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We will confess, we have been, in spite of ourselves, kind of looking forward to the premiere of The Bronx Is Burning tonight. We know, ESPN's movies have been rather awful, and we are dealing with the guy who directed Benny And Joon.

But still: The book it's based on is rather fantastic, and it's pretty difficult not to love a cast that has John Turturro, Oliver Platt, the dad from The Wonder Years, Shooter McGavin and Roc.


Unfortunately, the early reviews are less than enthusiastic.

ESPN's eight-episode mini-series plays remarkably flat despite a sharp portrayal by John Turturro as the eye at the center of the storm, Billy Martin. In the first three segs, "The Bronx Is Burning" lacks the compelling detail of Jonathan Mahler's book, choosing instead to paint certain characters — Steinbrenner and Jimmy Breslin, for example — with only the broadest strokes.

And that's the nice one. We just hope they don't make a new version of this in 30 years, with Haley Joel Osment as Jason Giambi, Michael Imperioli as Joe Torre and ... well, A-Rod as A-Rod.

The Bronx Is Burning [Variety]

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