You know what I've been thinking about every time I listen to some more "steroids in baseball" rhetoric? I think, wouldn’t it be sweet if those juiced up, physical freaks just busted into song right after launching a 500 foot moon shot over the left field fence. Looks like I’ll get my wish on the big screen. MTV has it that Todd Graff (Bandslam) plans to have steroids as the “main character” in his remake of Damn Yankees, starring Jim Carrey and Jake Gyllenhaal. Carrey will play the devil who buys Gyllenhall’s soul in exchange for crazy baseball, homerun hitting talent. Just based on the following quotes by Graff, I am more than a little skeptical his goal to make this project current. Let’s explore:
On the issue of steroids:
So [steroids] is not even a side character for us; it's our main character...
You know what baseball fans aren’t sick of hearing about at all? Steroids. I feel like I have just gotten the tip of the iceberg on this subject. I mean it’s not like the media didn’t pound Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, et al to death with this already. Furthermore, what will they have to do Gyllenhall to make him look like he’s on steroids? Stuff him full of pillows?
On the issue of his expertise:
Listen, there may be writer/directors out there who know more about musicals ... there may be writer/directors out there who know more about baseball, but I guarantee you, there is no writer/director out there that knows more about musicals and more about baseball...
I can’t tell if this is an admission of guilt, some sort of weird brag, or just an unfortunate thing to mention. Whatever it is, it sounds ridiculous. Additionally, I get more than a little concerned when someone feels the need to tell me about their level of interest/expertise on a subject. Fans like this are usually clueless (just listen to sports talk radio if you don’t believe me).
On the issue of what team to use in the movie:
The original was about the Washington Senators, who obviously don't exist anymore...Now, the most obvious candidate is the Cubs.
If he had substituted the word “obvious” for “crazily cliché” then I’d think we’d be in business. Unfortunately, Henry Rowengartner already helped the Cubs win the World Series with his wonder arm. The boys from the north side don’t need any more help.
And finally, the coup-de-grace. On the issue of, well I’m not sure what:
It is going to be set now, and my whole pitch was that it should feel like 'Jerry Maguire' with songs...
Now we are getting into some serious “uh-oh” territory. Is this the odd equivalent of saying, “It’s going to feel just likeGone Baby Gone, with robots.” I know Graff is remaking a classic and going for the “Hey it’ll be just like a real sports movie” angle. But who is he kidding here? It’s going to be a musical about steroids in baseball. The players will be singing. How will that, in any way, seem at all realistic? The singing stands a major chance of undermining any sense of realism. This isn’t the 1950’s. If the whole movie is a goof, I get that. Unfortunately, through his interview, I don’t get the sense Graff has this in mind. Maybe Graff can work miracles in this respect, but he’d probably have to sell his soul to the devil.