October 5, 2010

Review: Four Days In October

Kristen Cornette (aka RedSoxDiehard) was at a special screening of Four Days In October at Fenway Park on Sunday. The one-hour film details the Red Sox's unprecedented comeback in the 2004 ALCS (October 17-20, 2004) and airs tonight on ESPN. (Get the various air dates/times and see three trailers here.) Her review:
Watching "Four Days in October" is like finding the special edition version of your favorite movie. You've watched it countless times, memorized the lines to the point where you can recite them along with the movie, and talk about the characters as if they're not only real but are your close personal friends. And now here it is on DVD, still containing everything you know and love about the movie, but with brand new deleted scenes to discover and commentary from the actors to fill in the back story.

That's how I felt as I watched the latest installment in ESPN's "30 for 30" series. Every winter for the past five years I've rewatched the final four games of the 2004 ALCS. There's not much trivia about those games that you can get past me; the scores, the pitchers, and the play-by-play are all easily recalled. But this day-by-day account of the Red Sox' historic comeback brought a new perspective to the story I know so well, by weaving together just enough game footage to tell the full story, clubhouse antics filmed by the players themselves, and interviews with the games' participants that made me fall in love with them all over again.

We see David Ortiz dance in the clubhouse after Game 5, shouting, "I'm the (bleeping) curse!" We see Terry Francona shoo Mike Timlin and his camcorder out of his office, telling him, "You're going to be in the bullpen tonight, seventh inning." ("Aw," replies Timlin, "I thought I'd be starting Game 7.") We hear Curt Schilling take over the intercom on the team plane and announce, "Why not us?" And we see Kevin Millar tell Dan Shaughnessy that anything can happen in a seventh game, adding, "We could even have you out there in Game 7."

The only parts of the film that seem out of place are the scenes with Bill Simmons and Lenny Clarke. Clarke is over-the-top as usual, but I find him to be tolerable in small doses, and this movie doesn't cross that threshold. Their scenes are set in a bar, and the pair reminisce with the same "Hey, remember that play?" feel as I would have discussing the game with my co-workers. Still, the player interviews are so humorous and insightful in their own right that they could have easily replaced the Simmons and Clarke spots.

"Four Days in October" is more than just the story of the greatest comeback in the history of sports. For Red Sox fans, it's an entertaining and funny trip down memory lane, and it premieres at the end of a disappointing 2010 campaign when we could really use an emotional boost. It will certainly become part of my annual off-season viewing routine.
Times:
October   5  ESPN           8 PM
ESPN2 11 PM
October 7 ESPN Classic 11 PM
October 11 ESPN2 7 PM
November 7 ESPN Classic 9 PM
November 18 ESPN Classic 11 PM

38 comments:

L-girl said...

Too bad you couldn't use the invitation, but I'm glad someone from the JoS community was able to go and report back. Thanks, Kristen! I can't wait to see it... eventually.

RedSoxDiehard said...

Thanks again for the invitation, Allan. Did I mention that Curt Schilling showed up for the screening? My favorite statement of his was that his motivation for Game 6 was that winning that game and the series was the only way to give an eternal middle finger to New York.

There's also a bit where Simmons and Clarke mock people who think the bloody sock was painted on. Now who broke that story? ;-)

Mrs.GotRibe said...

Great review. Thanks Kristen.

It's gonna be awesome.

redsock said...

Another review noted that there is NO NARRATION in this thing. Which is great!!! Just the players and announcers talking at the time. Plus a few later interview sessions with some players (Mirror, Arroyo).

Did Schilling take questions? Or just make a statement?

"an eternal middle finger"

!

Now who broke that story? ;-)

Not me! There were NY reporters shortly after the WS writing of such rumours. Newsday, maybe? Or the Baltimore Sun? I would have to check the archives. Now, as to who broke the story of what a lying shithead a-hole Gary Thorne is...

redsock said...

The shots of Schilling's ankle are from Millar's camcorder, right? Arroyo says he was one of the first guys to see the ankle after surgery: "I thought it was semi-barbaric".

