While Clint Eastwood needs to stay away from weak and rude political satire at political conventions, he certainly shouldn’t quit his day job. I must admit I was predisposed to like this movie because: 1) it’s a baseball movie and I’m a baseball kinda guy; 2) it’s filmed in and the story involves the North Carolina mountains and the Atlanta Braves; and 3) I like Amy Adams as a maturing young actress and Clint gets to play his grumpy old man routine once more, very effectively. Justin Timberlake isn’t bad either, nor is John Goodman. Besides all that, it’s been so long since I’ve seen an enjoyable movie I’ll take a enjoyable non-classic like this one over nothing worth watching on TV.
The story is short and sweet (one hour and fifty one minutes) and it has some surprise moments in it. In fact, I got completely ambushed by one emotional scene where Gus Lobel (Clint as an old and old school baseball scout for the Braves) is sitting in the graveyard next to his wife’s grave and talking to her while having a beer, and then he begins to sing ‘You are my Sunshine…’ It is an emotional scene to start with, but it hit me right in the heart, because this is what I used to sing to our daughter Christy at night at bedtime, and the last time I heard this song, I was singing it to Christy during the last moments I saw her in the flesh— in a casket at Kerr funeral home. For me, the scene was heartbreaking.
As a baseball movie it takes the new angle of seeing the sport through the eyes of a veteran scout, who has trouble seeing or relating to anyone, never mind to his lovely daughter who also loves baseball. But she has spent too much of her life trying to win his approval, even by becoming a lawyer with a good paying job.
In one sense, this is only incidentally a baseball film. It’s more of a family film, and I recommend it for families. It does not involve sex, drugs, or much bad language— really it doesn’t. I realize that’s hard to imagine. Instead it focuses on the repairing of broken family relationships, with a pinch of romance thrown in on the side. It even has a surprise ending of sorts.
So, if you are looking for a fun, short, diversion from whatever it is that is dragging you down, this movie which has some heart may warm yours. Despite the emotional upheaval of that graveyard scene, it certainly warmed mine.