Hot Stove Season Heats Up; So Does Movie Season

Luckily, I have another passion besides baseball: movies. And, as long-time readers of this blog know, I’m fortunate to live in Santa Barbara where an annual film festival takes place and affords me the opportunity to see lots of international films – plus the actors, directors and writers responsible for making them.
The Festival will be held February 4-14th this year – perfect timing. I’ll be done with it by spring training.
Meanwhile, over the next several weeks I get to see pre-festival screenings of films that are sure to be nominated for Oscars. Last week was “Precious, which won the big prize at Sundance. It’s definitely not for those looking for a lighthearted romp. It’s about an illiterate, obese, abused Harlem teen trying to make her way in the world. The subject is tough. But the acting? Amazing. I’d never heard of Mo’ Nique, but if she doesn’t get an Oscar nod I’ll be stunned. And Mariah Carey? She’s fantastic. No joke. She’s so de-glamorized I wonder if Jeter would recognize her. I absolutely loved this movie, as difficult as it was to sit through. Here’s the trailer.
Today’s screening was “A Single Man,” the movie that marks the directorial debut of former fashion designer Tom Ford of Gucci fame. The story takes place over the course of a day in the life of a college professor who has recently lost his partner of 16 years. (Yup, another laugh riot – not.) Colin Firth plays the lead and he won the best actor award at the Venice Film Festival. He’s a shoo-in for a best actor Oscar nomination. There was a lot to like about this film. It’s gorgeous to look at and the haunting flashbacks reminded me of “American Beauty.” But for me there was too much style and not enough substance. I can’t show the trailer, since it’s R-rated, but here’s Colin Firth and co-star Julianne Moore talking about it.
Next weekend is “The Road,” based on Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel – another very dark tale that I might otherwise avoid except that it has Viggo Mortensen in it.
I’d pay to watch him take out his trash, so this one is a no-brainer for me. Of course, all these movies can’t take the place of them.
It’s only been a couple of days, but I miss them. Sigh.


  1. Jane Heller

    At least this is Good Movies season, Brendan. I have no doubt there will be Yankees news – maybe even as soon as next week regarding Matsui, Damon and even Wang – but in the meantime I’m glad there’s interesting fare at the theaters.

  2. mikeeff

    i was hoping from the title that a single man might be taken from the isherwood book..but fro the clip i guess not.. tommy and i were playmates at studio 54 in the 70’s – ahh the good old days…


    Yes, I am going through baseball withdrawal. I’m missing the guys. So keep us updated on good movies, Jane. We’ll need them to pass the time.


  4. Jane Heller

    Mike, “A Single Man” Is based on the Isherwood book! I should have mentioned that. Tom Ford talked a lot about the book when he came for the Q&A yesterday. You would have enjoyed the discussion, I’m sure.

    I’ll be back to baseball later, Melissa, but every now and then I’ll give my little movie updates. I do love to sit in a theater and wait for the lights to dim and be told a story. It never gets old for me.

    From what I hear, Paul, “Push” was much harsher than the movie. Really violent and unsparing. The movie isn’t a Disney song and dance by comparison, but it’s so worth seeing. And yeah, “The Road” sounds like a must see. Looking forward to next Saturday.


    Hi Jane,

    I started to respond to yesterday’s entry but my browser froze up and I never got back on the computer. But I hummed the six flag song in my head all day after watching it and laughed so hard that I cried.

    I’m glad you like movies. I wondered how you saw Precious before it was released. I am assuming you read the NYT Sunday Magazine article last week. I will see it when it is released nationwide. This is the best time of year for movies. We also just got a new DVD player to replace the one that didn’t work. There are so many movies I want to see that only make it to the Art Theaters so now I can rent them. We went to see “This is It” last night. It was OK, more interesting than anything. I am settling into the off-season which around here is movie season, as well.

    I still have the replays of games 4 and 6 to watch and watched the 96 and 2000 series on MLB yesterday. The 2009 Yankees are my favorite team. This is my first championship team since the 96 team that I have gotten to follow on TV. We moved to Colorado in 98 and back then it wasn’t possible. I love all our guys!



    Remember when you tweeted about Mariano possibly being injured during the last game (or next to last)? By now I’m sure you read about his rib injury. I injured my rib swimming three years ago this month and it is one of the most painful injuries you can have. It took six weeks to heal and it hurt to do everything including sleep. I am even more amazed that he was able to battle though that.



    We’re still kind of celebrating on the right coast, Jane. Everywhere I’ve gone since Game 6 I’ve seen oceans of Yankees shirts and hats and jackets. And every time one of us sees another with an interlocking NY we share the biggest grins and “Go Yankees” — its quite a relief after a 9 year hiatus. But in a way, all those off years made me feel more like a true fan because I never lost my devotion. If we start another streak going forward we are going to see many “new” fans joining the clan. But only those of us with a true love of our team were able to ride out the dry periods over the years.

