Monday, August 07, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and The Absolutely Horrible Baseball Films Ever Made

Kevin Costner dominates this board with classics Bull Durham and Field of Dreams. But let’s not forget Henry Rowengartner hitting triple digits on the gun at Wrigley, Tom Selleck invading Japan, or Billy Heywood taking over the Twins at the tender age of 10. Yes, this list not only includes masterpieces, but movies that were pressed into production because, apparently, people love shitty baseball movies.

The Good

Bull Durham

“The other day Crash called a woman's pu... pussy... um, well, you know how the hair is kind of in a V-shape? Well, he called it the Bermuda Triangle. He said that a man could get lost in there and never be heard from again.”

That Crash Davis and his metaphors. Anyways, Bull Durham is, in my book, tied with Major League as the best baseball movie ever made. The movie is hilarious, but more than that, it works because it feels real. Its main character, Crash, doesn’t end the movie circling the bases with a game winning Major League home run. Instead, he gets the girl he wants and ends his career as a lifetime minor leaguer—something more likely to happen than Nuke’s rise to stardom. When you are done watching the movie, however, you don’t leave it feeling sad or cheated. Crash may have not achieved his goal of Major League playing time, but he does enough to feel proud of the little things he’s accomplished, including guiding Nuke to the big leagues. This movie also teaches some important maxims to live by…see quote above.

Major League

“Better teach this kid some control before he kills somebody.”

It doesn’t get much better than Wild Thing Vaughn throwing fastballs at people’s heads and banging other player’s wives. Or does it? Wesley Snipes sprinting from his bed to the field to win the 40 yard dash…Pedro Cerrano swearing off Jobu and learning how to hit a curveball…The best of all, Rene Russo getting duped by Jake Taylor, a rickety veteran with bad knees and a career in the Mexican league…what else is there to say?

Field of Dreams

Kinsella: “You’re a pacifist!”
Mann, holding a crowbar: “Shit!”

Alright, Field of Dreams is a little too hokey/Middle-America barnyard for me, but it’s still a great movie. As the tagline reads, it’s the story of Ray Kinsella who spent all his life searching for his dreams, until his dreams finally came looking for him. Another Kevin Costner role, this time with a completely different feel from Bull Durham. It’s not raw or gritty like Durham, in fact, it’s the exact opposite. A family flick about a bunch of deceased baseball stars whom Kinsella builds a field for on his farm in Iowa. Though dreams are certainly the focus of the flick, the movie has more to do with faith. Kinsella has faith that if he builds a field, and gets a number of people to attend than his dream will come true. He doesn’t know what that dream is, until he sees his deceased father, who he gets to play catch with for the first time. Personally, my dream also came true in this movie. James Earl Jones walks into the corn field/outfield, never to be seen again.

The Bad

Rookie of the Year

Common, how often do you get to hear a doctor mutter, “Funky buttloving?” At the time of this movies inception, 1993, I was ten and thought this was the greatest thing ever made since automatic card shufflers. Since then, I have obtained somewhat of an education and can formerly declare this movie Thomas Ian Nicholas' best role. We all said the same thing during American Pie, “Isn’t that the kid from Rookie of the Year? What has he been doing all these years?” Well, let me take this time to tell you—he was starring in A Kid in King Author’s Court and a number of “Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman,” episodes. Anyways, Rookie of the Year is a movie about a ten year old who breaks his arm and, due to the way his arm heals, ends up pitching for the Cubs, which may not be that far off base. Another plus—Gary Busey as Chet “Rocket” Steadman.

Mr. Baseball

“We’re not athletes. We’re baseball players.”

No Tom Selleck, you are neither an athlete nor a baseball player, nor an actor. In fact, I would question the fact that you are human. Ladies man Tom Selleck stars as an American imperialist baseball player, Jack Elliot, who gets traded from MLB to the Japanese league. Though this movie has some interesting ideas—mainly an American player adapting to a very different culture, it fails in large part due to its core cast. I.E. Tom Selleck who seems to have forgotten he was in fact supposed to “act” while playing this role, instead of trying to mack every piece of fine Japanese ass that walked by. That being said, I can hardly blame him.

Major League 2, Major League 3?

