A quick review of last night's "Silly Little Game," the latest film in the "30 for 30" series, coming up just as soon as I buy you a new dress shirt...
"Silly Little Game" directors Lucas Jansen and Adam Kurland faced a tougher challenge than most of the other "30 for 30" directors, in that there's no exciting archival footage of their subject to keep things interesting between the talking heads. So they decided to do re-enactments, and then spiced those up with a healthy dose of absurdity (the interrogation of the league's first female member, or roto players following real players around the base paths). After so many more traditional documentaries in the series, the dramatization approach could have been a disaster, but it worked. Those scenes were funny, and a nice reminder of the stupid level of obsession that comes with fantasy sports. (And I say this as a guy with too many fantasy teams.)
I knew something of the origins of the game, but the full details were a lot of fun, be it the other players detailing the level of Lee Eisenberg's evil or the revelation that in those early days, fantasy baseball was so exotic that strangers actually wanted to hear about it. (Whereas today, the first rule anyone with a fantasy team learns is "no one wants to hear about your fantasy team.")
But while most of this was played for comedy, there was a definite bittersweet tinge to it all, in the way Daniel Okrent and his friends never figured out how to cash in on their huge discovery, and also in the notion that Okrent never managed to win the original league. (Since Okrent compared the box scores to the Talmud, I may as well compare him to Moses leading the Jews through the desert but never getting to enter the Promised Land.) The scene where Meatloaf expressed complete ignorance to and disinterest in the origins of fantasy spoke to the millions of non-famous fantasy players who surely feel the same way, and I'd like to think at least some of those people happened to watch "Silly Little Game" last night, or will see one of its many later airings.
What did everybody else think?