An Ex-Cursed Team That's Not the Angels

No writer could ever top the high drama witnessed in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series—which may be the point of this sloppy but endearing mash note to baseball, art and fate. Playwright Nicky Rogan (Michael Keaton) has the misfortune of having his newest Broadway show open on the same night that his beloved Red Sox try to finish off the Mets. Novelist-turned-screenwriter Don DeLillo then piles on more conflict for his lead character—Rogan's wife (Catherine O'Hara) hands him divorce papers, the lead actor in his play (stage veteran Harris Yulin, in an expert turn) forgets his lines, and, yes, a gun-carrying drama critic (Robert Downey Jr.) takes his seat right behind the playwright's daughter (Ari Graynor). Downey is inspired as the critic (who merits favorable comparisons to the screen's great poison pen, George Sanders' Addison DeWitt from All About Eve), but it's not theater—or filmmaking for that matter—that makes Game 6 interesting. Instead, it's Keaton's monologues about baseball—a fixation of DeLillo's since his first novel—and Boston's (now broken) curse that work the movie's modest magic. Don't expect grace on the level of the author's Pafko at the Wall, or even Vin Scully's classic NBC play-by-play (which director Michael Hoffman nicely weaves into the action), but for viewers counting the minutes until opening day, Game 6 provides a quirky cinematic alternative to Benchwarmers. (Edwards University, Irvine)

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