Having witnessed part of the creation of the "Better
Than Baseball", one could say I would be partial to
praising and promoting this film. This is true to a
point. Joey is my brother. Most of these people are
my friends. Some of those memories are just as much
mine as Joey's or Todd's. However, the effort and
thought which went into this piece of art must be
recognized....regardless of who I am. It is art. It
is beautiful. It is a celebration of youth, life, and
the human spirit.
There are certain themes that are constant throughout
"Better Than Baseball". As "new agey" as it sounds,
one of the main aspects of this film is the inner
child. So often as we leave our teens, we try to
fight our child-like behaviors. There is a right and
a wrong way to embrace our youthful personality
traits. "Better than Baseball" perfectly encompasses
the maturity of a group who is dedicated and
passionate about rollerblading, with the playfulness
we so often abandon as adults. I would use "Monty
Python" as a perfect example, and most definitely say
is an influence amongst the creators.
Another major theme in this film (which ties in with
childhood) is the comparison of past to present. It
is a wonder to see how far these people have come.
They never gave up. Even when rollerblading trailed
off to be filed in the "uncool" folder by all the "I
skateboard to be cool....and if it were a fad to eat
your own feces, I'd do that to-hipsters". They do
this for the love of the sport. They have skated for
ten years. It is evident in the old home movies.
Home made rails in driveways, big clunky rollerblades,
and a passion in their eyes.
I can honestly say that this film is so meticulously
edited, one could enjoy it without music. Although
the tunes are so fucking fabulous and well chosen.
"Better than Baseball" is a film which celebrates the
human body. The obvious example is of course
rollerblading. I can't even jump two inches off the
ground on rollerblades. Actually, I can't even stop
properly. So to me, I am astounded by what the body
is able to achieve. Especially the slow motion shots.
It's like bloody ballet. In contrast with the feats
of these rollerbladers, they also show extremely
normal, everyday actions (such as eating, drinking,
sleeping, driving etc). These are necessities to us
all, and the way they are placed in the film is
priceless. Life's basic needs are shown
here....because to these young men, rollerblading is a
necessity of life....just like eating or sleeping.
I also enjoy the dozens of odd and hilarious facial
expressions throughout the movie. This goes along
with the intentional inclusion of editing glitches to
demonstrate that we are in fact only human. However,
it balances nicely with the grandiose of the rest of
**I absolutey love Todd's little comment to the
waitress about "finishing him off" (regarding the
individual who couldn't finish their breakfast). It
is a very Todd moment.**
The intro leading up to the main title is utterly
comical and innovative. With all the tiny pauses
throughout, it goes to show just how offbeat and
adventurous each individual is. And what the fuck is
with that chainsaw shot? I don't even want to know
where that came from.
**Joey, your "deep voice" is the scariest thing I have
ever heard. You sound like a bouncer from the Max.**
Also, I realized there is a reason that Joey has
stayed "Joey"...and not become Joseph. He has always
kept his childhood with him. He holds a wonder about
the world that not many people have. It shows in his
sections. I especially enjoyed the shot of him
skating backwards across the top of the
staircase....which proceeds into fantastic shot of
Joey's excitement towards the canals of Amsterdam.
The section with Joel has a certain slacker feel to it
(not necessarily that Joel is a slacker). That
wheelchair shot is GOLD! His skating is
amazing....but something about this section didn't
grab me as much. Don't know what it is.
The intro with Todd etc entering the front door,
paints a wonderful portrait of excitement/anticipation
o' the Canadian House Party. The crew has knighted
themselves "SOL", and I can most certainly say that
there is no shortage of solidarity within this group.
Todd's section shows a very masculine but playful side
of his personality. The song contributes to this. It
also shows the more gentle side of Todd (sleeping
etc). I could go on forever about the hilarity of
this section. Everyone will love it I'm sure. Todd
is just a likeable guy. And as Todd so deeply said
once to me "you gotta live before you die". That's
right Todd. Oh how right you are.
The Ulrich Schnauss section creates two very different
feelings. Just like the song, the visuals are partly
organic, and partly industrial. It makes me love the
city, the lights, the people. That shot of the blonde
woman looking up, with the television screen in the
background is phenomenal.
What can I say about all the sunsets/sunrises in
"Better than Baseball"? They are some of the most
spectacular visions in nature, and they also serve to
show how the filmmakers appreciate nature. Every shot
of wildlife/landscape in this movie can without a
doubt be called "cinematography". These are not just
home videos. Of course they are in some respects, but
it takes a special eye to see our world the way this
Mason's section made me feel uneasy, which I'm sure
was the point. It is dark, and just makes me feel
strange. It shows a disturbed side of Mason in
parts....but that "hanging" shot at the end (and when
Todd accidentally knocks him off the stool) is what
balances it perfectly. So so so funny. Also, it's
great that his girlfriend was shown "fuckin givin'er"
on the blades.....especially in the pink pants.
The Black Mountain Section is dear to my heart. I
can't say anymore than that. I almost pissed myself
while watching this one get pieced together. It
really is a non-homosexual love story of sorts.
And the last two sections. If there is anything on
the face of the earth that perfectly demostrates what
is like to know these people....it would be these few
minutes. I won't talk about how I cried (because of
course you know I did). However, I will say that
these sections of the film should be seen by every
person who loves to live and breathe and move and
exist in a world full of madness....where we can
create our own happiness and peace of mind. They have
done that. And I thank them all for sharing it with
Much less important side note **And I would also like
to thank you all for including me in the process of
making this film, as well as showing me (twice)
putting a flower in someone's hair and (twice) handing
a beer to someone. That is how I would like to be