Monday, August 10, 2015

10: Bull Durham

What? Smokey and the Bandit and now this? And Schindler's List and Dead Poets Society languishing in the 20s?

Again, it comes down to enjoyment and how it stands the test of time. Plot is straightforward enough - erratic yet talented young baseball pitcher (Tim Robbins) being mentored by older 'expert' who doesn't necessarily want to be there (Kevin Costner) - actually not too far from The Karate Kid in that respect, or a host of other similar movies. Add in the wildcard factor of Susan Sarandon's character also pulling Tim Robbins' young pitcher in her own direction, and you have what is both a love triangle and also a baseball/parenting thing. Add in some fun fringe characters - although there aren't really enough of those - and some dialogue and you have a fun film.

However, if that sounds a lot like the piece I wrote for the movie at number eleven, it has to be noted that there's a lot more to this than Smokey and the Bandit - there's a depth to it, a sense of sadness about how we always have to move on, about how even glorious summers come to an end, and even a little dose of Walt Whitman. And so it holds together as a character piece as much as a comedy sports movie - which is how it is marketed - and is well worth a second look from that perspective.

Still, though, it's the moments of comedy dialogue, usually between Costner and Robbins, that sparkle the most:

"Relax, all right? Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring. Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - they're more democratic."

"That sucker teed off on that like he knew I was gonna throw a fastball!"
"He did know."
"I told him."

"Man that ball got outta here in a hurry. I mean anything travels that far oughta have a stewardess on it, don't you think?"

"You guys. You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry?"

Nine movies above this one though, and we're about to seriously shift up a gear.

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