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Film deserves red-carpet treatment

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Academy Awards will be presented Sunday night at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. Chris Rock is this year's host, but we anticipate endless postshow analysis regarding the starlets' dresses, the acceptance speeches, and most of all, the "snubs."

Regarding snubs, a lot of folks claim Paul Giamatti (son of late baseball commissioner Bart Giamatti) should have been nominated for Best Actor in "Sideways." "Kinsey" was also largely dissed by the academy, and Michael Moore came up zeros with "Fahrenheit 9/11."

But according to members of the 2004 world champion Red Sox, there was a glaring omission in the category of Best Short Film (Live Action). The Sox, the same guys who starred in "Still We Believe" and are scheduled to appear in the Farrelly Brothers' "Fever Pitch," are lobbying for "The New Red Sox Movie," shot and directed by amateur cinematographer and professional relief pitcher Mike Timlin.

"No doubt about it," said Kevin Millar. "I've watched it at least 50 times. It should have been nominated for an Oscar."

Jason Varitek said it was the only Sox video he watched during the offseason. Millar said it gave him goose bumps. Curt Schilling said, "Looking at it, it made you realize how much every guy that was on that team was a part of it."

The Timlin Project was inspired by John Burkett's video of the 2003 postseason. Burkett recorded the Sox' historic series against the A's and Yankees, and sent copies to his teammates after the crushing disappointment in New York.

Timlin picked up the torch last October. In New York and St. Louis, and at Fenway, the tall reliever carried his Sony handycam in the clubhouse, in the dugout, on the field during batting practice, on airplanes, and in hotels. He shot three hours of footage, sent it to a professional videomaker after the World Series, then mailed the finished product to all Sox players, coaches, and clubhouse personnel.

"I did it because I wanted to have the memories and I wanted guys to have the same," said Timlin. "It's memories of being off the field. You see old movies with Mantle and Robinson and they don't speak and they just tip their hat. It's all on the field. But you don't see off the field.

"I was wishing I started in Anaheim, but I didn't. I dropped the ball. My wife said, `You need to go get a camera.' I choked. Like normal, I forgot to do it. But then I started in New York and I got the rest. We sent it out with our Christmas card."

Timlin's film is not for the consumption of nosy reporters. Even Sox chairman Tom Werner was rebuffed by the director/reliever. Werner, a veteran of many successful television programs, said, "I tried to get Mike to let us put it on NESN, but he turned me down."

"It's personal," reasoned Timlin.

Sox manager Terry Francona said, "It was great. Tremendous. It was funny, touching. I remember getting this thing in the mail and wondering what it was. I threw it in [the VCR] and then I realized what it was because he had walked around with that camera for so long. I just thought the whole thing was touching. It was comical at times. And it showed a lot about how the guys felt about each other. I thought he did a really good job. Unlike the NESN one or the one by MLB, this was one guy carrying around his camera, talking to his teammates, and that's what made it so special. I enjoyed it and my kids enjoyed it."

Millar said, "NESN's video was awesome, the MLB World Series DVD was awesome, but Timlin's video you watch and get chills and it can bring a tear. It gives you the inside, the smiles, the hugging, [Curtis] Leskanic making jokes. On the plane. Inside the clubhouse. You see us in the clubhouse and the song is `Lean Back,' and then you see David Ortiz and he's leaning back. You see Mike Myers ripping into [ESPN's] Harold Reynolds for not believing in us after we win in New York."

According to Millar, a highlight of highlights features Sox pitchers taking batting practice in St. Louis. Pedro Martinez, Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield, Bronson Arroyo, and Timlin take their hacks in the cage at Busch Stadium while the Timlin soundtrack features "Black Betty." The cage scene is carefully edited to feature a succession of popups by each would-be hitter. When Timlin looks particularly bad with several swings (assistant trainer Chang Lee manned the camera when Timlin hit), the subtitle reads, "Director's extra cuts."

General manager Theo Epstein is among those who have cited the early-morning bus ride from Logan to Fenway as a favorite moment. The newly crowned world champions touched down in Boston early on Oct. 28 and were wildly cheered as they rode on buses through the normally sleepy streets of downtown. Theo said the scene reminded him of REM's "Everybody Hurts" video. Timlin captured the experience with his minicam.

"It's the best," said Millar. "You see all the people bowing down and getting out of their cars and trucks."

At the end of his film, Timlin is seen bagging a deer while hunting in Kansas -- no doubt a tribute to Robert De Niro, the original celluloid "Deer Hunter," and a worthy Oscar winner.

"That was my favorite part," said Trot Nixon. "I liked the deer-hunting finale."

"The New Red Sox Movie" is unscreened and unrated. But in the Red Sox clubhouse, it gets four stars out of four.

Dan Shaughnessy is a Globe columnist. His e-mail address is

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