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Not all baseball movies are "Bull Durham"

Jun 18, 2010, 3:16 PM EDT

Baseball movies are difficult beasts because baseball, by its very nature, doesn’t lend itself well to the Hollywood forumla. Rarely is there “one big game” and no amount of training montages can really convincingly turn someone into a champ. The drama of the game is just a bit too nuanced for the rah-rah, ya know?

As a result, the best baseball movies tend to be about things other than baseball. My favorite baseball movie — Bull Durham — is really a romantic comedy. “Major League” is awesome too, but it’s really a football movie — a band of misfits! The Big Game! — transplanted into baseball. It’s calling card is really the comedy, not the sports story. “Field of Dreams” is a tear jerker family drama New Age mess. It’s essential plot could have been moved along with anything. Baseball was just a giant McGuffin, really.

I mention all of this, because I’m hoping the latest baseball movie to hit production has something else going on with it too, or else it’s gonna be a real stinker:

Bradley Cooper may be a member of The A-Team now, but he could be Double-A or Triple-A in the baseball flick Disney is developing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he’s attached to star in an untitled dramedy about an injured big league player who gets sent back to the minors — “where the only place he can find lodging is in a senior citizens’ home.”

“There,” the trade continues, “he meets an old baseball guru who helps lead him back.”

I got $100 on the guru being played by Morgan Freeman.  Anyone want any part of that action?  Yeah, I didn’t think so. Freeman could probably start running lines now before the producers even contact him it’s so obviously his role.

Any other casting suggestions to the comments, please.

  1. The Common Man - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    I suggest that Hollywood not make this movie. Are they going to awkwardly shoe in a rom-com love story too? Does he meet-cute with a single mom when he hits her with a foul ball?

  2. Xpensive Wino - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Robert Duvall.

  3. nps6724 - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    Get Costner to do it. He already did it for Nuke so he has the experience. The article says he’s not old enough, but he’s 55. That’s 15 years older than even the top players are when they usually retire.
    Though I do like their suggestion of Robert Redford. The Natural as an old baseball guru? Hells yes.
    I’d say no to Eastwood though. He seems too curmudgeony for a dramedy. If it were a straight drama, sure (Million Dollar Baby).

  4. nps6724 - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Nah, he writes his number on a ball and tosses it to her during an extra-inning game.

  5. WellNow - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:45 PM

    Gene Hackman
    Jack Nicholson

  6. YankeesfanLen - Jun 18, 2010 at 3:48 PM

    Come again- How are Hannah Montana and the Jonas brothes gonna fit into this proposed mess? Hand it over to Pixar.

  7. malmstorm - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:00 PM

    Walken?

  8. Ace2000 - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Hackman was totally my first choice too, until I realized this movie would likely be way beneath his talents. Maybe a Wilford Brimley would be more appropriate?

  9. Michael C - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    I don’t care what the movie is about. It’s time for another big tear-jerker, unrealistic baseball movie. Sugar–too harsh, not enough rah-rah. This one, this one will hit the spot.

  10. DG1965 - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    Forget casting choices. Your take down of Field of Dreams is ridiculous. Or else you were the only male in the theater when I saw it who didn’t have red eyes on the way out. I mean seriously: its far from perfect but a “mess”? Yeah, the plot could have been moved along with something else. But it wasn’t. You’re not a human being, let alone a red-blooded American male fan of baseball if you aren’t moved by the “People will come, Ray” speech let alone “Hey, um … Dad? Do you wanna have a catch?”
    http://www.americanrhetoric.com/mp3clips/newmoviespeeches/moviespeechfieldofdreams325325329.mp3

  11. scatterbrian - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    Hackman doesn’t really do comedy.

  12. scatterbrian - Jun 18, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    James Gammon

  13. JBerardi - Jun 18, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Charlie Pierce:

    “…even if you buy the conversion of the novel’s J.D. Salinger character into the reclusive black-activist played by James Earl Jones, having done so, do you think that character wouldn’t have noticed that there didn’t seem to be any room for Josh Gibson, or Cool Papa Bell, or Buck Leonard out there beyond the cornfield? Heaven, apparently, is as segregated as the 1939 St. Louis Browns. Do you further think that a guy who seems at one point to be halfway between James Baldwin and LeRoi Jones would deliver that ghastly paean to the days of segregated baseball to an all-white audience? This movie is as false as blue money to its most fundamental premise.”

    http://www.boston.com/sports/columnists/pierce/2010/05/plant_the_corn_again_please.html

  14. Mike T. - Jun 18, 2010 at 5:33 PM

    Field of Dreams is indeed a mess. I was one of the males who saw it and when I left the theater my eyes were not red with tears but my throat was thick with bile. Blech.
    But, Craig, the second best baseball movie after Bull Durham, which I love, is definitely The Bad News Bears.

  15. nps6724 - Jun 18, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    He was good in The Replacements. Just let him be the light-hearted-but-stern coach and leave the comedy to Cooper and you’d be fine.

  16. Buccofan - Jun 18, 2010 at 6:59 PM

    Young Frankenstein. Hackman was brilliant as the blind man.

  17. Gorbachav5 - Jun 18, 2010 at 7:07 PM

    Bull Durham is terrible. Field of Dreams is a much more enjoyable movie.

  18. Ditto65 - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:27 PM

    How do you fit in the dance scene?

  19. Ditto65 - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    Crash: “Relax, all right? Don’t try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they’re fascist. Throw some ground balls – it’s more democratic.”
    Best line in a romantic comedy/baseball movie

  20. Ditto65 - Jun 18, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    Original or remake?

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