We Believe: The Movie: The Review

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By Paul Schmidt

     We Believe: The Movie is the story of the Chicago Cubs and in particular their 2008 season, but, as director John Scheinfeld said at the premiere of the movie on Friday, June 12th at the historic Chicago Theater in downtown Chicago, it was meant to be more, it was meant to be “a love letter to the city of Chicago.”

      And while Scheinfeld did a wonderful job retelling some of the more popular stories of Cub lore, it was in the relationship of the city to the team and its fans where the movie fell short.

      Scheinfeld did a wonderful job amassing talent for the movie, and accruing interviews, including Hugh Heffner, Billy Corgan, Bonnie Hunt and Bob Costas.  In fact, it was Costas himself who had one of the best lines of the movie, when talking about how he liked to refer to Chicago as the city of big shoulders.

      “I might be the only person that says that. Maybe one other person came up with it,” Costas joked, obviously referring to the Carl Sandberg poem that coined the phrase.

      The largely pro-Cub crowd laughed at many of the obvious triggers of the movie, and booed the two obvious villains (Bud Selig and Mayor Daley – a Sox fan), and largely reacted how you might expect Cub fans watching this movie to react.

      They cheered lustily for Lou Piniella. Kerry Wood and Derrek Lee drew maniacal cheers. Ryan Theriot and Ryan Dempster received (much deserved) tons of laughter.

      And, perhaps not surprisingly, Mark DeRosa’s first screen appearance nearly received a standing ovation.  The Cub love for DeRo hasn’t waned, as he now has apparently achieved folk hero status amongst the community.

     The history of the Cubs was presented fairly and well, with some film that I hadn’t personally seen before, a nice touch.  They even went into nice detail about the person I would consider the biggest Cubs fan of all time, folk singer Steve Goodman. His tale never fails to bring tears to my eyes and the delicate nature with which Scheinfeld told his story — aided by Gary Sinese’s stoic narration and Goodman’s widow’s heartfelt stories — was easily the highlight of the movie.

      The problem is that these moments were few and far between, and you could feel it in the movie. 

     One of the areas where the movie felt far short was as a portrait of the city.  The first half of the movie was chock full of Chicago’s history and how it became a hardworking city of immigrants, a melting pot of different nationalities and religions. As the movie went on, however, it became more of an outlet for all things Cubs than anything else.

     And that was perfectly fine, except that most die-hard Cub fans already know those stories, and the most interesting parts of the movie the ones detailing the rich history of the city, how it formed, and how that related to the popularity of the Cubs throughout history.

    Many of the other parts of the movie fell flat, as well. There were two recurring characters who had met at Wrigley Field and then got married, and they were so incredibly un-memorable that I’ve forgotten their names.  Scheinfeld continually went back to them and it became really annoying as time went on, because he seemingly was making this couple (and their two children) the poster children of your every day Cub fans.  Which is fine, if not somewhat insulting to all the fans that were there.

      I also found it problematic that the Scheinfeld, in writing the movie, chose to only mention the Chicago White Sox for  roughly 20 seconds. This is notable, at least in my mind, because so much of the history of the city, and Cubs history was shaped by the White Sox that I found it questionable from a film-making standpoint to not address the team that is located only a few miles away.

     There were several other fun things that happened throughout the evening. There was a nice pre-party that was really sparsely populated, even though the food spread was great and free drinks were better. 

     Ronnie “Woo-Woo” Vickers was in full regalia at the Theater (but NOT in the movie), and was very sober throughout the evening, and was also not “Wooing.”  For those who are interested, I asked Ronnie how his foot was, and he said, “It’s healing up really nice, I should be ready to go after the All-Star Break.”  He then struck a pose like he was stealing second base.  Unequivocally the highlight of my evening.

     All in all, I’d say it is a must view for any Cubs fans, but that anyone that was interested in the City of Chicago and thought the movie was must viewing would leave it disappointed.  The gold standard for Cubs documentaries still is HBO Sports’ fantastic piece “Wait ’til Next Year: The Saga of The Chicago Cubs.”

     2.5 out of 5 stars.