Mrs.GotRibe said...

My son dressed up as Schilling for Halloween that year. He had a Schilling jersey and painted his sock with red magic marker. I think we came upon that sock as we were cleaning things out this summer.

Gambrinus said...

Interesting to note that Bill Simmons mentioned on his podcast how much he hated the segments he was in, and wanted to cut them out entirely.

RedSoxDiehard said...

The MLB Productions Executive Producer, MLBP Director, the ESPN Films Director, and and Curt took questions. But they all started with, "This one's for Mr. Schilling..."

Someone asked how he felt watching it now. He said he was remembering being there, and mentioned specifically how he had had a 15-minute heart-to-heart with D-Lowe after it was announced he wasn't in the playoff rotation, telling him that he'd make a big contribution before it was over. He recalled how proud he was watching him pitch Game 7, almost like a father.

He also said they should have asked Doug Mirabelli for his video because he had some great stuff.

blogtard said...

Can't wait to see this...

Ish said...

That was so cool. Probably the best 2004 video I've seen. It's available on amazon.com, it said after it aired.

redsock said...

OMG - I saw it streamed on a 4-inch square on my monitor thanks to atdhe.net.

I have tears down both cheeks -- I ain't wiping them off.

Just fuckin amazing.... everything.

Did that really happen? Or did we just have the same collective (edited) dream again?!!!!!!!

No baseball fans on earth have felt what we felt. Diehard Cubs fans will feel it one day, but that is it.

"Each game is a 50-act play."

Man, if only we had game threads back then.

redsock said...

Wheaties!!!

Ish said...

Pre-order. Damn.

Mrs.GotRibe said...

I am speechless. That was amazing.

Ish said...

I'm happy enough that we had game threads in 2007!

This would have been "Three Days in October" if it wasn't for 2004...

The 2007 ALCS was amazing in and of itself - coming back in dominant fashion after being down 3 games to 1, but it will forever live in the shadows of 2004, and THAT'S OKAY!

Ish said...

Amazingly enough, it didn't occur to me until I read it on here AFTER watching, that there was no narrator.

redsock said...

I may need to see if I can also get the 11 PM showing .

Philip said...

Just...wow. Only complaint was that the Simmons sections really broke the flow. But all in all...tears in my eyes and chills up my spine.

redsock said...

Simmons/Clarke took less air time than I feared, but they should absolutely have been cut. Just a dumb idea all around.

The biggest reason it does not work: They are talking in 2010 while the ENTIRE REST OF THE FILM is in October 2004.

The only way their inclusion would be proper would be if it were interviews IN REAL TIME, before or after each actual game. Hearing them recall emotions from 6 years ago ... worthless.

9casey said...

Anything with with 2004 always give me chills like I have a 104 fever.......alot of the same footage is also in Ken Burns Doc the tenth inning..

"I hope it snows tonight"

9casey said...

And who was the the other guy in studio, with Caron and Remy , not Eck the first guy aho also at the stadium with Caron

Lord Lynch said...

I suppose we'll see this here in, I don't know, five years time!

I really must dig out those DVDs!

BTW - I see John Henry and the gang are trying to buy Liverpool FC over here. Pretty sure this isn't great news for the Sox because they need a major overhaul and money to make them strong again.

Benjamin said...

Pretty sure this isn't great news for the Sox because they need a major overhaul and money to make them strong again.

Pretty sure John Henry has a shit-ton of money irrespective of his Red Sox holdings.

Mrs.GotRibe said...

I just bought it on iTunes!!!!!

BTW, I'm watching the Halladay no hitter; just beginning the 9th.

Ish said...

Just stopping in to say...

PASSEDBALLA!!!!

And how about Roy Halladay, eh? I can't believe I watched a postseason no-hitter. He made it look so easy!

tim said...

I NEED to see this, MGT - lemme know the itunes link! I tried searching for it on itunes, but to no avail...

redsock said...

PASSEDBALLA!!!!

