to put her picture up here, because her husband is David Boreanaz, and his pics are all over Tumblr. Gotta even things up a bit.

If you haven't seen Poolboy, do that first-- and do that now!-- then take a look at this. You'll recognize things you liked in Poolboy in this, even if you're not a sports fan. The jump in quality though from this to Poolboy has me wondering if the world can handle FDR: American Badass when it comes out. We'll just have to see.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1262978/

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