Tuesday, August 06, 2019

New on Netflix: Billy Corben scores with Screwball

From my 9.24.18 Variety review: “The real-life misadventures of central figures in the 2013 Major League Baseball doping scandal play like outrageous twists and turns in the seriocomic crime fiction of Carl Hiassen or Elmore Leonard throughout Screwball, an impudently entertaining documentary that suggests what might result if the Monty Python troupe were given carte blanche to produce an investigative report for 60 Minutes.

“It comes to us from Billy Corben, a filmmaker whose previous chronicles of illicit activity and entrepreneurial drug traders in and around Miami (Cocaine Cowboys, Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja) might now be viewed as warm-up pitches for his latest effort. This time on the mound, he throws heat and scores impressively with help from a lineup that includes baseball All-Stars, mob-connected lowlifes, tanning and bodybuilding enthusiasts, free-spending MLB investigators, and an unlicensed anti-aging expert whose lack of bona fide medical credentials scarcely hindered his ability to provide, one way or the other, performance-enhancing drugs for his clients. The latter shady character, Anthony Bosch, emerges early on as Corben’s most valuable player, in that his astonishingly unfiltered (albeit chronically self-justifying) account of his starring role in the doping scandal makes him the indisputable standout among the movie’s cast of colorful interviewees.”

BTW: Immediately after I saw Screwball at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival, I went to a sports-themed bar-restaurant near my rented condo for dinner. At one point, I looked up from my table, glanced at one of the establishment’s many TV screens and saw one of the film’s “stars” — Alex Rodriguez — offering commentary on ESPN. No, seriously.

Screwball is now available for streaming on Netflix. You can read the rest of my Variety review here.

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