Skip to main content

Review: The Anti-Moneyball (Trouble with the Curve)

As Trouble with the Curve begins, an array of images are glossed over as Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) walks down the hallway of his home. Don Sutton, Dale Murphy and Hank Aaron are all on display. The glory days are over this moment suggests, though those figures photographed would never admit it.

Gus, a longtime Braves scout, operates with a similar sense of denial. His contract is three months away from expiring and Phil Sanderson (Matthew Lillard having a career renaissance as a dick) and his computer-based scouting are leaning toward sending the old horse out to stud. Pete (John Goodman), the Director of Scouting, isn't convinced that Gus is done and wants to send him down to South Carolina to assess a potential franchise-player. The only problem? Gus's vision is going, but he is too stubborn to say so.

Mickey (Amy Adams) is just as stubborn as her father. She hasn't had a Saturday off and years, yet she still hopes to be made a partner at the firm. At Pete's behest, she decides to take some time off of work and go with her father to South Carolina. The two have been semi-estranged since the death of Mickey's mother and Gus leaving her while he went on the road. Life as a scout wouldn't be right for a girl, Gus argues, but Mickey could not be more adamant that he is wrong. As the two strive to get along while they both struggle with their own careers, both find out a second pair of eyes can offer a great deal of insight.

Amy Adams and Clint Eastwood butt heads magnificently. When Adams and Eastwood are taking in a game, or fighting in a pool hall, the film is at its best. Trouble with the Curve has some faults with its writing, but the chemistry between the three leads appears in spades. Eastwood cashing in on his trademark grizzly bear visage clashes wonderfully with Adams's feistiness.

However, the film flounders when it focuses on the high school prospect that Gus and Johnny (Justin Timberlake), a rival scout, are both eyeing for the draft. The dialogue has a distinct tin-sound to it and ultimately it means nothing toward the development of Gus and Mickey's fractured relationship. Unfortunately, Trouble loses sight of the game often. Focusing on the arrogant Bo Gentry and the nefarious dealings of Matthew Lillard's scummy Sanderson just rings false in a film that at the end feels just a little too good.

**1/2 out of ****

Popular posts from this blog

Herman Melville and Office Space

Just from gleaning the surface of Office Space one would assume that there isn't anything simmering below the surface except for a raunchy work-comedy, but they would be wrong.
After the harsh critical reception of his greatest work Moby Dick Melville wrote a collection of short stories called Bartleby and Benito Cereno perhaps the greatest slam at the time against industrial America. Bartleby is the story of a Wall Street copyist who has his three employees proof-read and copy law forms. Shortly into the story Bartleby starts responding to work commands with, "I would prefer not to." Frustrated by his employee's subordination the Narrator tries to have him fired but Bartleby refuses to leave the office. The Narrator comes back the following morning to find Bartleby living inside his office. Bartleby becomes increasingly less apt to perform basic functions as eating after he is jailed for trespassing and dies in a jail cell. What at once starts out as a comedy has …

Paprika vs. Inception

Months before Inception hit the theaters forums were alive with rumors that Christopher Nolan either accidentally or intentionally stole some details from another film, the Japanese anime Paprika. The biggest point of comparison for some bloggers and forum runners was the fact that both of the films featured a device that allowed a person, or people, to travel into another’s dreams and delve into their subconscious.
Minor points of comparison include scenes in Paprika where the character Paprika breaks through a mirrored wall by holding her hand to it, as well as a scene where a police detective falls his way down a hallway. Claims have been made that Inception abounds with imagery similar to or exactly like the anime movie, but with the recent release of the film on DVD and Blu-Ray, and with Paprika available for several years now, an examination of the two plots can be made more fully.
Let us begin with the primary claim—Inception stole the idea of a dream machine from Paprika. It …

The Snowman Giveaway

The Snowman, a terrifying thriller based on the novel by Jo Nesbø, is being released on Oct 19th. To celebrate the release of the new thriller starring Michael Fassbender and Rebecca Ferguson, Never Mind Pop Film is hosting a Snowman Killer Blog App and a giveaway for readers.


The Snowman pack has:
1 - Limited Edition Snowman Plush Doll: This limited edition Snowman plush is only available via this promotion and has a run of 200 pieces worldwide. It is a replica of the killer’s Snowman and features a detachable head and the Snowman logo on the bottom.
1 - The Snowman Official Promo Shirt - An official promo T-Shirt featuring The Snowman logo on the front and the signature design on the back.
1 - Replica Snowman Killer Letter - A replica of the Snowman killer’s note, sealed.

All you have to do to win is follow @thesnowmanmovieand tweet @wordsbycbiggs with the hashtag #thesnowmanpack. You must submit your tweet by October 25th to participate. Giveaway open to the U.S. and Canada.