originally uploaded by Ben Saren
By now, the ESPN 30 for 30 preview for the upcoming film Four Days In October has made the rounds, and then some. Everyone who's ever watched the Red Sox has probably watched it by now. Me, I can't stop watching it.
I have already seen it approximately 5,353 times, and I am not done yet. I want this thing out on DVD the day after it's first aired, and I want that DVD in my possession on the same day, and then I will watch it approx.10,562 more times.
I'm most intrigued at the fact that there seems to be new footage in this that I know I haven't seen. I'm pretty sure I own every commercially available DVD relating to the 2004 ALCS and World Series, including the box set of all the games. I still have the VHS tapes I used to record NESN at that time, and have most of the images / lines / film sequences from that year completely memorized.
But just in the preview for this movie, there's Millar videotaping what Schilling's ankle looked like before Game 6, Pokey Reese talking to the camera, Big Papi dancing in the clubhouse with his pants half on and a big grin on his face. That alone is enough to get me to watch the trailer repeatedly, until I have those moments memorized, too.
And oh, the look on that Sox fan's face in the red knitted hat at Yankee stadium during Game 7. Priceless. Inimitable. Same goes for the Yankees fan looking horrified at the end.
Despite the many, many times I've replayed it, the trailer has yet to stop giving me goosebumps every time I see it. It usually happens at the pan-over shot of the Chrysler building spliced with Kevin Millar talking about shocking the world. I think it's at least partially the soundtrack they set it to, and also partially because I am an absolute sucker for sports montages set to music, but it's mostly a testament to the quality of the trailer itself.
We won't know for another two interminable weeks whether the whole product is as compelling as the preview. But the tone, pace and production values of this one have me optimistic. The way they cut together the newscast footage of the guy saying "just as I'm out, they suck me back in again..." and then get back to the ALCS-- it's the kind of splice you've seen in every "in a world..." trailer for every dramatic movie ever made. And honestly, I've been wondering when someone was going to give these games the Hollywood treatment they so obviously and richly deserve.
Basically, I'm hoping it'll just be the world's least-annoying, most accurate baseball movie: as plot- and character-driven and high in production values as anything scripted could be, but no fake stupid team names and mascots to avoid 'trademark issues', no actors pretending to be ballplayers and getting things wrong, and no random studio extras (or carpetbagging former SNL'ers) trying to recreate what Sox fans were feeling and doing at the time.
Because you can't. Hell, I was right in the middle of it, and all these DVD-rewatchings later, I still sometimes ask myself, "how did we all even survive those nights??" The tension and anxiety of it was at a point where if you weren't personally there, feeling those emotions about this story literally a hundred years in the making, you probably don't understand. Even if you did, there's no actor on the planet that could possibly do a better or more compelling job embodying what's written all over those real faces in the stands from the original footage.
Nobody could've gotten away with this as a fictional story, either, and no screenwriter could perfect the actual sequence of events. What I've been telling people for years about the 2004 playoffs is that it's not just that my team won, or that they avenged 2003 -- it's quite simply one of the best stories, of any kind, that I've ever witnessed or heard. It may never be replicated. And I may never get tired of its retelling.
I mean, can you imagine if someone had shown that trailer to you in 2003? You wouldn't have believed it was real. Even all these years later, there are times I still can't believe it.