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Trouble with “Trouble with the Curve”

Sep 24, 2012, 9:41 AM EDT


I haven’t seen the new Clint Eastwood baseball flick, “Trouble with the Curve,” but the reviews from people whose opinions on such matters I respect are starting to come in and it’s sounding dire.

First was Grant Brisbee, who gives a very detailed review, complete with spoiling plot points, so be warned. To be fair, he does explicitly say that his review is precisely so you don’t have to see it. And he really recommends that you don’t see it.

The second one comes from Emma Span. Who, you should know, spends one night a week intentionally watching awful movies and (from what I can tell anyway) enjoying them unironically, even if, as I suspect, the habit began out of an ironic impulse.  She will sit and tell you about how good movies like “Sharktopus” are, for crying out loud.

Like Grant, Emma pans “Trouble with the Curve” on its baseball merits (Grant goes on about how lame the larger, non-basebally elements are too).  The upshot: its portrayal of the baseball world is just terrible. The bad guy — the Billy Zabka character, really — is a paper thin caricature of a stats-oriented analyst. And indeed, would have been the straw-i-est strawman in history even if the movie was written in 2002 by a person who prayed to an altar of Billy Beane made out of TI-85 calculators.

The line from the anti-Eastwood that sums it all up:

“I don’t need to see him play! I’ve got it right here on my computer.”

Even RoboSaberGM would fire that guy on the spot for saying such a thing.

But hey, “Titanic” made a billion dollars even though its villain all but twirled his mustache while tying a maiden to the train tracks, so I suppose “Trouble with the Curve” will be OK.

For my part, I’m off to watch “Unforgiven” instead.

  1. southofheaven81 - Sep 24, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    3 things:

    1). The A.V. Club, which is one of the only sites whose reviews I trust, gave it a generally positive review.,85174/

    2). Billy Zane is the best thing about Titanic. He’s the only guy in the cast who realized exactly what kind of silly B-movie they were making underneath that massive budget, and acted accordingly. “Not the BETTER half! Muahahaha!!!”

    3). It’s a movie about a cranky baseball scout starring Clint goddamn Eastwood. Therefore, I’m going to see it with my dad. End of story.

    • protius - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM

      Grant Brisbee and Emma Span’s reviews are politically motivated.

      They were both seen talking to an empty suit when they released their comments to the public.

  2. shaggylocks - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    The Red Sox have the #1 pick in the draft? Geez, I knew they were bad this season, but they’re no Astros.

  3. chadjones27 - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Is this movie going to be Gran Torino without the cursing? Booo! But it has Amy Adams. Yeah! And Justin Timberlake. Boo? Yeah? That could go either way.

  4. A.J. - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    Will Leitch also liked the movie, though he did say the baseball stuff is awful.

  5. Francisco (FC) - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    Clint is kind of hit & miss with some of these flicks where he plays the grouchy get-off-my-lawn type (In fact, in Gran Torino he actually said those lines, albeit with a shotgun in his hands)

    • umrguy42 - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      I hate to be “that guy”, but that was definitely a rifle, I think an M1 Garand, not a shotgun :p

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 24, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        Well it’s been years since I’ve seen the movie, you’ll have to forgive me.

      • umrguy42 - Sep 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM

        No worries :) Besides, now you have more info to use in your next post about Craig in the Lair :p

    • indaburg - Sep 24, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      I’m not planning on seeing this movie. I’m a little tired of seeing Clint play the same character in every movie. It’s the same old formula:
      Grouchy old man + baseball
      Grouchy old man + Asian neighbors
      Grouchy old man + female boxer
      Grouchy old man + empty chair. Oh, wait, he wasn’t acting in that one? Never mind.

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 24, 2012 at 1:49 PM

        You forgot Grouchy old man + Grouchier old man + Grouchy and exasperating old man + Funny 0ld kook + Astronauts.

      • badintent - Sep 25, 2012 at 1:04 AM

        It’s called Method Acting. First he eats some really hard biscuits , then takes a dump, then his hemmorroids Act up and he gets grouchy(er) I think he does get the Oscar for the empty chair, God knows it was better than anything Damon and Pitt could do..

  6. Carl Hancock - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    No surprise that this was written by Craig Calcaterra. Apparently when he’s not tripping over himself to write something negative about the St. Louis Cardinals he’s rushing to write a post about a movie he’s never even seen. Stay classy Craig.

