Drama, 111 Minutes, 2012
I’m not a sports fan. I don’t really have much use for them. Sure I’ve had the occasional decent time watching a game with friends and I’m just as mesmerized as the next guy by the insanity that parades across ESPN 3 but, in general, they’re just not my thing. Too much work for too little gain, in my opinion.
But I love sports movies.
In a sports movie, I get everything I need from sports in a handy, travel-sized container. I don’t have to follow rosters or schedules, I don’t have to memorize the outcome of decades-old games, and I don’t have to stockpile statistics like cord wood. I can just sit back and know that the good guys are going to win and that’s great because I was also told me who the good guys are.
This is the kind of sports movie that I really like because it’s really not about sports, per se, but rather about the behind the scenes stuff that makes sports tick. Sports is a colorful backdrop. In this case we follow Gus, an aged baseball scout played by Clint Eastwood [IMDB], on his last mission. He’s got problems with his eyes but refuses to admit it so his spunky daughter Mickey, played by Amy Adams [IMDB], takes a leave from her high-stakes job to help him out.
Like most sports movies, this one is jammed to the cheap seats with all the very best clichés. Gus is set-in-his ways, grumpy and anti-technology. He and his daughter have a communication problem. There’s an arrogant young whipper-snapper that thinks his computer can do everything Gus does, but better. There’s a love interest in the form of a washed up pitcher that has a philosophical outlook on life. There’s an egomaniac that gives the games a bad name and an unknown star plucked from the unlikeliest of places.
A good sports movie makes sure that the good guys get what they want (or at least what they need). If something bad happens to somebody you’re emotionally covered because they’re intensely, ridiculously, cartoonishly unlikable. You can just fade out and follow the bouncing ball because a good sports movie makes sure that nothing is too complicated and everything is exactly as it seems.
This is a good sports movie. Eastwood is still great and Adams is a joy, as always. The supporting cast is well-selected and impressive. The characters aren’t simple, but interesting and likable – unless they’re not supposed to be. Yes, of course it’s shallow and predictable: it’s a sports movie! You either love them or you hate them.