Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Baseball movies

First, a confession:

I don't like Bull Durham.

I know, I work in baseball, I'm a huge baseball fan -- I'm supposed to like Bull Durham.  But I don't.  I like scenes in Bull Durham.  I like the baseball scenes.  I like the bus scenes.  I love this scene.

But I don't care about Susan Sarandon, I don't care about the love triangle, and I don't understand for the life of me how an undisciplined bonus baby with bad mechanics and limited command gets called up to the Majors from Single-A.  Eh, maybe it's a cup of coffee and he'll be back in Double-A the next season.  But, no, even that doesn't bother me so much as an ostensibly baseball movie being really about Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon.  Bupkis to that.

By the way:  In Single-A, 24-year-olds and 25-year-olds are ancient.  Even a 23-year-old who's played in the league for three straight years is too old.  Not too many Crash Davises down here.

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I love Field of Dreams and The Natural.

I love A League of Their Own.  Tom Hanks is a genius, and so is Jon Lovitz.

Major League is funny the same way that Airplane! and Hot Shots! is funny.  It is roundly agreed upon that no one should ever admit to seeing Major League 3.  (I actually saw ML3 maybe two or three straight times on a flight to Israel -- yes, I was ready for the plane to land.)

Sugar.  Have you seen Sugar?  It's a top notch portrayal of a Dominican youngster in the minors, really first class, and there are parts of it where you're just about convinced that you're watching a documentary.  But then... it takes a turn on you, and you go whoa!  It's a turn that completely betrays any true baseball player in a way that steroid abuse or bat-corking never would.  Yes, I loved it, but be forewarned.  I came out of it with big questions about the seeming maturity and "happy ending" for our protagonist, though I also came out with a greater understanding for the experience of the poverty-stricken Latino Major League hopeful.

The Sandlot is a classic.  Rookie of the Year is cute.  Angels in the Outfield is terrific fun.

Now to Moneyball...

I saw Moneyball in a party of five.  Two of us were non-baseball fans.  Three of us, including me, were baseball fans.  The non-baseball fans loved it.  The two other baseball fans, excluding me, thought it was no good and in some areas downright insulting to a baseball fan.  (We also thought Scott Hatteberg, Carlos Pena, and Art Howe should be outraged with how they were each portrayed.)

Me, I thought Brad Pitt performed a fine biopic of Billy Beane in an eh baseball movie.  I really enjoyed it but have no need to see it again.

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