No review for this. Not a proper one, anyway. Having not fulfilled my writing obligation last month and being in danger of not fulfilling it this month, I recently ordered a set of vintage World Series films from Netflix. Regular readers know I never, ever half-wit my work. If I'm not able to read something fully, I don't review it. That's actually part of the reason why my posts are coming up with less frequency. I don't have the time I would like to finish everything I read. Lately I've been a little occupied with Marty Appel's recent book Pinstripe Empire, a complete chronology of the New York Yankees.
Anyway. The set of vintage World Series films I ordered revolved around the Cincinnati Reds and their three most recent titles: 1975, 1976, and 1990. And you know what? I didn't get anything out of them.
It was a set of three different very short documentaries about the three respective World Series I mentioned in the last paragraph. The two I really wanted to see were the 1975 and 1976 docs, because the first one was about the legendary 1975 World Series between the Reds and Boston Red Sox, and the 1976 doc followed the Series between the Reds and my Yankees. The first one was probably about halfway over when I realized that narrator Joe Garagiola wasn't going to tell me anything I didn't already know. Still, the Reds/Red Sox doc was good to see because it finally placed an image on this classic World Series which occurred six years before I was born.
Since the Reds/Yankees World Series the following year was a sweep, it wasn't very long. Again, I appreciated the face to go with the name, even though my favorite team was badly overmatched and in over their heads for the whole thing. Both of those films had the graininess of the old 70's TV specials, and I got the impression they were made for fans to take trips down memory lane. There was no inside information or inside-the-game viewpoints. Pleasant reminders for those who were there, but if you're like me and fanatical about tracking down the stories behind the stories, both of them are totally empty.
The doc about the 1990 World Series is more the kind of doc I've come to expect. The players, families, and people behind the scenes were interviewed, and the sport and event were humanized. The details were presented, but it felt like this time, it was trying too hard to make up for the last two. With painstaking detail, it tried to give us everything, but a half hour after I turned it on, it wasn't going anywhere. I got bored and shut it off.
I also had a problem with the apparent one-sidedness of the third. The Red Sox and Yankees Series docs were very even-handed. The third seemed to be concentrated way too heavily on the Reds, despite the introduction of how their opponents, the Oakland Athletics, got there.
The amateurish production values probably got in the way. In the first two, it wasn't a problem, because all those docs wanted to do was give us what happened in the Series. In the third, it was quite a distraction, and the choice of music sounded like it reeks of the synthesized hubris of its era.
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