Douchbracket National Champion Notre Dame Fans with no School Affiliation

The Paul M. Banks Regional Champions cut down the nets in the Inaugural dbag bracket Final Four

In the douchebracket, as well as in the NCAA tournament, sometimes it’s all about match-ups. How far your team goes or doesn’t go depends on who you draw in your bracket. And in the inaugural douchebracket “Notre Dame fans with no connection to the school” reached that “one shining moment” partially because they got lucky with match-up advantages. It also doesn’t hurt that St. Patrick’s Day coincides with the douchebracket and March Madness.

And this year was an extra special year for Notre Dame on the court as the Irish won the NIT (or so I’ve been told, I can’t say for sure, cuz I really don’t care about the NIT) and 50+ inebriated idiots on Chicago’s South Side acted like drunk buffoons and thugs to the point that they had to be arrested and in consequence frustrating the city into ending the 31 year old institution that was the South Side Irish parade. And you know many of those morons committing those acts were rocking ND colors despite no connection at all to the school.

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It wasn’t an easy road for the ND fans- they had a very tough bracket in the Paul M. Banks Regional, and faced the winner of what was considered the strongest bracket, the Peter Christian regional. That was essentially the true national championship game. Their dramatic come from behind victory over Alex Rodriguez was by the slimmest of margins and wasn’t secured until the closing seconds- it was reminiscent of Illinois’ OT thrilling come from behind win over Arizona in the 2005 Elite 8. This spring, it was hard to imagine anyone beating A-Roid, with his constant stream of negative press, but as Pete pointed out, A-Fraud always crumbles in the clutch. As close as that game was, the title game was the opposite: a rout, a laugher, an 84-16% landslide over Rachel Nichols, the David K. Regional champion, who ran roughshod over her entire bracket and dominated Ronnie Woo Woo in her Final Four game. No one expected her to run out of gas on the biggest stage after owning the competition for so long. Perhaps she should look into blinking once in awhile. Maybe her eyes weren’t sufficiently hydrated and that kept from performing at the highest level.

In closing, I just want to thank everyone who voted for the ND Fans in my bracket, as well as everyone who commented on all articles posted within the inaugural bracket of sports douchitude. This was a big success and I look forward to doing it again next year. (I call Digger Phelps, Nick Saban, and Sports bars with bathroom attendants)  This is a nice little complement to my Michigan State Spartans reaching the National Title game and my procuring the 3rd and final “in-the-money” position in my pool. (Of course, gambling is illegal, and that’s for novelty purposes only) With the exception of 2000 (MSU wins national title) and 2005 (Illinois, MSU reach Final Four) this has been the best March Madness ever! Thank you and we’ll see you in the 2010 Douchebracket!

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Dbag Bracket Finals, Vote Early Vote Often

Rachel Nichols vs. Notre Dame Fans with no connection to the school

It’s the final countdown! This is Chicago so vote early, vote often for the national championship of the inaugural douchebracket. POLLS CLOSE ON SUNDAY APRIL 5TH 10:30 CT!!!!

Our two previous Final Four games were as different as night and day. Rachel Nichols was up by as many as 50 points before the final score was tallied. She more than doubled Ronnie Woo Woo’s percentage- winning 67-33%.

Alex Rodriguez was up by as many 10 for most of the contest, but whittled down the stretch as the non-academically affiliated Notre Dame fans chipped away at the double digit deficit and emerged victorious in final minutes by the SLIMMEST of margins 51-49% The final game should be equally exciting!

Dbag Bracket Ghost Regional Champion

By Ghost in the Machine
#1 Ron Santo vs. #13 Fans Who Run on the Field

The Cinderella story for Fans ends here as Ron Santo was too overwhelming from the start. Whether it was his incessant cheering or failure to realize what the score was during the game, these factors were too much for Fans to handle as they were blown out by 30.

Santo waits for a congratulatory phone call after the game, which never comes.

#2 Ronnie Woo Woo vs. #3 Hockey Spectators Who Don’t Wait for the Whistle

A tight matchup here. On one hand we have Mr. Wickers, who gallivants around town in his Cubs uniform, which may be the only clothing he owns, showing up where he shouldn’t be (Sox games) wooing for no reason.

