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Robert Wilonsky

Calendar, Night&Day Baseball by the Numbers

Baseball by the Numbers

Michael Lewis's book Moneyball was published in 2003, in the immediate wake of The Season That Shook Baseball. The story didn't look like much on the surface: Billy Beane, a former ballplayer-turned-scout-turned-GM, and Paul DePodesta, an Ivy League wonk, took…
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Film, "Moneyball": Formula Works for Sabermetrics Sports Flick

"Moneyball": Formula Works for Sabermetrics Sports Flick

As of this writing, the Oakland Athletics sit at a distant third in the American League West, 18 games behind the Texas Rangers managed by Ron Washington, once a coach under A's wonderboy Billy Beane. The A's have not had…
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Film, <i>Paul</i>: Sci-Fi Comedy Heavy on References, Light on Laughs

Paul: Sci-Fi Comedy Heavy on References, Light on Laughs

Paul, it should be noted up-front, is not the third installment in the so-called Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy featuring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, though there are indeed servings of both. Note the one key missing element: Edgar Wright,…
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Film, "Red": Helen Mirren and Bruce Willis are comedic trained killers

"Red": Helen Mirren and Bruce Willis are comedic trained killers

Classiest. Comic. Book. Movie. Ever. Not the best. Not the worst. Just the classiest — Helen Mirren (and Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich and Brian Cox and Richard Dreyfuss) can spruce up any pulp. As far as comic-book adaptations go,…
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Film, "Scott Pilgrim": Michael Cera gets comic-book soul

"Scott Pilgrim": Michael Cera gets comic-book soul

Edgar Wright's Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is every bit as faithful to its source material (Bryan Lee O'Malley's six-volume series about a 22-year-old go-nowhere man-boy fending off his new girlfriend's seven evil exes) as Zack Snyder's Watchmen was to…
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Film, "Middle Men": Luke Wilson brings hardcore porn to the masses

"Middle Men": Luke Wilson brings hardcore porn to the masses

If the plot of Middle Men sounds familiar — Luke Wilson gets in bed with James Caan, who just wants to fuck him — that's because it's the same as the plot of Bottle Rocket, Wes Anderson's 1996 directorial debut,…
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Film, Paul Rudd on "Dinner for Schmucks" and playing himself

Paul Rudd on "Dinner for Schmucks" and playing himself

When last I saw Paul Rudd, in person, it was March 2009 in the lobby of the Four Seasons in Austin. It was 3 in the morning, hours after I Love You, Man had its premiere at the South by…
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Film, "Despicable Me"

"Despicable Me"

As the lights were dimming before a preview screening of Despicable Me, the 6-year-old who lives in my house leaned over and said, "I hope this is funny — not like Toy Story 3." Now don't misunderstand: He adored that…
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Film, "Get Him to the Greek": Crude on the outside, sweet in the middle

"Get Him to the Greek": Crude on the outside, sweet in the middle

There are myriad moments during Get Him to the Greek — the roller-coaster spinoff of Forgetting Sarah Marshall — when it feels as if the thing will jump the rails and smash to the ground in a thousand pieces of…
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Film, "Furry Vengeance" is a movie with a message -- and not much else

"Furry Vengeance" is a movie with a message -- and not much else

I took the 6-year-old who lives in my house to the Sunday-afternoon sneak preview of Furry Vengeance. He is a savvy consumer of kids' popular culture — my greatest parenting triumph thus far. He knew from the myriad Disney Channel…
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Film, A sleepy follow-up to <i>Training Day</i>, <i>Brooklyn's Finest</i>  cops out

A sleepy follow-up to Training Day, Brooklyn's Finest cops out

All that remains of Antoine Fuqua's Training Day is Denzel Washington's Oscar-winning performance, his baddest and best. The rest of the movie? A blustering stumble toward parody — an overwrought, operatic buddy-cop flip-flop also starring Ethan Hawke as the rookie…
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Film, <i>Extraordinary Measures</i>: Harrison Ford is nothing if not useful

Extraordinary Measures: Harrison Ford is nothing if not useful

Extraordinary Measures is a race-against-time thriller in which a desperate dad (Brendan Fraser) sacrifices everything to cure a rare disease that is seconds away from killing his kids. Extraordinary Measures is also a heartwarming tale about a disgruntled doc (Harrison…
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Film, Revolting Youth

Revolting Youth

For years, Hollywood has wrestled with adapting C.D. Payne's 1993 novel, Youth in Revolt — which was actually three novels collected under one title, so the possibilities were endless, given 500 pages of material to mine. In 1996, FOX filmed…
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Calendar, Night&Day <i>The Informant!</i>

The Informant!

In 1992, Mark Whitacre (played here by Matt Damon, beneath 30 pounds of pudge and a toupee) was a golden boy at Archer Daniels Midland with a big problem: His attempts to create an amino acid by feeding corn to…
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Film, Feature The Inglourious Year in Film

The Inglourious Year in Film

1/ The Hurt Locker The decade's strongest Iraq movie is also the year's finest action flick, not to mention director Kathryn Bigelow's personal best. Working from Mark Boal's knowledgeable script, The Hurt Locker is impressively old-school in its construction of…
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Film, Feature Best Films of the Decade

Best Films of the Decade

Looking back on a decade dominated by the movie franchise — Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Spider-Man to name just a few — and overrun with prequels and sequels (Saw I, Saw II, Saw III, Saw…
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Film, Feature

Rent a Wreck

In a Dallas strip mall, in the neighborhood George W. Bush now calls home, sits a bright and fluorescent Blockbuster that, on this cold Thursday night in December, is populated by maybe a handful of customers — high-schoolers grabbing a…
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Calendar, Night&Day <i>It Might Get Loud</i>

It Might Get Loud

Marketed as a guitar summit between The Edge, Jimmy Page, and Jack White, Davis Guggenheim’s affectionate, intermittently insightful behind-the-music doc is more electric triptych than meeting of the minds. Yes, the trio gather ’round the soundstage amps to teach each…
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Film, Meet the parent: De Niro hits a low in <i> Everybody's Fine</i>

Meet the parent: De Niro hits a low in Everybody's Fine

Don't be misled by the cheesy, generic poster for Kirk Jones' Everybody's Fine, in which a grinning Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore, and Kate Beckinsale pose with Robert De Niro (airbrushed almost to the point of unrecognizable) for their characters' family…
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Film, Clooney's <i>Up in the Air </i> lands the emotion

Clooney's Up in the Air lands the emotion

There is something oddly familiar about Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, in which George Clooney plays a commitment-phobic business traveler with no use for meaningful human interaction. Could have sworn we've been here before. When was it? And where?…
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