Worth the eight-hour length, which is extremely high praise for a documentary miniseries about a topic that didn’t interest me at all until all the rave reviews and awards started flowing in. Although after sitting through the whole thing I don’t have much to say about it besides agreeing with whichever critic recently said it’s greater as journalism than filmmaking. We were most interested in the pre-murder episodes, about OJ’s adventures in racist America, and how the perception of him changed, than in rehashing the glove fiasco.

A. Muredda, from his fascinating comparison of the two big O.J. movies, which ends with a giant backhanded compliment to The People vs. O.J. Simpson:

For Edelman, Simpson registers as a calculating, charismatic man whose self-written Horatio Alger myth leading up to the murders happened to coincide with critical moments in race relations in late 20th-century America, despite his near total lack of interest in politics. Sociologically astute, methodical, and committed to being non-exploitative in its paralleling of Simpson’s trial with a history of police brutality and civil rights violations dating back at least as far as the Watts riots of 1965 … each episode grapples with a structural contradiction between Simpson’s professional and personal life and the toxic racial context around him.

Romantic comedy about baseball starring cute Drew Barrymore (of Curious George, hopefully not of the Grey Gardens feature remake) and not-so-cute Jimmy Fallon (of Doogal). I failed to recognize Ione Skye (of Girls In Prison), JoBeth Williams (of Poltergeist), Andrew “Future Man” Wilson and Stephen King.

So we’ve got a writer I like (Nick Hornby) being adapted by the screenwriters of “Robots” and “Mr. Saturday Night”, run through thirteen different producers and directed by the Farrelly brothers… whole thing comes out as a passably watchable baseball-themed romantic comedy that didn’t hurt at all. Fallon is a cute guy whom career-minded Drew kinda likes, but then he reveals his utter obsession with the red sox and their relationship threatens to unravel, culminating with his attempting to sell his season tickets and her running across the field mid-game to stop him, because if he cares enough to do that for her, then she cares enough not to let him. Cuteness. Katy likes it.

It’s nearly halfway through 2007, and all the “new” movies I see have 2006 dates on them. Even Knocked Up is ’06 according to IMDB. Film distribution is a funny thing.

I don’t think anyone liked this except for me and maybe Jimmy. Disappointing, since I thought it was light and brilliant. Simple story, handheld camera, starts with a girl who totally fails to get into the soccer arena and gets led up the long steps to a holding area outside, high in the stadium, and left with some other nabbed girls.

One girl ditches her escort on a bathroom run, one was with her friend whose father shows up asking for help, one’s wearing a borrowed military uniform, one is all cocky talking back to the guards, and one doesn’t even like soccer but came in memory of a friend who got killed at a game the year before. Closing credits reveal that the characters were all unnamed.

Shot at the stadium itself, some shot during the actual game at which the story takes place, so mixing documentary and fictional footage in a Kiarostami / Makhmahlbaf style. These three guys are more interesting than the Mexican trinity of Cuaron / del Toro / Inarritu who the press likes to write about… but I suppose Through the Olive Trees didn’t make Hellboy bank and Offside isn’t in a tenth as many theaters as Children of Men, so why pay attention?

Movie addresses its political concerns without ever getting heavyhanded, without giving this doomed sense, without letting the girls get beaten or mistreated, so it stays watchable, with a mostly comic tone throughout. Ends in a big burst of nationalistic joy, as Iran wins the game while the cops are driving the girls away and their van gets swarmed by a celebrating mob so everyone gets out among celebration and fireworks.

Like all of Panahi’s films, this one was banned from Iranian theaters.