In this month’s issue of Sports Illustrated, “Fencesis included in the Extra Mustard about sports movies at the Oscars. Of the nominees for Best Picture this year, SI writes it is “the closest any come to sports,” but should it be considered a sports movie?

Baseball is a defining element in Troy Maxson’s life and he talks about it A LOT, but the story is about moving on from sports and how to live without them. Troy is no longer an athlete and he has to get over it and stop speaking entirely in baseball metaphors.

This is not a sports movie. It is actually an anti-sports movie.

And it’s not even a movie. It’s a play. This movie has the exact stage direction and script as the play and you might as well just go see the live production except the cast is excellent in this film. But the whole time I felt like I was watching the play.

While Troy’s life is defined by baseball and his son plays football, this should not be categorized as a “sports movie” because no one actually plays sports in the movie/play. There is a Hit-Away type set up in the backyard that is used a couple times, Troy and his son Lyons get into a physical fight and Lyons shows up in a football uniform at the end but that’s the extent of the visual athletics in this movie.

The story is about Troy’s life with his family after baseball, not his life as a baseball player.

And the fences in the movie are not sports related, they are picket fences. I’ve read the play a million times and I know there are many metaphorical fences here to keep some people out and everything you love in and this includes fences surrounding baseball fields. But we don’t see those in this movie. The sports elements have to be visual to add to the case for sports movie. Building a fence around your house while talking about not striking out in life doesn’t count.

The true measure for me is the Netflix Test. Go to Netflix and click on Sports Movies. Look at the movies. Would you put “Fences” in with these movies? I would not. These movies are either about athletes actually playing sports or about the characters’ lives improving through playing sports. Baseball did not improve Troy’s life at all and he doesn’t live his life according to his baseball values. And he talks to his sons about the lessons of sports but then doesn’t allow Lyons to go to college on a football scholarship, killing his dream of playing sports. Anti-sports movie.

(The Netflix Test can be misleading though because “Lilo and Stitch” is listed in Sports Movies, but they surf in that movie so even that makes it more of a sports movie than Fences).

If Fences wins Best Picture at the Oscars on Sunday, it will not be a win for a sports movie. Sports movies are “Million Dollar Baby,” “Rocky,” “The Natural,” “Happy Gilmore.”

I would put this in Dramas on Netflix.

Blog Author: 
Lucy Burdge

It seems as if Max Kellerman is trying to be the ESPN’s No. 1 Patriots troll. It’s no easy feat, but after declaring last year Tom Brady is “going to be a bum in short order,” he’s on the fast track.

The “First Take” co-host went on a rant against Patriots fans Thursday, shouting at the top of his lungs about New England’s persecution complex.

“Dear citizens of New England: I am here on behalf of a beleaguered sports nation with a message for you. No one, anywhere in this country, feels any sympathy whatsoever for you and your teams,” he said. “There are sympathetic characters, and then there are all of you. Want to know? Every single one of your major sports franchises has won a championship in the last 10 years. Yet somehow, you still play the persecution card.”

Kellerman was reacting to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who said this week on “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” he’ll remember everybody who disparaged his organization during the Deflategate saga. The Patriots went on to win their fifth Super Bowl this year after Tom Brady missed the first four games of the season.

“First, your best ever quarterback did or did not cheat on the way to your fourth Super Bowl title,” Kellerman said. “Next, there was an investigation during which said incredible quarterback destroyed evidence. Then, the league commissioner suspended the quarterback. The quarterback fought the suspension, and lost. The commissioner did indeed have the power vested in him, in part by owners like Robert Kraft and also by the players’ union.

“So the 39-year-old quarterback sat the first four games of the season, the team went 3-1, and the backup quarterback increased his potential trade value to first-round pick level. The rested healthy star quarterback returned, and basically ran the table, giving a fifth chip to Mr. Kraft and all of stubbornly self-pitying New England.”

Kellerman’s thesis about Deflategate working out well for the Patriots is correct. Given Brady’s health at the end of the year and the possibility of trading Jimmy Garoppolo for a first-round pick this offseason, it may have even been a blessing in disguise.

But it’s asinine for Kellerman to question why Kraft would still be bitter about seeing his star quarterback get his reputation sullied for playing with slightly under-inflated footballs. He also, unsurprisingly, is wrong about the details of the investigation. While Brady destroyed his cell phone, he offered to help the NFL collect missing text messages. Roger Goodell declined that overture.

Facts can’t get in the way of a good rant, of course. Kellerman closed with an exclamation point, saying people aren’t jealous of Boston sports fans. They just hate their attitude.

“There’s a reason why everyone hates you guys. It’s not that your teams are so good, it’s that you handle it all so badly. Get over yourselves. Sincerely, everyone else,” he said.

Blog Author: 
Alex Reimer
Hour 4. Red Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien joins the show.
Hour 4. Red Sox broadcaster Dave O'Brien joins the show.

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Hour 3. The guys take more calls on transgender bathrooms. Evan Drellich joins the show...again.
Hour 3. The guys take more calls on transgender bathrooms. Evan Drellich joins the show...again.

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Dino reunites with the guys at spring training.
Dino reunites with the guys at spring training.

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Hour 2. Gerry loved A Man Called Ove. Headlines features transgender bathroom talk.
Hour 2. Gerry loved A Man Called Ove. Headlines features transgender bathroom talk.

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