On the other hand, the hockey spectators think they can get out of their seats at any time. I didn’t pay $75 to see the back of your jacket while you get up for the 4th time this period. Wait for the f’in whistle! Ultimately, the fact that the wooing occurs during an entire game while the spectators not waiting for the whistle is only temporary leads to an OT victory for Ronnie Woo Woo.

Regional Finals-

#1 Ron Santo vs. #2 Ronnie Woo Woo

The battle of the Rons starts off Woo Woo gaining a double digit first half advantage. After Santo finally figures out where he is, thanks to Pat Hughes, Santo comes back to make it a one possession game late. When all is said and done, the fact that Woo Woo serves no purpose in life makes him the Ghost Regional Champion.

Vote in the Dbag Bracket Final Four

Here we go! Polls close at 11pm central on Thursday night. Soon after the title game poll will open. Vote as many times as you like

Douchebracket Semifinals Ghost Regional

By Paul M. Banks
The Final Four was determined by the “Ghost in the Machine,” but I wrote the game recaps.

Welcome to the d-bag bracket, a tournament deciding the most insufferable douchebags in all of sports. Please feel free to comment as much as possible, because your feedback will help determine who advances to the Final Four.

Regional Semifinal #1 Ron Santo vs. #13 Drunk fans who run onto the field

Both have disgraced the proud history of Chicago baseball franchises. For too long, many people around the country equated White Sox fans with the inebriated troglodytes who took part in the Disco Demolition “riots” of ’79, the white trash father and son who stormed the field to attack Royals coach Tom Gamboa and the white trash who pummeled an umpire. The Cubs’ scourge is actually their radio color commentator who spends far too much of his airtime 1.) clueless as to what is going on and 2.) stumping to get into the Hall of Fame- often playing the victim card to do so.

How Santo got here- a close first round victory over the #16 seed Bill Wirtz (look for next year’s Douchebracket to have more dead people, this year’s field had too much living representation.) 

Santo then blew out #9 Players who trash talk late in games when their team has no chance of winning; who got here by scoring a narrow victory over  #8 Baseball Fans who cheer for their team after a runner beats out the throw to 1st thwarting a possible double play in round one. It was a classic triple overtime thriller.

How Drunk Fans got here- They scored a big upset over local jagbag and #4 seed Mike Murphy in the first round. Fortunately, not a lot of people have heard the sick joke that is “Murphapalooza.” Since “he’s never been in a press box” as the intro to his show proudly proclaims (for some odd reason), he wasn’t able to handle the bright lights of the increased media coverage that accompanies the postseason. 

#5 Adult Autograph seekers avoided the dreaded 5-12 curse by making a late comeback against #12 Bear Weather in round one. If the douchebracket were held outside in December, perhaps this team could run table. But it’s March Madness, and Bear Weather historically underperforms during this time of year.  However, AAS could not survive the lower seeded drunk fans, in a match-up that had a lot of personnel overlap. This game featured a lot of incestuous story-lines as many douchebags were once a part of both organizations.


Regional Semifinal #2 Ronnie Woo vs. #3 Hockey fans who don’t wait for the Whistle

This Sweet Sixteen game features the most oblivious sports personalities around. I think it’s reasonable to think that a few attractive 20something females have probably slept with the 60 something homeless man- just because of his fame.  Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Fault society instead of the slags who were tapped by Mr. Woo Woo. As for the hockey fans, how do these blowholes miss the obvious signals? The ushers holding stop signs telling them to wait for the whistle? To quote the Christian Bale rant “OHHH, GOOD FOR YOU! HE DOES NOT GET IT!”

How Ronnie got here- Idiots who storm the court when their team is just a slight underdog gave Ronnie a huge scare in round one. But retards like 2009 Penn St. fans don’t have the “talent” to match-up with a screaming moron whose only shtick is wearing the same smelly Cubs outfit and being EXTREMELY annoying. The case of “celebrity” being compromised in our society has Woo Woo as Exhibit A. You really don’t have to make any significant contribution to this country in order to be famous.

