Throughout the loud, messy, harrowing and ultimately uplifting blur that was the 2004 postseason, Jimmy Fallon was the turd in the poundcake. At every turn, every critical juncture, there he was, hijacking microphones, mugging for the cameras with Mr. Roper-esque fervor, and transforming our good time into a promotional junket for Fever Pitch, his upcoming movie with Drew Barrymore about a guy’s obsessive love for the Red Sox and the havoc it wreaks on his relationships.
And, yes, you read correctly. I used the phrase “Mr. Roper-esque.”
Anyway, far worse than Fallon’s shenanigans was the sense that our proudest moment was being manipulated by the powers that be at Fox, whose sister company, Twentieth Century Fox, is releasing Fever Pitch. During the mushroom cloud of bliss when ball met Minky’s glove, cameras kept flitting to Fallon and Barrymore, in full liplock, as they reshot a scene for the film amidst the Red Sox pigpile. “Whatever,” I remember thinking at the time. “Go ahead and make your film and when you come back in six months to try to sell it to me, I ain’t buyin’.”
But now that I’ve seen the trailer, I have to admit… this looks pretty good.
Yes, it is a Farrelly Brothers movie, so the buffoonerism will likely be off the charts. But the trailer hints at a few amusing scenes illustrating the heights of Fallon’s character’s obsession that more than a few Sox fans will find strikingly familiar. My personal favorite is the bit where Barrymore tells Fallon she wants to take him with her on a business trip to Paris, and he quickly scans the calendar to find that it conflicts with a critical Sox series.
“We’re two games out of first with three weeks left,” he explains. “This is when they need me.”
Also, the footage shot at Fenway of actual Sox games — including a great bit in the trailer with Ortiz giving his two finger salute as he crosses the plate — is plenty alluring, and will no doubt look spectacular on the big screen. If that wasn’t enough, the cast also boasts Jessamy Finet from Still We Believe — whom I’m convinced will have her own sitcom at some point — and Ione Skye, the former Mrs. Adam Horovitz.
I’ll confess to having never read Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch, the diary of a soccer fan’s fanatical love for a perennial underdog on which the film is based. But the book’s opening line resonates pretty loudly, no matter which sport you follow:
I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it.
Bottom line, the trailer hints at an entertaining valentine to the often indescribable passion Red Sox fans feel for our team. And if the filmmakers can capture just a few sugary ounces of the tidal wave of ebullience that knocked us on our collective ass last autumn, then, at least in my eyes, all will be forgiven.