I have a new favorite road trip game/bar conversation/internet time-waster: if baseball players were movies, what movie or genre would they be?
This came about because of Manny Ramirez. I was talking to a friend and one of us asked, if Manny Ramirez were a movie, what kind of movie would he be? Tragedy? Comedy? Something with a lot of explosions? We actually never did come to a satisfying conclusion about Manny, but then, he’s an unusually difficult case. Maybe something from M. Night Shyamalan post-Sixth Sense—a lot of thrills, suspense, and manipulation… and then such a silly ending.
Other players are easier, and though of course there is no one right answer (except as regards to Luis Castillo; I will defend that pick to the death), if you're at all like me that won't stop you from debating the subject at great length.
Nick Swisher is, I’m thinking, an Old School-type Will Ferrell bro-comedy. Not exactly groundbreaking or mature, but goofy fun and well-intentioned enough that you enjoy it anyway. Also, inexplicably hot women cast as the romantic interests.
Tim Lincecum: I resisted the pot jokes here because, first off, it’s too easy. But also there’s a lot more to Tim Lincecum than long hair, a laid-back demeanor and a pot bust. I’m thinking he’s more of a Christopher Guest mockumentary—fun, often subtle, a pleasure to watch, and well outside the mold of usual Hollywood fare, but still successful.
Kyle Farnsworth: Hostel-type torture-porn. Protesting Rays fans, save it—you’re still in the movie’s early minutes.
Barry Zito: Ishtar. Not Waterworld, you say? No, because Waterworlda) was a complete and utter mess of a movie, and b) actually made most of its money back when all was said and done—international box office, DVD sales, and so on. Whereas Ishtaris actually kind of promising in places, and isn’t as much of a critical disaster as you may have heard… but was indeed an enormous financial sinkhole.
Derek Jeter: Genuinely good yet overrated Oscar-bait. Shakespeare in Love, The Departed, Slumdog Millionaire, Return of the King—all of those are very good movies, but the best of the whole year? Probably not. You can’t really blame everyone for loving them, but the level of praise may eventually drive you crazy.
Alex Rodriguez: A Michael Bay-style blockbuster and its sequels. Big stars, lots of explosions, and it makes a ton of money, and yet no one wants to defend it too vociferously. Terrible reviews do nothing to keep it from being number one at the box office. It’s not winning any awards (except maybe something like Best Sound Editing), but if you’re a studio head, it's just what you want.
Ryan Braun: Frozen River. I heard this was really good, but I never saw it.
Aubrey Huff, the right fielder: Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. It’s time to pull the plug.
Roger Clemens: Titanic. Once a huge critical and commercial success, it wowed everyone at the time, but people eventually got over the cinematography and special effects and realized how silly and annoying the script is. Also… well, you know.
Randy Johnson: I Spit On Your Grave. Well-made and influential, mean and ugly.
Luis Castillo: Troll 2. Not just a bad movie, but incredibly ill-conceived.
What am I leaving out?