Up for Grabs

"Excellent"

Up for Grabs Review


San Francisco isn't exactly known for mild-mannered politics and an understated social scene. I know, I live here. I lived here when Barry Bonds hit his famous 73rd home run on October 7, 2001, which sent the ball into the stands... and into a legal quagmire that stretched out over a year.

Here's what happened: Vegetarian restaurant owner Alex Popov caught the ball -- sort of. The ball, as seen in a Zapruder-like video, landed in the tip top of Popov's glove, then the crush of the crowd took Popov down. Then, depending on who you believe, the ball fell out of the glove or was stolen from it, or Popov was bitten on the leg in order to be robbed of potentially millions of dollars, locked up in a single baseball.

Those few seconds would land Popov and marketing manager Patrick Hayashi, who ended up with the ball, in the legal fight of their lives. Michael Wranovics' well-made documentary gives us interviews with everyone involved with the case -- including a dozen witnesses, the cameraman who shot the video, the judge, Hayashi, Popov, and Popov's girlfriend, whose face is redacted from the film -- plus commentary from sportscasters and observers, all of whom agree on one thing: This whole affair was really, really, really stupid.

This isn't a sports drama and it's not quite a legal drama, either. Up for Grabs is a surprisingly telling film about human behavior much like Lord of the Flies. An hour earlier, neither of these guys probably would have dreamed of this fight -- one which would consume Popov's life entirely for at least a year. But greed, pride, and human nature all conspire to bring out the absolute worst in these characters -- and yet, neither of them realizes what amazing asses they look like to the rest of the world.

The outcome of the trial was a huge surprise (which I won't reveal here in case you don't already know it), but an even bigger one was the ultimate price realized for the ball at auction: Only $450,000, a far cry from the $3 million earned for Mark McGuire's 70th home run ball in 1999. No one seems to know what happened, but the trial surrounding the ball's ownership seems to have tainted its value in some way.

Wranovics actually made a version of this film a year earlier, but this is really his first stab at filmmaking. It's quite an amazing one, and even if you don't care about baseball (I don't), or you don't care to hear all the legal arguments, you can't help but get sucked into this powerful story, made all the more dramatic by Wranovics' excellent handle on digital filmmaking, editing, and an amazing ability to get interview subjects to talk.



Up for Grabs

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Saturday 30th June 2007

Distributed by: Laemmle/Zeller Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 44 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Michael Wranovics

Producer: Michael Wranovics

Starring: Marty Appel as Himself, Barry Bonds as Himself, Patrick Hayashi as Himself, Alex Popov as Himself, Ted Rowlands as Himself - TV News Reporter

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.