Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
The season is literally a mere stones throw away and soon we will be knee deep in baseball drama. We will be placing blame for losses, make ludacris predictions, and in general, act like we too could manage a big league team, if only we were given a shot. Baseball fans….nothing quite like them.
I figured I would take this calm before the storm to write on the lighter side.
Every baseball fan has a favorite baseball movie. If you don’t, then you are officially a baseball curmudgeon. Baseball is a sport meant for Hollywood. I figured I would share with you my favorite baseball movies of all time. Without further ado, here is my top 5!
1) The Natural
First of all, I want you to find me better theme music in almost any other sports movie. You can’t do it! This is an essential ingredient to the baseball sports movie. A bad score is an immediate turn off. The Natural score stands up there with Rocky and Chariots of Fire for best scores in a sports movie. The entire soundtrack literally leads you right up to the final moment when the ball blows up the lighting structure and the whole thing goes orgasmic. If you did not get chills at that moment then you need to have yourself checked out.
Okay, so back to the homerun that blew out the lights. First of all, making reality a necessity in sports movies is a massive mistake. Roy Hobbs would never win a game with a grounder up the middle. Roy Hobbs wins games with massive, steroid induced, home runs. Homers that, on the rise, smash into a lighting structure on top of the roof of an old time ballpark that probably had outfield walls that were 420 feet deep in the alleys as it is. If the lights aren’t there to stop it, that ball travels 600 feet in the air. You know what? I believe it, because Roy Hobbs is a man. A man of men if you will, which brings me to my final thoughts on a wonderful movie…..
Roy Hobbs is an enigma, we can’t figure this guy out to save our life. He never answers a question directly in the entire movie. Every time somebody asks Roy a question he deflects or flips it around on the other character. He has mastered the art of being elusive. “Where you from Hobbs?”….”Oh, all around really” What the hell is that!?
The last, and saddest point, you couldn’t make this movie in the HGH age. If this movie comes out after the year 2001 viewers will immediately be awaiting the scene when little Bobby Savoy is injecting an over 40 Roy Hobbs with HGH in the clubhouse. I love you Roy, but your cover is blown!
2) Bull Durham
Yup, the only thing better then the big leagues in Hollywood is the minor leagues in Hollywood.
If Tim Robbins doesn’t play the single best meat head, young, dumb, bonus baby ever, I don’t know who does. Costner is actually believable as a career minor leaguer. He doesn’t have the build or the moxy of a major leaguer but he epitomizes the head down grinder that sticks in the minors for years on end. Playing just well enough to be there, but not well enough to get out.
The movie is probably a better comedy then it is a baseball movie but in the end they go well together.
3) The Rookie
Disney and sports movies usually don’t go hand in hand for me. I loved this one however. Being in my late thirties, I am instantly a sucker for this flick. This one tugged at the heart strings of anybody over 35, it said, “I can still do this…I can still achieve my dreams.” The Rookie did for the aging what Rudy did for the untalented and undersized, it gave hope. The fact that it was a “true” story adds to the fire.
My favorite unrealistic part of the movie had to be the sound effects of the ball traveling from his rocket arm into the catchers mit just about anytime he threw it. It wasn’t the subtle hum or hiss you normally hear from a pitched ball but the sound of a Boeing 747 traveling at top speed into the catchers mitt…. SSSHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMP… strike one.
I know, it’s too soon. This movie came out a few weeks ago….I have watched it three times in two weeks. Every time I pull up the menu on my Apple TV it is there, waiting for me. Baseball….Brad Pitt…..Jonah……his daughter and that song……Brad Pitt again doing a baseball movie and doing it well, and I keep saying Brad Pitt because even dudes like him……..Jonah, probably making Paul Depodesta wish he had let them use his name…….THE SOUNDTRACK!!!! But most of all…..
The opening scene! This was the clincher for this movie. I could not get enough of the dramatic presentation of the 2001 division series between the A’s and the Yankees. It was the perfect lead in to an imperfect yet perfect baseball movie. Get past the all the made for Hollywood timeline and the dramatizations and you have a great look at baseball behind the scenes.
Speaking of scenes, I have two favorites other then the intro. The first one is when they are sitting in the room with all the scouts trying to figure out how to replace the departing players. The girlfriend comment goes down as one of the best all time in a sports movie. The second scene is when they are recruiting Scott Hatteburg at his house. For some reason that seemed somewhat real to me. I am sure it isn’t how these things go down but I liked it nonetheless.
Finally, the end when he is driving and the song that is playing. If you haven’t seen the movie, and I don’t want to spoil it more then I already have, but this is an example of how the cheese needs to be embraced in baseball movies. I cried….nuff said. I’m a crier.
5) For Love of the Game
Costner again, doing baseball. It seems to fit him. This time the roll is much different. We have the whole age thing along with a romance (remember, embrace the cheese) plus a little comedy on the side. This is basically a romcom baseball movie that I loved.
It introduces the freak injury to sports movies. Many great sports movies add an injury to the star to up the ante. In this one the pitcher almost saws off his pitching thumb with a radial saw. I totally believe the comeback.
A little extra cache is added by making the main character a Detroit Tiger and then some is taken away by inserting the Yankees and Yankee stadium into the mix. Overall a good number five movie.
Runners Up: Eight Men Out, A League of Their Own, Summer Catch (Jessica Beil!!!!) , The Babe, Sugar, Major League
So that’s my list, what about yours?
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