Film Review: “Game 6”

The Boston Red Sox will never ever win the World Series. Until last fall, this fact was accepted since 1918. And for the long years between these triumphs, Sox fans wallowed in their own self-induced apocalyptic sense of doom every time Boston began to show promise. What is about sports that makes it such a powerful drug? We all recognize the obscene corporate facade of modern professional sports, so what keeps the fans loyal?

This community of despair is the subject of “Game 6,” (Serenade Films) an intensely personal story set around a group of struggling theater types in 1986 New York City during Boston’s spectacular World Series run. Michael Keaton plays Nicky Rogan, a playwright whose new play (some say his best) is about to be torn apart by an elusive critic (Robert Downey Jr.) so savage that many actors and directors have never recovered from reading his reviews. At the same time, his beloved Red Sox are about to enter game six of the 1986 World Series, and Nicky is ready for their loss. Being a Red Sox fan is, after all, all about savoring the perfected fall from grace.

Nicky lives in a world where losing is a more emotionally satisfying event than winning. In order to be redeemed he must learn to trust his team, and believe in the possibility of success (even if it is nearly 20 years away).

The movie recreates mid-’80s New York with great clarity, a gritty world that younger generations can only see through film. Yet some sense of reality is missing. It’s the slightly fantastic and apocalyptic story that drives “Game 6,” a world that Keaton honestly inhabits. The film is a fairy tale for those of us who couldn’t understand the commotion at this year’s World Series, a peek into the world of Red Sox obsession.

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