If you think Florida is as pure as its sunshine, bless your heart. But, no, this is the state known for outrageous scandals and America’s sweetheart sport, baseball, is not exempt. Florida’s favorite filmmaker Billy Corben, (“Cocaine Cowboys” and “Square Grouper: The Godfathers of Ganja” by Rakontur Productions) is back again with “Screwball,” a true-crime drama about MLB’s 2013 doping scandals. But don’t expect this to be an episode of Dateline; Corben tells the tale with all the absurdity of “only in Florida could this ever happen” smart-ass comedy. Hands down, the movie is entertaining, and the best part is that it’s actually true.
“It’s a Florida F#@kery story,” said Corben. “We knew the movie was meant to happen when these amazing characters came to us in person; they are so real, rich and complicated.” Corben is referring to Miami area doctor Tony Bosch, who embedded his seedy performance enhancing drugs in the big league. He helped dope players like Manny Ramirez and worked his way up the chain to New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez. Alex Rodriquez actually approached Corben back in 2013 after being busted. “He lied to us for about an hour trying to do damage control. He was trying to use us as pawns.” Also, Bosch and the whistle-blower Porter Fischer approached Corben as well. Fischer worked for Bosch but outed him when he thought Bosch was cheating him. Fischer then leaked doping documents to the Miami New Times.
“The MLB players were just collateral damage of this scheme between a coke-addicted doctor (Bosch) and a self-professed professional tanner (Fischer) and some low-level mobsters. It’s really a heist movie,” said Corben. “The audience just goes along for the ride.”
Bosch’s history is woven with colorful idiocy from his degree in medicine from Belize to using his immigrant father’s prescription pad. In conjunction with the MLB commissioners acting like blind mice about the whole thing, it’s a compelling and hilarious documentary. Corben went so far as to film at the actual Florida locations where events took place, calling it “a monstrous undertaking.” The result is a movie that has great fun poking at Florida’s most entertaining criminals to an audience’s delight. Key West will host its Florida debut Friday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m. at The San Carlos Institute as a part of the Key West Film Festival. There will be a Q & A with Billy Corben afterward.
“A brazenly entertaining documentary that plays like seriocomic fiction as it focuses on key figures in the 2013 MLB doping scandal.” Variety Magazine
“It’s a true-crime tale that has much to do with Major League Baseball but requires no interest in the sport to enjoy.” The Hollywood Reporter
An earlier version of this story erred in saying Porter Fischer served jail time for his participation in the scandal, and that he sought compensation from Major League Baseball. He did not serve any jail time and, while he ultimately received $5,500 in two payments from Major League Baseball, maintains he did not seek that compensation. The Weekly apologizes for the errors and to Fischer and his family.