Rays’ Manager Joe Maddon to Join Fabled Group of Horn Rimmed Directors with First Film
Joe the Director. Joe Maddon, like his muses Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese and Spike Lee...throws on his horn rims and gets down to the business of movie making -- albeit incredibly depressing movie making.
HAZLETON, PA (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) Joe Maddon’s improbable run to baseball immortality may be on the brink of dying a fiery, cinematic death as his Tampa Bay Rays face elimination in the 2008 World Series at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies.
But Maddon is taking it all stride and tucking away the course of events in a special corner of his mind – a corner that will serve him well as he puts the finishing touches on his debut film, From Hazleton to Hell and Back.
“I’m excited,” said Maddon, “I think I’ve got a terrific story here.”
Maddon, an avid film buff, hails from the small Northeastern Pennsylvania town of Hazleton, in the heart of coal country.
“I’m a devotee of the horn rimmed brigade,” said the bespectacled Maddon, “I love Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Spike Lee, hence my signature look. To be welcomed into a fraternity with such legendary filmmakers is huge for me. To be completely honest, I was just biding my time managing a team to the World Series until this worked out.”
“Maddon’s got some director chops,” said Spike Lee. “The opening tracking shot is a real bitch. I’d have done a few things differently of course, but all in all, not a bad job for a first timer.”
Woody Allen was also impressed with Maddon’s technical skill.
“Granted, the script is working class, bourgeois tripe filled with unconvincing dialogue and an overt fascination with coal, but the crane shot of the overburdened miner seducing two low rent waitresses is cinematic magic,” said Allen.
Maddon, who describes his tale as one of unflinching hopelessness and utter depression, shot the entire film in Hazleton using mostly local townspeople and only two professional actors.
Strangely absent from the film is any obvious reference to baseball.
“I wasn’t interested in telling a baseball story,” offered Maddon. “But there are hints everywhere of my appreciation for the game – like when the drunken coal miner comes home, and his wife thwarts his sexual advances by beating him mercilessly with a bat. And when the self-serving coal baron decides to pave over the only baseball field in the city.”
But Maddon isn’t concerned that the static dialogue, stagey acting, overlong one camera shots, plodding musical score and indecipherable plot will hamper the film at the box office.
“I manage the Tampa Bay Rays,” he said, a copy of Albert Camus’ The Plague at his side. “Poor ticket sales is my thing.”
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