I was doing other stuff and turned on the TV and the FIRST PITCH I saw got away from Dumbo and a run scored to make it 3-0 Twins!!!!!!!!

tim said...

btw, great review, RSD/kristen.

i am assuming that allan got an invite to it and passed it along. cool that you got an invite!

Mrs.GotRibe said...

Tim,

Search 30 for 30. That takes you to the TV show. Four Days in October is at the bottom of the list, #18. I searched for it last night and it wasn't up yet. But it's there now.

L-girl said...

i am assuming that allan got an invite to it and passed it along. cool that you got an invite!

He had to ask them if it was ok to pass along - it was really meant for him to write about it. But they said as long as it was on JoS it was ok. Yes, cool!

* * * *

I was able to watch it last night (Allan watched it again with me). It's incredible to relive that crazy week, and of course I loved it - was crying, the whole bit. :)

But I felt the show was really marred by the Simmons/Clarke segments. I disliked every single instance of that. I understood what they were trying to do, the ordinary fan's perspective, but those guys are not ordinary fans, and it didn't work for me at all - really got in the way.

L-girl said...

BTW - I see John Henry and the gang are trying to buy Liverpool FC over here. Pretty sure this isn't great news for the Sox because they need a major overhaul and money to make them strong again.

Obviously there's profit in it or Henry et al wouldn't be doing it. As Benjamin suggests, I'm sure this will have no effect on what the Sox are willing or able to acquire. There's no shortage of money - it's making the right deals, and hoping those deals work out on the field.

The Omnipotent Q said...

I was proud to be a part of "Four Days In October", as they used footage of me and my pals at the Riviera not used in the 2004 World Series Film. We popped up during Games 6 and 7. And I too, had tears after it was over, Allan. Four of the greatest days of my life, and nothing can EVER take that away.

Lord Lynch said...

Benjamin / Laura

You can look at it two ways - if he runs it to make a profit, he has no chance of being a success. Most top Premiership clubs - those up the top - pay out a lot more than they get in. One club just announced a £120m loss - the club is funded by an Abu Dhabi prince. Others are funded by billionaires.

If you want to know what can happen to an American sports franchise when their American owners get involved in the Premiership, look at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Lost their coach, pay the least in wages, no prospect of any imminent success. That's why I have concerns.

The Premiership is a money pit (and it doesn't help that I really despise the club they are buying) and I hope he steers well clear!

L-girl said...

Well, you will always have concerns. You worry.

I trust John Henry to be able to finance the Red Sox. I couldn't care less what else he does or how he does it.

L-girl said...

Most top Premiership clubs - those up the top - pay out a lot more than they get in. One club just announced a £120m loss

Is there any public accountability of this? Because if there's not, I wouldn't believe a word of it.

Mrs.GotRibe said...

I just watched it again. I should keep track of how many times I watch this thing. Chills, chills, chills.

Lord Lynch said...

Laura,

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/city-invest-hope-in-rising-income-after-publication-of-163121m-losses-2095320.html

and as if on cue...

http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/manchester-united-post-losses-of-836m-2101439.html

And no, there is no public accountability. Football in this country is mad, truly mad. Man Utd are the biggest club by history and reputation and are used as a debt vehicle by the Glazers. Chelsea are owned by a Russian oil billionaire. Arsenal are in an ownership battle, trying to keep an Uzbek from buying them up, while I think the owners of the Avalanche are also interested. Man City has been bought by an Arab prince with bottomless pockets. Even my little club is owned by a part-owner of the Philadelphia Eagles and a self-confessed Red Sox fan.

No financial propriety at all. Madness. Imagine the Yankees on steroids...the organisation, not the players as that doesn't take too much imagination at all!

One reason I love North American sport so much is that you mitigate this perversion. You believe that the competition of sport is what matters. Not here.

L-girl said...

Lord, I have no doubt the teams claim they have losses. I just seriously doubt that they actually have them. As you said, there is no accountability.

My point is merely that I don't think we have to worry about John Henry not having adequate funds to build up the Red Sox. I do not think it is possible that he will sink his fortune into premiereship football to the detriment of the team that has brought him so much of that fortune, and fame, and recognition, and presumably, happiness.