Tag Archive: the sandlot


Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

While we are dealing with crazy weather, there is one constant that makes winter less bleak for me.

 

Baseball.

 

In mid-February, I do not know any sweeter words than “pitchers and catchers report.”

 

Bring on sub-zero temperatures, ice storms, and big thaws all in the same week. Bring on snow and rain and sleet because soon, very soon, the players will take the field in that spring ritual that leads us into a summertime of hope.

 

“The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.”

 

Image by D. Harder

Image by D. Harder

James Earl Jones states this while telling Kevin Costner that people will pay money to come to his farm in the middle of Iowa and sit on the bleachers to watch a field. Perhaps they see the players, perhaps they don’t. But what Field of Dreams, the best baseball movie ever, seemed to understand is that baseball is the undercurrent of our lives. It connects us to other people whether we are a participant or observer.

 

Bull Durham is the absolute best baseball movie because while the game might be the setting, it is dreams that are found or lost that drives the plot.

 

Another baseball movie that usually makes the list is Major League with Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger. The driving force to this baseball movie is the desire to stick it to an unfeeling owner determined to have a losing season so she can easily move the team to a different city.

 

The latest baseball movie to come to the home theater market is Trouble With The Curve starring Clint Eastwood as an aging baseball scout. He is having issues with his eyes which is not good for a man who watches baseball games to find the next best player.

 

Trouble with the curveBut he has other problems as well. He does not believe in computers as a way of predicting players. That makes some in management leery of depending on a guy who will not adapt to new technology. It makes his boss wonder what is going on and leads him to call Clint’s daughter, played by Amy Adams.

 

She became a lawyer to please him, except she has bitterness that has to do with the death of her mother and his abandonment of her as a child. But at this critical time in her career when she is being considered for partnership, she feels the need to take a few days to go with her father on a scouting trip.

 

I enjoyed the movie because there are some great moments between Adams and Eastwood. Justin Timberlake, John Goodman and Matthew Lillard provide good support as well.  But sports movies are built on clichés and this one has too many that are easy and pat. New technology being bested by the ‘old way.’ A trite conflict that ends a relationship at its start. A discovery of a player hinted at throughout the movie. A prospect who is demanding and arrogant in the worst ways.

 

Most baseball movies are really meant for adults, the language and/or context is saltier or deeper than most kids under the age of 10 are interested in hearing. That is true with Trouble With The Curve as a parent and his adult child try to reconcile what happened with the here and now.

 

If there was ever a great movie about baseball for kids, it has to be The Sandlot. This film came out in 1993 and did not seem like a big deal. It is about a bunch of kids who played ball in an empty sandlot everyday. When a new kid moves into the neighborhood, he lies about knowing how to play. But soon he is taken under the wing of the best player and that summer becomes memorable for many reasons.

 

Like many movies that seem like they are about nothing, this one brings back childhood memories that are sweet and horrible and the shaping forces of our life with baseball as the background.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 

 

 

The Sporty Life

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

Sports have filled our life lately.

 

This past weekend was opening day festivities for tee ball/softball/baseball season. We had great weather for the parade, pictures and some games. The rain delayed until Sunday night.

 

I was lucky, I was only sunburned a little bit on the legs. That is a miracle for me, usually I am red from head to toe but a little sunscreen did a lot of work.

 

The other sports action was David going with some friends to the Brickyard in Indianapolis as the racers vied for the pole position of the Indy 500 scheduled for this coming weekend. The best part was when he sent a picture of himself with Mario Andretti, the 1969 winner of the Indy 500. I get chills thinking about it.

 

Oh, and did I mention that the Sox swept their opponent this past weekend? I am not sure what could have been a better weekend.

 

Image from IMDb.com

So I was trying to think of movie tie-ins for all of this. Most people know my favorite baseball movies includeMajor League, Bull Durham, The Natural and Field of Dreams. These are adult oriented movies that tend to about more than baseball but retain that dreaminess that I associate with baseball.

 

A movie that you can watch with your teenage girls is A League of Their Own. But let me warn you that boxes of tissues will be needed by the end of the movie. My all time favorite kid movie about baseball is forever moreThe Sandlot. All you ever have to do is say “You’re killing me, Smalls” and some adult will automatically smile.

 

Baseball, with all of its economic realities, maintains a slow pace. It reminds us that some things take time to happen and we must be patient. Adding a new movie to the pantheon is not easy. But this year I now need to put Moneyball starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill up there.

 

The story is about how a general manager was brave and began using sabermetrics to determine what player to get for various positions. For a team like Oakland , this was important when you have little money to utilize. I was drawn into the movie, could not believe that Pitt and Hill made math interesting. Oh, and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the frustrated coach was great as well.

 

Image from IMDb.com

When it comes to car racing movies, I am not much of an expert but I know how to find one. While all of those Burt Reynolds Cannonball Run movies might come to mind or the Fast and the Furious series, I found one that might beat them all.

 

Back in 1971, Steve McQueen made a movie about a famous European race called simply Le Mans. Set in France , the Le Mans is an endurance race as two drivers take turns driving 200 mph for 24 hours. The McQueen vehicle explains life at two-hour intervals. Considered one of the best racing movies that is almost a documentary.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Just because we have gotten our first snow fall of the season does not mean we cannot look forward to the four most beautiful words one can hear during winter.

Pitchers and catchers report.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

I thought about that last night when I stopped at our little grocery store and saw Moneyball on the dvd rental shelves.

This is one movie I meant to see in the theater and never got around to. The story follows a baseball executive who decides to try something different to find players to make his professional team better without spending money he does not have.

It is a wild idea and he does it with the help of a statistics geek by looking for players who do the little things right.

Crazy, I know.

The movie takes place ten years ago and what Billy Beane was doing at that time was cause for derision. But he was able to take his $37 million team to the play-offs and has repeated that feat several times. These days, Sabermetrics is used all over the league in one form or another.  

Another reason to see this movie is that there is Oscar talk around Brad Pitt and his performance. Jonah Hill is beginning to blossom as an actor as he keeps getting better and better parts. What Hill and Pitt do is make a discussion about math and baseball interesting and relevant.

So what other baseball movies should you see, if you count yourself a true movie and baseball fan?

Poster Image from IMDb.com

Absolutely, you have to have seen Field of Dreams and Bull Durham . Both star Kevin Costner about a man who has baseball as in integral part of his life. The former is about a farmer in Iowa who hears a voice telling him to ‘build it and they will come.’ So he builds a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield and one night Shoeless Joe Jackson comes out of the cornfield to play catch.

This is only the first part of a wild and crazy adventure that leads to Boston and Minnesota . There are men who cry only with this movie and for one specific scene. This movie talks about why we love baseball and gets it right.

So why Bull Durham ?

I find it to be one of the best movies about the life. Costner plays an aging catcher brought on to train an up-and-coming pitcher with a unreliable rocket thrower for an arm. Tim Robbins makes a big splash as Lash Larue. Then there is Susan Sarrandon as the fan who trains one player each season. This movie is definitely made for adults and not for kiddie viewing at all.

Poster Image from IMDb.com

The best kid movie about baseball that I know is The Sandlot. The story is about a boy who moves to a new town when his mother remarries. He finds himself drawn to a group of boys who play baseball in an empty sandlot every day. The kid is eventually accepted by the other despite being a deplorable player and they go on to have several memorable adventures.

It is a great movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.