Just imagine the first movie, except much worse….and then imagine the second movie, except much worse…

Little Big League

“If I owned the Twins, I wouldn't even show up here. I'd just hire a bunch of scientists to do my homework. I mean, if you're rich you don't have to be smart. That's the whole beauty of this country.”

Joey, you are wiser than your years. A young man, Luke Edwards, is given control of his grandfather’s baseball team, the Minnesota Twins. He ends up appointing himself manager and leads the Twins to a pennant. News flash—if you can’t get it done with Mauer, Morneau, Santana and Liriano, try Edwards, the kids got a knack for winning.

Angels in the Outfield

I haven’t seen this movie in years, so it’s hard for me to judge it at this point. But I imagine it’s something along the lines of the real 2002 Anaheim Angels who surely were guided by mysterious spirits to World Series victory. Let’s be honest, Orange County doesn’t deserve to win anything. Period.

And the Absolutely Horrible


“I am going to spank that monkey!”

I am embarrassed to say that I’ve seen this movie. If this didn’t ruin director Bill Couturie career, nothing will. Let me summarize it for you, Matt LeBlanc playing a minor league baseball player + monkey (this is really a movie, I’m not making it up) who plays baseball = embarrassment to cinema/embarrassment to America as a whole/embarrassment to humanity as we know it.

For Love of the Game

I’m sorry Costner, I never wanted to put you in the same arena as Matt LeBlanc and a monkey, but, well…A souring relationship with his woman, and a dyeing baseball career can only be remedied by one thing—a completely unrealistic perfect game in New York helped out by about sixteen amazing defensive plays. I will give this movie credit for one thing, I like the sequence where “Paint it Black” is playing while Costner is pitching…other than that, hmm…


Blogger Passion of the Weiss said...

No Sandlot?

5:53 PM  
Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

Man, I once watched Little Big League on a plane and, I swear, time just moved backwards .. it was quite easily one of the worst movies I have ever seen ... If you like baseball movies, allow me to recommend "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg," a great and very reverent documentary made about hammerin' Hank by his daughter

6:39 PM  
Blogger Sandro said...

Hmm...Sandlot..shit...come back tomorrow for an update...I also forgot A League of Their Own. This, however, was left out intentionally as there is no category beyond "absolutely horrible."

Reel: I will have to check out that Greenberg movie. Though it's not baseball related I was once stuck on a plane with Bewitched...that was the closest I've come to hanging myself with a seatbelt.

8:38 PM  
Anonymous Zilla Rocca said...

What about "Bad News Bears?" That has to be one of the influential movies of all time. Every year, some studio trots out a P.O.S. about a ragtag team who can't get it together and a coach whose sole task is to get them to believe in each other and the game. (See "Mighty Ducks," "Uneccesary Roughness," "Mean Green," the new "The Longest Yard" et. al.)

"Fever Pitch" has to be one of the worst films ever made because Jimmy Fallon is the "star." He and Drew Barrymore on the field for Game 4 of the '04 WS still taints the whole moment to me.

Oh yeah, Roy Hobbs is the illest baseball player in the history of film. YEAH I SAID IT!

In fact, Sandro, here's my top 10 baseball movie characters:
1. Roy Hobbs "The Natural"
2. Crash Davis "Bull Durham"
3. Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn" from "Major League"
4. Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez "Sandlot"
5. Dottie Hinson "A League of Their Own"
6. Enrico Pulatzo "Naked Gun"
7. Amanda Whurlitzer "Bad News Bears"
8. Willie Mayes Hayes "Major League"
9. Hamilton "Hambino" Porter "Sandlot
10. Archie "Moonlight" Graham "Field of Dreams

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Pete said...

"This guy's dead!"
"Cross him off then..."

11:57 AM  
Blogger Sandro said... guys win...I have edited a few movies out such as The Natural, Bad News Bears, and some how the Sandlot. My excuse? You caught me...I've been sippin' syrup for weeks now and I love it!!!

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Zilla Mays Hayes said...


You should do a post fielding your own team only using players from baseball movies.

I did something like that on Nintendo's "Baseball Stars," still the BEST baseball game ever made. I fielded my team with the Indians from "Major League" and even had Jobu as a back-up infielder.

Yes, I currently have a girlfriend.

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. 3000 was a dog and almost made me stop watching Bernie Mac....terrible movie

1:15 PM  
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