    • natslady - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:24 AM

      Craig said up front he hadn’t seen the movie and was citing reviewers’ opinions, not his own. Some of his posts are intended to inform and provoke discussion, and I don’t see what’s wrong with that. It’s when he pretends to be an expert what the Nationals should do (or shouldn’t do) that I get on his case… 😉

      • realgone2 - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:34 AM

        I bash Craig, but he told you out right he hadn’t seen the movie yet. Reading comprehension!

    • Jeremy Fox - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      Yes, how dare Craig write on a baseball blog that a baseball movie has just been released, and that while he hasn’t seen it, he’s read some reviews of it?! What a classless jerk! Craig, we demand that you completely ignore any baseball-related news of which you have no first hand knowledge!

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      Can someone please tell me what the hell Carl is talking about? He obviously has C.C. confused with another writer. Then…he tops this by busting his balls over writing an article about a movie HE OPENLY ADMITTED TO HAVING NOT WATCHED!
      Carl: He provided comments from those that have watched the movie.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:32 AM

        Wait a sec, there are different writers? Thought they were all just pen names of the same autonomous robot…

    • umrguy42 - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:57 AM

      Dude – that’s Matthew “dipwad” Pouliot who hates the Cards. Craig’s pretty even-handed with the Cardinals, from what I’ve seen, even after last season

  7. natslady - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    Our local reviewer (Ann Hornaday) doesn’t discuss the baseball aspects at all, but she doesn’t much like the movie.

    By the time “Trouble With the Curve” reaches its dramatic — and manipulatively contrived — third-act reveal, it resembles the kind of bland, pictures-of-people talking that all too often pass for movies these days. “Trouble With the Curve” presents viewers with a frustrating change-up: What promised to be a modest, refreshingly unforced little comedy turns out to be low energy to a fault.,1223839/critic-review.html

    • mazblast - Sep 24, 2012 at 5:32 PM

      Yeah, and a writer for the Washington Post is not going to be politically motivated or subject to any editorial pressure when writing about something involving Clint Eastwood. Right. Sure. Got it. Uh huh. It may in fact suck (most baseball movies do, including “Moneyball”), but I doubt that the relative quality or lack thereof on the part of the movie has anything to do with the WaPo saying it sucks.

      I still don’t intend to see the movie, at least not until it’s out on DVD, but that’s because I don’t like too many movies (the writing, directing, and acting tend to suck) and can’t stand the behavior of the patrons.

  8. jsally430 - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    liberal media attacking Clint? probably

    • shaggylocks - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:01 AM

      It’s funny you think that. I’m a liberal, and I love Eastwood’s movies, both as an actor and a director. And I’ve noticed that after the whole empty chair thing a lot of liberal commentators would qualify their critiques by saying that they still loved his film work, regardless of his odd political display. Like, it happened enough that I noticed it as a trend. So maybe Clint just made a crummy movie. That can happen sometimes even without a liberal media conspiracy.

      And that premise is predicated on the existence of a liberal media, which is bupkis anyway.

      • skids003 - Sep 24, 2012 at 12:16 PM

        Dude, if you think the media is NOT overly liberal, you must be blind.

      • 4cornersfan - Sep 24, 2012 at 4:02 PM

        skids003: conservatives think that anything that isn’t on Fox News is overly liberal. Get a grip.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 25, 2012 at 10:08 AM

        “And that premise is predicated on the existence of a liberal media, which is bupkis anyway.”
        You can’t possibly believe this Shaggy!
        If so…
        I have some prime ocean front property in Arizona I could be persuaded to part with on the cheap!

    • Lukehart80 - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:39 AM

      Craig also says he’s going to go watch “Unforgiven,” so what was your point about him bashing Eastwood for political reasons again?

    • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 24, 2012 at 2:09 PM

      LOL Yes, Liberal Hollywood has always been out to get Clint
      Practically blackballed he was I tells ya

  9. RickyB - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:26 AM

    Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.

    • 4cornersfan - Sep 24, 2012 at 4:03 PM

      Any man that don’t wanna get killed get out the back.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 25, 2012 at 10:10 AM

        “conservatives think that anything that isn’t on Fox News is overly liberal.”
        Simply put…not true. Wow. Pigeon Hole much?

  10. vincentbojackson - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Sounds like there’s going to be a lot of “empty chairs” for Clint to talk to in the theaters.

    • realgone2 - Sep 24, 2012 at 10:36 AM


  11. badmamainphilliesjamas - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:26 AM

    I saw it this weekend — not bad, not great, but too slow for its own good and fairly predictable.