    Two funny things. I heard on the radio, a DJ said, “So, now that the World Series is over, we can focus on the Giants, Jets, Knicks and Nets…sooooooo, how many weeks til pitchers and catchers???!!” – Then I was in Oceanside earlier in an area of L.I. that I was not that familiar with…I saw a street called “The Fenway”. When I got over the initial horror of seeing that, I looked at the house at the head of the street and saw the biggest Yankees flag I’ve ever seen. What was a Yankees fan thinking living at the end of a street with that name? Anyway, enjoy the great movies — we going to try to get in to see Michael Jackson’s flick on Tuesday night. Then onward and upward. I’m going through some pretty difficult sports withdrawal as MLB season is done and my Jets don’t have a game this week. Have no problem watching and rooting for the Giants but its 70 degrees here (yes, November in NY) and I’m going to go enjoy the sun and warmth for the few days we have left.

  8. phillies_phollowers

    That movie looks exactly like the school I teach at…lots of pregnant and abused teens. It is very sad, but makes me appreciate my own kids a lot more. Going to have to see that one. And I agree about Viggo…he could be cleaning toilets and I’d watch it ;O)


  9. Jane Heller

    HAHA, Laurie. I couldn’t get that damn Six Flags song out of my head either!!!! I did read the Times Magazine article about “Precious” and found it very interesting. The director is amazingly tenacious. It’s so hard to get financing even for movies with big stars, so it’s quite a feat that he was able to put this project together. It’s fun for me to see all these movies before they’re released because there aren’t any reviews yet and you can form your own opinion. I seemed to be in the vast minority of people yesterday: everybody was blown away by “A Single Man” and I thought it was just OK. Anyhow, the GM meetings start tomorrow so I’m hoping for a little baseball news to keep us going! Oh – about Mo’s ribcage injury. I’m amazed that he was able to pitch with it, much less pitch effectively, but it couldn’t have been THAT bad. He looked like he was having a blast at the parade, waving to everyone from his float. Good thing he has the winter off, in any case.

    Diane, it’s funny about the withdrawal and how hard it is to move on after the season’s over. I remember in 2007 when I was at Game 4 of the ALDS and the Yankees were sent packing, their season over. So many guys were leaving the Stadium and yelling, “Let’s go Giants” or “Let’s go Rangers.” I was amazed at their ability to move on to another sport so quickly. It was like total denial! LOL. So I’m glad to hear people are still having fun and celebrating. Here in California, it’s on to the Lakers or movies or whatever, although I did see a man wearing a Yankees cap yesterday. I almost ran up and hugged him!

    Is Viggo hot or what, Jenn? I absolutely adore him. I think he’s all covered up in a scruffy beard and long dirty hair in “The Road,” but I’ll be there anyway!

    LOL, Jeff. I don’t think Jessica Biel is in any Oscar-worthy movies this season, but Charlize Theron is in “The Road” with Viggo. She’s not chopped liver.

  10. southernbelle

    Jane: I know exactly how you feel. It’s only been a few days, and you are like, “OMG how am I gonna get through this?” I know. But I think things will get better. Usually, time flies up until Christmas. But after that, then it drags….I’m just so bored….there is nothing on tv….oh, it’s just not the same…..

  11. devilabrit

    I’m not a huge movie fan although some do get my attention, but mostly I wait for the DVD…the awards for the movies however does amaze me, that so many over paid people can give each other awards and then whine when they dont get one….
    Outside the Phillies Looking In

  12. Jane Heller

    Glad to see I’m not the only Viggo fan here, Virginia. I know the time will go fast until February. It will. Tomorrow starts the GM Meetings and then the Winter Meetings are in December, and then come Christmas and New Years. It will be no time until pitchers and catchers report and we start all over again. Don’t I sound cheerful?

    I like good storytelling, Peter, whether it comes in a movie, a book or on a baseball diamond. They’re all good for me.


    Im not a Viggo fan, looks-wise. Right now the only actor that I find attractive is Hugh Jackman. Now he’s hot! Mel Gibson used to be my favorite but he got too weird.

    Not this coming Tuesday but the following Tuesday we have tickets to see “Bye Bye Birdie” on Broadway. We’re going with friends whose daughter is in a theatre group with their church and one of the boys in the group that’s really talented is in the show. He’s part of the chorus for every performance but he’s also the first understudy for Hugo and we’re going back stage afterwards. Should be fun. If I get to meet John Stamos do you have any message for him. Jane? I thought he might be a good actor to play the male lead in “An Ex to Grind”. Shall I open the discussion? LOL.

