Last night we went to the premiere of Blutopia amid high hopes for an entertaining evening. The production company put on a nice gala at the Pacific Design Center with Dodger players Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Clayton Kershaw in attendance. As we learned later after watching the movie many of the people at the premiere were fans who were highlighted in the movie. Quite an eclectic group of fans, they were interesting but were they interesting enough to carry a movie?
The beginning comments were about why they had chosen to make the Dodgers the theme of this movie. The 50th anniversary was mentioned, maybe for the last time as I saw little evidence of the 50th anniversary in the movie. He then introduced Tim Marx as the man credited with making this movie, Tim then thanked many people in the Dodger organization for unprecedented access to the team during the season. He credited his editor for taking hundreds of hours of film and turning it into the film we were about to see.
I'm not a reviewer but I know what I like and don't like. Bluetopia has some very good moments but in the end all I could think was if this was what they gave us what was left on the cutting room floor? Part of the problem from my vantage point was that the stars of the movie were the kids from True Blue Tattoo and assorted other fans, a great group of Dodger fans but whose stories just are just not compelling enough to make me want to watch this movie again.
Tim Marx had decided that with all the Dodger history and access that he would make this movie about the fans and he focused on about five particular groups of fans. All of them are great fans but as a Dodger fan myself if I'm going have unprecedented access to the team I'm going to make a movie that focuses on the players more then the fans. Does anyone really care about the Beatles fans or the Beatles themselves? Tim felt we would care more about the fans then the team? Maybe he's right and maybe this film will resonate with Dodger fans but it did little for this fan.
1. Any scene with Vinny in it. His baritone just vibrates across the screen, his age reflected in his face as he gave snippets of information about his history with the team..
2. Best part of the movie was the interaction of the players with the fans during the post game pennant clinching celebrations.
3. Joe Beimel is a character. Somone who might have been worth a deeper look. After watching the movie I missed Beimel not being on the team this year.
4. Matt Kemp seems to really enjoy being around the fans and watching him interact with the crowd at the premiere just confirmed it.
5. Clayton Kershaw's debut and parking lot photo's with his family. Opie he is.
6. Long time fan reading the memories his son wrote about his grandfather that was published in the Dodger magazine. Very touching.
7. The fan from 94(teen ager) catching a batting practice homerun and his priceless response
1. From watching the movie you get the feeling that 2008 was a golden year for the relationship between the Dodgers and the fans. No mention of the parking hike to 15.00. No mention of security problems at the games. No mention of the fans who didn't renew their long time season tickets because they can no longer afford the hikes of the McCourts. If you ever wanted a pollyana view of the team and their fans this was it. An interview with Dodgers Blues might have been a nice counter weight.
2. If you have 100's of hours of tape and you end up showing fans cheering at home then maybe you don't have much on those 100's of hours of tape. We know what fans do, they live and die with their teams no matter who the team is. Nothing earth shattering there.
3. They didn't seem to really capture the Mannywood atmosphere though they tried.
4. In the end I knew a lot more about some fans and very little about the players I follow. The best comment of the night from a Dodger was Martin telling Manny that now that he's on the team they might get seen on SportsCenter. That was interesting.
I wish Eric Stephen had been able to make the premiere so he could offer his opinion. He might have loved it, I may not be the best person to do this review for you. This was Jon Weisman's take and as I expected was much more positive then mine. For me I can't really recommend buying this movie for your Dodger DVD collection. Jon Weisman appeared briefly in the movie as they attempted to capture the magic of his meeting Vin Scully for the first time. I haven't finished reading his book 100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die but if you want to add something to your Dodger collection or get a present for the Dodger person in your life this is what you should be spending your money on.
After further thought I think I would have enjoyed this movie much more if I hadn't heard the preamble by Tim Marx. He may have set my expecations to high with the knowledge he had spent all summer with the team and when precious little was revealed about the players I was let down. If I had just walked into a movie theatre and watched this movie without any prior knowledge I probably would have enjoyed it more. I wouldn't have expected them to probe why Martin felt shortchanged by ESPN. How did Manny feel about the pressure to cut his hair? Did the players miss Andy LaRoche when he was traded? Why did Martin and Kemp want to share the post game celebration with the fans? Most of this movie could have been made without any Dodger access at all.