Take me out to the ball game

By Olivia Pettit Lindenlink Contributor

 

After clinching the wildcard and prevailing in a controversial bought with the Braves, St. Louis is on the hunt for a (Cardinal) Red October and another World Series title. What better way to celebrate the post-season of America’s favorite pastime than a baseball-themed cinema? Let’s round the bases.

Who’s on first? Six Oscar nods from last year’s Academy Awards is “Moneyball.”  Dangerously handsome Brad Pitt plays real-life figure, Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland Athletics. Beane turns the game on its head by crunching numbers and cutting costs to build a competitive ball club from a motley crew of all but forgotten players. An engaging screenplay keeps the plot rolling and the viewer in the game.  Relive the A’s stunning 2002 season and see Jonah Hill in a legitimate acting role. “Moneyball” plays next Friday night (Oct. 19) at 7 p.m. in Young Auditorium.

Second on base is a pillar of cinematic Americana, “Field of Dreams.” Humble Iowan farmer, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) begins hearing strange whispers. He interprets the voices not as early onset of dementia but a prompting to mow down his cornfields and make a baseball diamond.

Soon after, ghosts of the notorious Chicago Black Sox appear. Communication from the Great Beyond doesn’t let up. Ray enlists the aid of an author in hiding, Terence Mann (James Earl Jones), to decipher all the craziness. This movie boasts stellar acting through and through. If we screen it, will you come? “Field of Dreams” steps up to the plate next Saturday night (Oct. 20) at 7 p.m. in Young Auditorium.

Sliding into third is the most recent addition to the American baseball film roster, “Trouble with the Curve.”  Veteran baseball scout Gus Lobel (Clint Eastwood) is losing his eyesight and possibly his job. Lobel’s daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams) is called to assist Gus with his latest assignment. Eastwood is his usual gravely-voiced-crotchety-yet-endearing self. Surprisingly, Adams outshines her iconic co-star, delivering a wonderfully personable performance.  She begins as a cold corporate suit that can drink anyone under the table while pimp slapping ’em with exhaustive baseball knowledge. As the plot unfolds, she morphs into a tender (but still brutally witty) woman who longs to resolve her deep-seeded Daddy issues. Sadly, the story drags a bit and could benefit from tighter editing. However, there are some moving moments, wicked slow-motion pitching shots, and Justin Timberlake with no shirt on. Catch it in theaters or tag it for future rental.

Bringing it home next year is “42,” a heavy-hitting narrative about sports great and historical legend, Jackie Robinson.  The trailer is a must-see and may induce simultaneous weeping and fist pumping. Derek Luke might’ve vied for the lead role in this one but emerging actor, Chadwick Boseman, may kill it as Jack-Jack. Brooklyn, we go hard. Hell yeah!  “42” hopes to knock it out of the park in theaters on April 13,2013.  

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