Kurt Russell’s THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL (A Netflix Original Documentary)August 18, 2014

Kurt Russell’s THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL (A Netflix Original Documentary)

THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL (A Netflix Original Documentary)

On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of hot movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL (A Netflix Original Documentary).


See the latest Independent Movie On Demand (IMOD) Trailers here...


By Joe Charnitski

If you got to hang out with New York Yankee icons Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Lefty Gomez as a little kid, you’d probably feel a special connection with the game of baseball. You might play as a young man, and then, later in life, you might use the game to revitalize a city, adding your stone to the mountain of baseball history.

This is the story of Bing Russell. There are a few reasons that name might be familiar to you. When a fastball to the head cut his baseball career short, Bing moved to Hollywood to pursue a life in film and tv. He played the role of [ROLE] on BONANZA for [HOW MANY] years, along with countless small roles in studio westerns. He’s also recognizable as the father of actor Kurt Russell (ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, OVERBOARD).

The third way Bing acquired some fame was as the owner/operator/heart and soul of the independent single-A baseball club the Portland Mavericks in the 1970’s. His time in Portland is the subject for the new Netflix documentary THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL. As you can tell by that title, this ain’t FIELD OF DREAMS.

When the major league affiliated Triple-A baseball team left Oregon Bing saw an opportunity. He would start what was at the time the only independent baseball team in America in Portland. It would be single-A, meaning it was the bottom rung on the ladder to the pros. It would be filled with players who had been overlooked by pro scouts, or flat out cut by major league teams. He thought this was the recipe for something special. Damn if he wasn’t right.
THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL (A Netflix Original Documentary)

THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL tells us the story of the Mavericks from the mouths of players (including Bing’s son Kurt), staff and fans. It uses archive footage, professional and home movie style, to recreate the enthusiasm and excitement this team generated in the Pacific Northwest. The Triple-A team left town because attendance was low. Bing’s Maverick’s broke Single-A attendance records. Players appeared on Johnny Carson and major sports magazine’s wrote about the sensational circus and the P.T. Barnum behind the scenes, Bing Russell.

5 New Movies On Demand to Watch: August 2014August 01, 2014

5 New Movies On Demand to Watch: August 2014

Kat Ashy (On Demand Weekly)

On Demand Weekly's Kat Ashy (@KatDoesLifegoes through all the new movies each month for her New Movies On Demand Preview.

5 New Movies On Demand to Watch - August 2014:

By Kat Ashy

Ah, August! Beautiful August. The last month of freedom before we become slaves to the cruel caress of September. School is not yet in session, you can still convince that special someone to go on an impromptu trip to Oahu! Unless you have no one, then you can just place yourself in a Tommy Bahama and let the melodic tones of Jimmy Buffett serenade you into your own personal island coma. Now in between all of your Mai Tai’s and hammock lounging be sure to throw in some On Demand time. I have my top five films for August right here!

5. THE ONE I LOVE, Premieres August 1 INDIE PICK
First premiering at Sundance, this romantic dramedy centers on a dysfunctional couple that goes on a weekend getaway in search of their greater selves.
R, Comedy, Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson, Pre-Theatrical Release

It’s Muppets! I would say this is for you and your kids but I would by lying! I know you want to watch this more than them.
PG, Family/Comedy, Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta

3. DIVERGENT, Premieres August 5 - TWEEN PICK
Young adult dystopia plots are in right now, and this one stars a kick ass Shailene Woodley and the gorgeous face of Theo James!
PG-13, Adventure/Romance/SciFi, Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort, Jai Courtney, Maggie Q

2. LOCKE, Premieres August 12 - BROODING GUY PICK
Tom Hardy. Tom Hardy as a construction foreman that accidently knocked up a co-worker and is now thrust into a thriller that includes premature labor, football, and familial obligation.
R, Drama/Thriller, Tom Hardy