  14. Jane Heller

    Mel Gibson used to be a fave of mine too, Diane, but no more. The last movie I liked him in was “What Women Want.” Speaking of that one, it was directed by Nancy Myers, who also did “Something’s Gotta Give” with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson, one of my total favorites. Her latest was partially shot in Santa Barbara and stars Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin and comes out Christmas Day. Cannot wait for that, so I hope our screening group gets it sooner. So you’re off to Broadway the week after next? Very exciting that you’ll be going back stage. I don’t have any message for John Stamos, since the producers who are working on “An Ex to Grind” have Benecio Del Toro in mind for the lead, although you can tell him I have many other great parts for cute guys like him!


    Agree with your movie taste…of recent movies, I have to say my #1 is “Love Actually” — I think “Gone With The Wind” is stil my all time favorite movie. You had mentioned Del Toro before – you and the producers know best what your target audience will want. I truly can’t wait until your movie is ready for release. In the meantime, I need some more novels to read so get on it. 😉


    Yankees, Mel Gibson ’til he got weird, Viggo. We all have quite a bit in common!

    I have to say I did not go see Lord of the Rings in a theater because I thought Elijah Wood was a terrible choice for Frodo and I didn’t think Viggo looked like he could pull off one of my main crushes since 8th grade, Strider. But he did a great job and I loved him as that character! (Not so much with Elijah!).

    Maybe at some point this winter, we could have a baseball film festival where we all watch the same movie one night and then talk about it the next day.



    Comments on the radio and other blogs about the idea of trading Cano. I think it’s a terrible idea. His fielding came along this year and I think he will be one of the great all time hitters by the time he is done. He began hitting with runners on a little – I just think he needs time to mature. I think in the long run, he’ll be a very valuable bat to have in the line up.


  18. Jane Heller

    Diane, I adored “Love Actually” and “Gone with the Wind” is one of my all-time faves too! I never get tired of watching it and always find new things I missed the last time. As for more novels, I’m working, I’m working! When I’m not on this blog, I’m sitting here trying to move my characters along. I’m about 100 pages into a new novel.

    Melissa, I LOVE your idea of a baseball film fest! Genius! We’ll pick a movie and everybody has to watch it and then we’ll discuss. Let’s come up with a list. As for Cano, people are nuts! He had a great regular season, both offensively and defensively. Did his bat desert him in the playoffs? Pretty much. Has he had trouble hitting with runners in scoring position? For sure. But he’s still a kid. He’ll only get better. I wouldn’t trade him for anything.


    Bull Durham, Field of Dreams,League of their of Own to name a few baseball movies. Thelma and Louise – she-fan type! There are a couple of road trip movies that came out in the last few months that I want to see and I’m hoping they are on DVD, one with Michele Williams and the other with Renee Zellweger but I don’t know the names. Can anyone help me out?

  20. Jane Heller

    All great baseball movies, Laurie! And I’m always up for Thelma and Louise. We need to set a date for movie night – sometime between the GM meetings and the winter meetings – and do it. The road trip film with Michelle Williams is “Wendy and Lucy,” and it’s supposed to be good, although not a lot happens. The Zellweger one is “My One and Only,” and it was a true dud at the box office. See at your own risk. LOL.

  21. theheirloom

    Ah, Jane, thanks for another reminder to see “Precious” sometime soon! On his Sirius/XM radio show on Friday, Jamie Foxx was urging everyone to see it – and highlighted Mo’nique’s performance as the mother. He said that it was her best performance ever – and asked everyone to forget the comedian that she is and watch her for the role she is in this film.

    You gave me some inspiration, Jane – we baseball fans not only have some things going on in the off-season, we have the license to share them on these blogs. At least Mark is giving us the leverage to do so.

    Well – time to think of something…

  22. Jane Heller

    Mo’ Nique is amazing, Randy. I didn’t even know she had a talk show until I read the piece about the movie in the NYT Magazine. She’s scary good. And as for writing about movies, it’s your blog! You can talk about whatever you want! Go for it!

  23. mlbmark

    Great blogging as always, Jane. Hey, I want to ask you and your audience who are members of the MLBlogs community to please leave a comment at with any wish-list items you would like to see in terms of our MLBlogs functionality both in the software and on the blog pages. Reloading the big guns for 2010 blogging and beyond and want to make sure we have all of our existing MLBloggers’ wishes represented, everything considered and could be any platform (currently Movable Type). Nothing would be lost if we make transfers but right now just need to get the wishlist out there…and fast. Have about two-dozen musts already, from video uploading to speed to easier photo usage and so forth. Would need this tonight or first half of day tomorrow. Can you please spread the word and thanks everyone who helped make this the best and biggest baseball blogging community in traffic and volume of blogs. – Mark/MLB

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