    Eastwood has become a caricature of himself–crusty old curmudgeon who can see the truth when the callow young whippersnappers can’t. Mix in some family dysfunction and a little romance. Meh.

  12. yahmule - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    The baseball sequences couldn’t be any more unbelievable than the way boxing was depicted in Million Dollar Baby. The villain in that movie would have been ejected from a Vince McMahon event let alone a boxing match.

    Most movies seem to pander to the dumbest people in the audience when it comes to their depiction of heels. They seem to want to erase any possibility of gray area between hero and villain. Ron Howard seems to be the worst offender. Cinderella Man was an absolute disgrace.

    • 4cornersfan - Sep 24, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      Heartbreak Ridge was an awful portrayal of the Marines. The thought that some dipshit private would even THINK about talking back to a gunny makes me shudder.

      • mazblast - Sep 24, 2012 at 5:37 PM

        Some dipshit privates do talk back to their gunny.


        Then, if they’re still alive, they “unf**k themselves” and get with the program.

      • badintent - Sep 25, 2012 at 1:12 AM

        Privates that talk back to their DIs are taken for a nice 25 mile walk in the desert behind Camp Pemberton at noon with 50 pounds on the back. And no water. When said private passes out and dies, parents are notified with ” He got lost by himself on a practice warfare drill and failed to carry out his orders to bring water and a compass.” Happens once or twice a year to make an example to any other privates who might think yapping back is OK.

  13. dexterismyhero - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    @shaggylocks: And that premise is predicated on the existence of a liberal media, which is bupkis anyway.

    best line of the year…………………….Not……………….

    You are Joe King aren’t you?

    • shaggylocks - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:48 AM

      Yeah, the idea that there is a liberal news media is a myth.

      Got an hour to kill?

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 25, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        All you have to do is consistently watch the several different programs for about a week.
        Do this…and you won’t need a Youtube video to “do your thinking for you.”
        Only then will you appreciate that everyone has an agenda.
        You can’t be that naive Shaggy. I simply don’t believe that.

  14. xmatt0926x - Sep 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Wait a second. Are you telling me that there are actually people out there who felt this would have accurate baseball aspects and are judging it based on that? Come on people. Have you seen the previews? This is purely a feel good, daughter gets back in touch with grumpy ol’ daddy flick with a little baseball thrown in for the rest of the story line. If you went on expecting accurate portrayals of baseball scouts or the everyday running of a real franchise then you should be slapped in the face and handed back to your momma. Or something like that.

  15. metalhead65 - Sep 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    if a critic does not like then that means go see it in my book. I saw it and it was a great movie with great perfomances. the story may seem predictable to some but the fact it works shows that it is good. I know of 3 other couples that saw it and loved it before any stupid reviews so I say go see it. as far as seeing unforgiven aren’t you the same guy accusing me of living in the past because I do not live in the world of saber metrics? but you would rather watch a 30 year old movie than give a new one a chance?

    • paperlions - Sep 24, 2012 at 1:09 PM

      Well, yeah. Everyone doesn’t go to the movies for the same reasons.

      Some people like to see movies that have no surprises, where you can tell what is going to happen after the first 5 minutes, you look forward to the story you already know is going to happen unfolding, and it doesn’t require you to pay attention or think at all. They are like re-runs you haven’t seen before.

    • rodtorfelson - Sep 24, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      You only see films critics don’t recommend? Hope you enjoyed spending you hard earned money on “Battleship!”

      • js20011041 - Sep 24, 2012 at 4:11 PM

        Truly awful. Battleship was about as entertaining as watching two people play the board game. Just more explosions and worse acting.

  16. prime311 - Sep 24, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Whats the point of indiscriminately choosing and quoting 2 critics when you can go to Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic and get a real concensus(fyi: its ho-hum middle of the road for this movie).

  17. phillyphannn83 - Sep 24, 2012 at 2:04 PM

    this movie was made to be a chick-flick baseball movie but apparently its worse than “A League of Their Own.” That’s all you need to know.

    • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 24, 2012 at 2:14 PM

      A league of their own was an excellent movie

      What are you? So insecure about your man-hood you overcompensat? Or just have no clue what makes good film?

      • js20011041 - Sep 24, 2012 at 4:14 PM

        The thing that made a League of Their Own such a great movie was that it wasn’t actually a chick flick, it was just a movie about chicks. Chick flicks are awful.

  18. theawesomersfranchise - Sep 24, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    After seeing this movie it is practically required to download and watch the Dollars trilogy just to remind you of what was

  19. kevinbnyc - Sep 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Must. See. Sharktopus.

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