moneyball-march

The Ides of March and Moneyball are two relatively recent films in which Philip Seymour Hoffman did not star, but rather provided crucial, essential and, as always, very strong supporting performances.

The Ides of March is a film that George Clooney not only stars in but that he also co-wrote and directed. And, really, he’s not the star here. Like Hoffman, Clooney is just a supporting player here. At the heart of The Ides of March is the Ryan Gosling character, Stephen Meyers. Stephen is the crux of this story. He is the pivot which all of the other action and characters revolve around. Stephen is a deputy campaign manager for a presidential candidate (Clooney) who at first seems untouchable. But soon, skeletons appear peeking out of the closets. Stephen finds himself caught in the middle of a potential scandal that could bring down both the campaign and his own career. Philip Seymour Hoffman plays the candidate’s senior campaign manager. His time on screen is limited, but as always with Hoffman, his performance is larger than life and full of passion and vigor.

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I have to confess that I really thought this movie was too hokey when I first saw it in the theaters. I was a HUGE Kevin Costner fan at the time and so it was essential I see it. I was 14 at the time and I thought this film was OK, but nothing special and WAY too silly for me. So, I’m not sure if it is age or life experience or what, but seeing it again after all of this time…almost 20 years later…lent a different perspective to this film that I definitely did not have as a teenager. It’s a movie about second chances. About regrets. About living in the NOW. About not letting things fly by you without notice…because one day when you feel like it’s time to finally take notice, it’s way too late. Sure, the “hoke” factor is still there, but it’s not what the movie is about. The fantasy element is just to get to the main point of the film…which I feel is to live life like everyday is your last. And to ENJOY life and try not to alienate too many people along the way because you never know when they might turn up in your yard and want to play catch.

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A minor league veteran (Kevin Costner) trains an undisciplined, cocky pitcher (Tim Robbins) whose goal is to get to “the show” (the major leagues). Susan Sarandon as the team’s groupie convincingly plays a women who feels she must train one player per season in ways that have little to do with their performance on the field. This film features great comic dialogue about baseball and relationships between men and woman, as well as star-making performances for Costner, Robbins, and director Ron Shelton. Her role as Annie also put Sarandon back on the map as a sexy leading lady.

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