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Trouble With the Curve: Baseball Movies

Trouble With the Curve

Trouble With the Curve stars Clint Eastwood

Another Friday means another movie night for some, and I will again give you an alternative to going to stand in long lines and paying too much for popcorn.  Trouble with the Curve stars Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, and Justin Timberlake.  Eastwood plays Gus, an old time scout who is starting to lose his eyesight but needs to come through on deciding whether or not the Atlanta Braves should spend their first round pick on a highly touted high school prospect.

This may sound a little boring if you are not a baseball fan, but I’m assuming you enjoy the game being on my website.  As with other baseball movies, there are subtle name drops throughout that fans will enjoy, especially if you follow the Braves like I do.

Gus is on the brink of retirement according to the Braves.  He has been scouting for decades and has signed some great talent, but his days appear to be numbered from his latest track record.  He is one of those people who like the times they come from and refuse to adapt to the changing world around them.  The most prevalent example is the fact that Gus does not own a computer and loathes other scouts who look at them constantly.  While this may seem outlandish to younger viewers, that is the mindset when dealing with some old scouts in professional baseball.

Amy Adams plays the role of Mickey, Gus’s daughter.  She is a hard working business woman who is trying to become a partner at her firm.  The thing about Mickey is that she knows more about baseball than most baseball analysts.  When she and Johnny (Justin Timberlake) get into a trivia game later in the movie, I find it hard to believe that someone would know as much as she does, but it is a movie after all.

The prospect in question is Bo Gentry, played by Joe Massingill.  What intrigues me about this character is how he comes across as arrogant, selfish, and very pompous towards his high school teammates and others around him.  He knows he is being looked at by every big league scout and constantly talks about what he is going to do once he makes it to the Major Leagues.  While most draft picks today are humble about their gifts for playing baseball and work hard at what they do, Gentry is the epitome of what it means to be a team player.  This ultimately has no effect on the outcome of the draft in the movie, but it is a character’s personal issues worthy of note.

Eastwood’s character reminded me of the role he played in Gran Torino; he is a grumpy old man who is having health problems, he has a deceased wife whom he misses dearly, and he has relationship problems with his children.  He is essentially the same character with a baseball job that is a little more personable and actually has some friends.  If you have seen Gran Torino you will know exactly what I am talking about from the start of the movie.

My favorite character has to be Johnny.  Justin Timberlake is actually a decent actor, although he doesn’t quite come across as the ex-Major League pitcher he is supposed to be.  He has witty lines throughout the movie and is a ladies man as he tries to win over Mickey after meeting her at the ball park a few times, as well as the bars that the scouts go to at night.  Timberlake never actually throws a baseball in Trouble With the Curve, so I am guessing that he doesn’t have the most fluid arm motion or baseball ability.  His character is more so a has been who has given up playing and is focused solely on the front office aspect of his career, as Johnny merely gives a brief story of his playing days.  He does not go into much detail about himself, nor are there any flashbacks showing him on the field.  This keeps the movie focused on Gus and Mickey which was the intention of the director.

John Goodman also stars in the movie, as he is Gus’s best friend and the reason that Mickey ends up accompanying Gus on his scouting road trip.  He has a few scenes in the movie, but his character provides minimal impact throughout the film.  There aren’t many jokes from the character Pete Klein, and he serves mainly as the connection between Gus and the front office of the Braves.

Trouble With the Curve definitely a Hollywood film

Trouble with the Curve is predictable the further it gets into the film. This can be a bad thing if you like surprises and want to be caught off guard with a plot twist.  It can also be a good thing if you would rather watch the movie for its subtleties since you already have an idea of what is going to happen.  Either way, you won’t be surprised at the end as it stays true to a classic happy ending.  Sorry if that ruined it for you.

Trouble With the Curve

Gus scouted Johnny, whose career was cut short by an injury

There aren’t many Major League clips, if any, since this movie is more about the scouting and road trip of Gus.  Besides the name drops that I mentioned before, the only professional baseball scenes takes place at Turner Field.  The majority of the baseball scenes are high school baseball games with high school age players and fans.  I’m not sure what high school baseball is like in North Carolina, but it seemed realistic and believable to me in terms of the atmosphere and scenery at the fields.  The players ride to games on a school bus and leave with their parents after the games.  It actually brought back a few memories for me remembering what it was like playing at that age.

It definitely helps if you are a baseball fan to enjoy this movie.  The story line is obviously about America’s favorite pastime, but there is enough off-the-field action going on to hold the interest of a non-baseball lover.  The father-daughter relationship is very intriguing, although I cannot personally relate to those interactions between Gus and Mickey.  There is Mickey’s business life and Gus’s baseball life that become intertwined despite what they each want individually.  It is both family movie and one that someone can relate to on an individual level.

If you are a Clint Eastwood fan, I would encourage you to watch this.  He plays very true to himself and is very believable in his actions throughout the movie.  It almost seems like he isn’t even acting and actually living out his life.  That is what makes for a great actor isn’t it?  The title of the movie is a play on words in itself, because if you can only hit the fastball, you have trouble with the curve.

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