How Hockey Fans got here- blew out ESPN/USA Today Men’s college basketball poll in round two (ever notice how teams playing on ESPN ALWAYS coincidentally have a much better ranking in this poll than the AP? Must be just random serendipity and chance; I’m sure there’s no ulterior motive behind that. The Poll upset #7 Sports Talk Radio callers with fictitious trade proposals which will never happen. “How about Ben Gordon and Joakim Noah for Le Bron James? Maybe we should throw in our first round draft pick too?” Done and done. Then we’ll deal Tyrus Thomas and Shannon Brown for Dwight Howard while we’re at it. Hockey fans blew out the NFL (No Fun League) rule committee in round one. The giant stick they have up their collective ass stopped them from keeping up with the ignorant hockey fans. Also in round two, ESPN poll made a decisive second half run against #6 People who listen to games on the radio via headphones while they’re at the game- they blew out Steve Downie in round one.

Douchebracket Ghost Regional

Welcome to the d-bag bracket, a tournament deciding the most insufferable douchebags in all of sports. Please feel free to comment as much as possible, because your feedback will help determine who advances to the Final Four.

This is the bracket compiled by “The Ghost in the Machine”

1. Ron Santo- Not sure what’s more annoying, his failure to realize what’s occuring at any given moment during a Cubs game or his pathetic wait by the phone every 2 years to see if the HOF will let him in.

2. Ronnie Woo Woo Wickers- This guy shows up at Sox games. Would Soxman go to Cubs games?

3. Hockey spectators who don’t wait for the whistle.-
I missed Havlat’s  GWG last week vs Anaheim b/c the clown in front of me decided he needed to leave while play was still in progress.

4. Mike Murphy- 670 the Score midday host makes me feel like I’m listening while wearing earmuffs. Not sure he’s ever had an original thought that made sense either.

5. Adult Autograph seekers-
Let’s hang out in front of a hotel or stand in line at a fan convention for hours so that maybe my baseball card will get signed and I can put it on Ebay and make $5.

6. People Who listen to games on the radio via headphones while they’re at the game.

If you need the play by play, stay at home. If you don’t know what’s happening you shouldn’t call yourself a fan of the sport you’re attending anyway.

7. Sports Talk Radio callers with ficitious trade proposals which will never happen.

Uhhhhhh, what if the Bears traded  (insert young stud player not on team here) for (insert mid round draft pick here) and (insert bad, aging, overpaid veteran here). (Heavy breathing)

8. Baseball Fans who cheer for their team after a runner beats out the throw to 1st thwarting a possible double play.

If you’re cheering for the hustle, great, but they should be hustling all the time. This play is no better than a pop-out to the infield.

9. Players who trash talk late in games when their team has no chance of winning.

Congrats Mr. WR for getting a first down. Thanks for making the over-the-top first down gesture so everyone can see you. Oh, wait! Your team is down 21 points with 2 minutes left? Get your a$$ back in the huddle.

10. ESPN/USA Today Men’s College Basketball Poll

You’re telling me that these coaches actually sit down and fill this thing out?

11. Steve Downie-This 1st round draft pick has been eligible to play in approximately 162 pro games in the past 2 seasons. He’s been suspended for 40 of them comprised of a 20 gamer for blindsiding a player from behind and another recent 20 gamer for slashing a linesman. I like the goons in hockey, but this crosses the line.

12. Bear Weather- One of the biggest fallacies in Chicago Sports. MORE TO COME
13. Fans who run onto the field during sporting events

I’m drunk! My friends will give me $100 to run on the field! OK! I now have 5 200+lb security guards on top of me. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea. BARF

14. NFL Rule Committee for not allowing the ball to be used as a prop.

Come on! This is fun; it doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Creativity should be encouraged!

15. Storming the court when your team has a reasonable chance to win the game in the first place.

This unfortunate trend should be reserved for when your school has no business beating the team it just did. Not when, for instance, the 24th ranked team beats a top 10 team. PLEASE!

16. Bill Wirtz

I hope you’re watching what’s going on at the UC. If you weren’t dead, you’d be top 5 on this list, because most likely, the Hawks would still be in the tank.

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