1. ARE YOU HERE, Premieres August 22 TOP PICK
Matthew Weiner of “Mad Men” fame does not disappoint with his big screen directorial debut ARE YOU HERE. This dark dramedy, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, stars comedy heavyweights Amy Poehler, Owen Wilson, and Zach Galifianakis. Wilson and Galifianakis play childhood best friends that embark on a road trip home after the latter inherits a large some of money from his deceased father. Dysfunctional families, Owen Wilson as a womanizing weathermen, and an unhinged Galifianakis make this film comedy gold.
It’s a must see for any “Mad Men” fans that are looking to bide their time before the return of their beloved drama!
R, Comedy, Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler, Zach Galifianakis, Same Day As Theatrical Release

That’s August team! Happy watching!
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Top 5 Reasons to Watch EAST WILLYBJuly 11, 2014

Top 5 Reasons to Watch EAST WILLYB


Willie Jr.’s got his work cut out for him. Running Bushwick’s favorite Latino bar isn’t easy when the old timers retire, the new generation forgets their culture, and the hipsters start taking over the hood. As if it couldn’t get worse, Maggie, Willie Jr.’s ex-fiance, has taken up with Willie Jr.’s arch-nemesis, Albert, and is skillfully transforming Albert’s competing neighborhood bar into a moneymaker, as they cater to the whims of the new residents.


Along with the help of his bar regulars, Willie Jr. tries to come up with a solution quickly, or risk losing the two loves of his life: Maggie and his sports bar. East WillyB is best described as “Cheers” for a new generation of viewers interested in socially relevant comedy.


Top 5 Reasons to Watch EAST WILLYB

1. East WillyB is a voice for the young Latino generation, but you certainly don’t have to be Latino to relate. The show provides us with a perspective we don’t get to see on mainstream television.

2. It tackles relevant societal issues including gentrification and Latino stereotypes through humor and authentic characterization, so the message is much more meaningful than preachy.


3. Since those issues are discussed in the context of each character’s unique situation, we end up seeing how people react to the bigger problems differently based on their own standpoint.

4. East WillyB shows us Bushwick through its residents’ eyes. We see the street art, the places they go to meet up with friends and the bars that compete for their attention as well as how the incoming hipsters are changing the landscape.

5. East WillyB is so entertaining to watch with its sharp dialogue and smart themes, it’s no wonder that they were able to raise over $50k through Kickstarter to produce the latest episodes, all of which are available now!


Sabrina Luppi


Sabrina Luppi is a new contributing writer to On Demand Weekly. She is currently a film and marketing student at San Francisco State University, and recently completed a content programming internship at Intel. Sabrina is an aspiring actress, writer and filmmaker and her favorite genre is horror. Follow her on Twitter @sabzy_


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LIFE ITSELF Explores The Legacy Of Roger Ebert’s Life - Now On DemandJuly 11, 2014

LIFE ITSELF Explores The Legacy Of Roger Ebert’s Life - Now On Demand

LIFE ITSLEF (Magnolia Pictures)

LIFE ITSELF is essentially, a documentary about the illustrious life of one of film’s greatest cheerleaders, Roger Ebert. But beneath its surface, the film, directed by Steve James (HOOP DREAMS) offers profound observations about love, family, writing and, not tangentially, the city of Chicago.

James’ linear chronicle of Ebert’s achievements is very much a conventional documentary, full of talking heads, family photos and video clips – both Ebert and partner Gene Siskel loved being on TV and there’s no shortage of footage of them on their own show as well as Letterman’s and Carson’s. But Ebert was a product of Chicago, the city in which he came to prominence as a journalist, and James trod the streets of the Windy City with his documentaries HOOP DREAMS, STEVIE and THE INTERRUPTERS, so it was natural for the filmmaker to make LIFE ITSELF as much a love letter to the grit of Chicago as it is to Ebert. Ebert’s closest confidantes, from as far back as his time at the University of Illinois, are hardened Chicago characters with an edge and ethic gives that James clearly respects as he stocks the film with their reminiscences of the critic’s talent, ego and penchant for carousing.


