I actually hadn’t seen this until the tournament idea came about. The baseball part is pretty good: aging minor leaguer catcher is brought in to help “million dollar arm, 10 cent head” pitcher; hilarious hijinks ensue. And that part’s done well. “Nuke” Laloosh is a perfect name, and he’s played well by Tim Robbins. Crash Davis is played by Kevin Costner, who is actually playing in his second baseball movie. I thought it was the first, and you may think I’m flip-flopping this movie and Field of Dreams chronologically, but he was in a 1983 baseball movie called “Chasing Dreams“.
The romance part is interesting. The casting choice of Susan Sarandon is an odd choice; her age clearly tells you she’s going to “end up” with Crash Davis. Her initial monologue leads you to believe she “dates” A-ball baseball players (mostly young guys), but you’d think she’d be younger. That’s my only real gripe with the romance part. While forced at times, it’s an interesting component of the minor league life: the women that love to date baseball players for a season.
A cute romance comedy with some good baseball moments. Jimmy Fallon, in his only real starring role, plays a die-hard Red Sox fan and teacher who has season tickets to the Red Sox. He later meets Drew Barrymore’s character, who’s the cliche hotshot female executive, who realizes that Fallon’s character is the biggest baseball nut she’s ever met. Funny moments include Fallon’s character making his friends dance for Red Sox/Yankees tickets, and ::spoiler alert:: Drew Barrymore runs across the field at Fenway Park, using the real Johnny Damon as a human shield against the security guards, to keep Fallon’s character from selling his Red Sox tickets to please her.
Not only are there quite a bit of baseball moments in the movie, but there are also cameos by Jason Varitek, Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon, Peter Gammons, Harold Reynolds, and Tim McCarver. It also gives a lot of attention to the Curse of the Bambino. While a dorky romcom, the baseball side of it is pretty good.
An aging scout with failing vision is joined by his daughter on a scouting trip to North Carolina while evil executives connive behind his back. The Braves end up drafting a
turkey, but then get a great pitching prospect out of nowhere.
The best film ever because: Braves! It’s all Braves all the time, Eastwood is terrific as a crotchety codger scout while Amy Adams provides a surprisingly nice turn as his daughter. One scene was shot in Swannanoa, NC and I am an extra in the stands.
The worst film ever because: The plot is pointless, and more importantly, nobody involved in the making of the film understands baseball or how professional organizations operate or… well, you get the picture. The plot would make more sense if set in the 1930’s (without the draft, obviously). The entire thing is a screed on the superiority of scouts Vs stat nerds.
Other than The Bad News Bears Go to Japan, there have been almost no Hollywood movies about baseball outside America. So while baseball has quite a few underdog movies, and a reasonable number of dramas, biopics, and romantic comedies, Mr. Baseball is baseball’s only fish-out-of-water comedy. Tom Selleck plays a veteran who loses his major league job to a rookie (played by a 24-year-old Frank Thomas, just three years after the Braves decided to draft Tyler Houston instead of taking him) and has to take a job in Japan.
It’s not exactly Lost in Translation, but it’s a reasonably accurate portrayal of the Japanese baseball system that Bob Horner would have played in, before Hideo Nomo began to break down the barriers for good.