9/18/12

Trouble With the Curve

Certain sounds evoke my childhood: the crack of a bat that says a ball is headed for the back fence; the thud of a catcher's mitt when a baseball smacks dead center; the jeers of fans who heckle the players from the bleachers; the cry of a peanut vendor peddling his wares. Add to that the solid click of a cue ball struck with authority and the ubiquitous ping of a cellphone to announce a new text message, and we have the perfect soundtrack for this film.

Here's one movie Clint Eastwood didn't direct; instead Robert Lorenz is at the helm, but he's worked with Eastwood as First Assistant Director many times. Producer Eastwood plays an aging baseball scout with failing eye- sight whose sports-minded daughter invites herself along on one last recruiting trip. Problem is, she is up for partner at the law firm in the city where she works, and her curmudgeonly dad doesn't want her wasting her valuable time on him. In fact, he doesn't want to admit he has a problem.

Here are:
  • Clint Eastwood ("Gran Torino") is Gus; if you have ever doubted Mr. E's ability as an actor, pay close attention as he does a single- take closeup, singing "You Are My Sunshine" a cappella....
  • Amy Adams ("The Fighter") is Mickey (named after her dad's favorite baseball player), who is determined to break through her father's wall of isolation.
  • John Goodman ("The Artist") is Pete, a long-time loyal friend. He sees through the smokescreen and knows when his pal needs help.
  • Justin Timberlake ("In Time") is Johnny, the would-be pitcher who blew his arm, but still looks to Gus for fatherly support and ad- vice.
  • Jay Galloway (in his first film) is Rigo, the peanut vendor.
  • Joe Massingill ("Glee") is Bo Gentry, baseball's next great hope. If you doubt it, just ask him!
Talent scouts in the baseball world inhabit their own little society: they grouse, gamble and gossip as they travel from one little dirt-water town to the next, watching high-school boys do their darndest to be the next super-star. This little gang has a great time as each tries to out-insult the other, but this doesn't keep the film from being entertaining and satis- fying. Clich├ęs? You bet. But remember: they WORK.

Be prepared for PG-13 profanity, a car wreck, no gunshots or blowie uppie stuff, some nice surprises, and a LOT of entertaining baseball trivia.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Here is a link to a preview:
http://www.imdb.com/video/imdb/vi3521750297/
* * * * * * * * * * * *