In addition to the often-wistful stories recounted by Ebert’s colleagues – one recalls taking his last drink in 1979, just a day after Ebert gave up alcohol – LIFE ITSELF benefits mightily from the access James had to Ebert in the months before the critic’s death. (Some might argue that that access, along with the cooperation of Ebert’s widow, Chaz, makes this less of a warts-and-all doc and one that could have benefited with a rounder portrayal of Ebert’s flaws.) Often painful to watch, the film does not flinch in its depiction of Ebert’s physical deterioration. Indeed, save for a few brief scenes at home, we see Ebert only in his hospital bed or at rehab. Unable to speak but by no means voiceless, Ebert’s mind and ability to write remain as sharp as ever nearly until his death.

As much a story of career as of family, LIFE ITSELF is particularly moving as it tells the story of Ebert’s late-in-life courtship of and marriage to Chaz, who reveals in the film for the first time that she met Roger at an AA meeting. Via excerpts of Ebert’s autobiography, with which James peppers the film, we hear the critic’s own words and the radiance of his happiness at being accepted immediately by the extended family of his African-American wife. Chaz herself appears throughout the film, maintaining patience and stoicism as she tends to Roger’s worsening health and his decision to cease treatment and accept death.

Adding to the melancholy of Ebert’s final days is the absence of his one-time sparring partner in print and onscreen, Gene Siskel, who died of brain cancer in 1999. Their antagonism toward each other masked a respect and envy that each had for the other – not that either of them would say that frequently. In the film, that task falls to their widows, each of whom remembers her husband’s partner with a humanity and grace that the critics rarely displayed for each other, lest anyone think they were anything but mortal enemies.

5 New Movies On Demand to Watch: July 2014July 11, 2014

5 New Movies On Demand to Watch: July 2014

Kat Ashy (On Demand Weekly)

On Demand Weekly's Kat Ashy (@KateDoesLifegoes through all the new movies each month for her New Movies On Demand Preview.

5 New Movies On Demand to Watch - July 2014:

By Kat Ashy
It’s finally July team! The official best month of summer. Not only are there illegal fireworks and possible boating, but there are cheeseburgers, and potato salad, and general patriotism. It is the best month to get a little day drunk and hoard tiny festive umbrellas in your pina colada. And it is the best month to grab the extended family that won’t leave, sit them in front of the TV, and put on a nice movie on demand. Don’t forget Aunt Sharon! Here are my top five picks for July. 

5. LIFE ITSELF, Premieres July 4 Same Day As Theatrical Release
An incredibly entertaining documentary about iconic film critic Roger Ebert based on his 2011 memoir. Two thumbs up!
R, Documentary, Martin Scorsese, Werner Herzog, Roger Ebert
4. UNDER THE SKIN, Premieres July 15 INDIE PICK
Scarlett Johansson plays a sexy alien that preys upon unsuspecting Scotsmen. It really just sells itself.
R, SciFi/Thriller, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams

3. RIO 2, Premieres July 29 - FAMILY PICK
The perfect film to watch with the fam. What sort of shenanigans will Blu and Jewel get into this time? Well, three kids for a start, the Amazon, and father-in-laws.
PG, Animated/Family, Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, George Lopez, Leslie Mann, Kristin Chenoweth, Jamie Foxx, Andy Garcia, Bruno Mars

2. BAD WORDS, Premieres July 8 - COMEDY PICK
Comedies starring Jason Bateman are my Kryptonite, and this one has revenge, Allison Janney, and an unhinged adult participating in a spelling bee!
R, Comedy, Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand, Allison Janney

Wes Anderson is the quirky, stylized director of my dreams and he does not disappoint with THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL. The star-studded cast is helmed by Ralph Fiennes who plays M. Gustave, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel. Aided by his most trusted companion, lobby boy Zero Moustafa, he is thrust into a murder mystery centering on a Renaissance painting and an enormous family fortune. It is just as wonderful as MOONRISE KINGDOM, if not more hilarious, and is a must see film. What are you still doing here? Go watch it! Now.
R, Comedy, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Bill Murray, Tony Revolori, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Edward Norton, Jeff Goldblum, Saoirse Ronan, Owen Wilson, Léa Seydoux, Tom Wilkinson, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric

That’s July friends. Happy watching!
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