Friday, September 7, 2012
Trouble with the Curve (PG-13/111 Min.)
Okay, I know this isn’t a football movie but it’s what was playing and what I was given free passes for. I’ll get to that list later.
I have a love/hate relationship going on with Clint Eastwood movies. I either love ‘em or I hate’em. You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you? We’ll get to that kind of predictability later. This relationship has been going on for years. Until now. Trouble with the Curve starts off very VERY badly. It begins with Clint using the bathroom and taking to his…er…member. I have never, in my entire life, had any desire to watch someone use the bathroom. Nor have I wanted to hear them have a discussion with their parts about it. I’m kinda weird that way. Once that’s done it does get a little better. I mean, it had to, right? It still took a while to become bearable but it eventually came around.
Trouble with the Curve is the story of Gus Lobel, a scout for the Atlanta Braves, and his estranged daughter Mickey, an attorney. Mickey is on the verge of becoming a partner at her law firm when she discovers her dad has a health issue that will affect his job. She takes a few days off and joins her dad scouting a high school baseball player. Along the way they run in to Johnny, a former baseball player, who is vying for a position as an announcer for the Red Sox.
Sounds like the makings of a somewhat interesting movie, right? That’s what I thought! And then the movie began. It was a tad disjointed and incredibly predictable. When one character did what he did right before the high school baseball game started, I leaned over and told Leanne what was going to happen later on. I was spot on. Am I bragging about this? Not at all. It was just that easy. I was going to make a comment about 2 year olds being able to figure this out but that would be rude and I’d feel really bad if any of you didn’t guess it too. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt though. I believe in you! The only parts that weren’t completely predictable involved Mickey’s boyfriend from the law firm and those totally came out of left field. Get it? Left field? Baseball? Okay, so I typed that before I thought it out and then I found it amusing and forced you to share. It couldn’t be helped.
There were many frustrating things about this film including scenes that just weren’t needed and were even a tad confusing. There are a couple of scenes in which Gus and some of the scouts are picking on another scout, trying to make him mad. It’s just stupid, for lack of a better word, and doesn’t play right in the film. Those bits should have ended up on the cutting room floor. They just weren’t funny. They really didn’t even need the other scouts as anything but extras. None of their interactions seem to fit. Gus reacts strongly to a man touching Mickey but you just chalk it up to him being an overbearing, over-protective crank-pot until later on in the movie and then you just kind of go, “Huh.” If this had happened more than once I might have wondered but as it stood the big reveal wasn’t as dramatic as it should have been.
Let’s move on to the cast. Clint Eastwood plays the part of Gus Lobel. He growls a LOT, curses a bit, cries a couple times and even sings. And although I’ve heard Clint sing before (Paint Your Wagon) it was a bit uncomfortable when he did it this time. It felt like it was personal and I shouldn’t have been witness to it. He also delivered one of my favorite lines in the movie. “Get out or I’ll have a heart attack trying to kill you.” Or something really close to that. Gus is very gruff but, as expected, really loves his daughter. Despite being such a bear he has gained the loyalty of several good friends including Pete. We’ll talk about Pete in a bit.
Amy Adams plays Mickey. Ask Mickey a baseball question and she’ll give you the answer. The correct answer. She’s one of those sports fans I’ll never be. She knows everything! All the rules, stats, players…EVERYTHING!!! Because of the way she was raised she has a huge problem making a commitment to any man. She is just as gruff and foul-mouthed as her dad but she’s able to give in a little easier than he is. It did say something about her, I think, that she set things aside to be with her dad. Trust me. Knowing now what she thought her dad had done to her you’ll appreciate her actions even more. I did.
John Goodman is Gus’s good friend Pete. I love John Goodman. I would marry him in a heartbeat. He just seems like an all-around good guy. That’s the part he plays here too. Pete is the head of the scouts for the Braves and completely believes in Gus’s abilities. Pete is also the reason Mickey finds out about her dad’s problem. At one point Pete questions Gus’s call regarding a player but sticks by the decision. He also supports and loves Mickey and you’ve gotta love him for that too.
Justin Timberlake is former baseball pitcher Johnny Flanagan. He and Gus are old friends from when he was being scouted by Gus. He’s thrown out his arm due to a bad trade decision that Gus tried to stop and now he’s working for the Red Sox. Johnny is just starting out as a scout and trying to work his way to becoming an announcer. I was pretty sure his scouting days were numbered when Mickey had to explain a few things about baseball to him; things a scout and former player should probably know. He helps Mickey lighten up so I liked him despite his lack of knowledge.
Matthew Lillard is also in this movie. He tends to typically be typecast as the goofball. Sometimes lovable, sometimes jerk-y. I think, in this film, he was attempting to step away from that kind of role. It was not a successful attempt. He was a jerk but he did such a poor job that I didn’t come anywhere close to hating him because of it. He didn’t have a major role in the movie but still stood out because I’ve liked his goofiness so much in other movies. Oh well.
And now for the breakdown:
Sex/Nudity – None. I know, right? How did they make a movie without either of those? Well, they did. The closest they came to nudity was Justin in his unders (and who doesn’t want to see that) but just his back side and Amy in her unders and a T-shirt. That kind of surprised me. I thought for sure she’d strip down to her bra and unders but nope. The shirt stayed on. Yea whoever made that decision!
Drugs/Alcohol – No drugs but several bar scenes and a scene in which Amy is downing whiskey.
Cursing/Cussing – Some cussing. Quite a bit of cursing. Several GD’s and JC’s. Were they necessary? Of course not.
Violence – Yes but little, if any, blood. Both incidents involve Gus fighting with someone else.
Hopefully you’ve made it this far because now’s the time to say some good things about Trouble with the Curve. It finally picked up about half-way through. I even teared up during one scene. I AM just that kind of dork. If you decide to go see this movie and the beginning makes you want to walk out and the predictability makes you want to roll your eyes, go ahead and stick it out. Despite knowing what was going to happen I was on tenterhooks waiting for the WHEN. I knew the movie had to be ending soon because things seemed to be wrapping up and yet…nothing. Then it happened. And I almost cried. For those of you who are going to go see this, it was the slow-mo scene that did it for me. It had been building up a bit before that but THAT nearly sent me over the edge. Why? Because I’m a sports’ movie freak and when things like that happen I want to stand up and cheer but can’t in the middle of the theater. Well, I could but I would embarrass myself doing so. So, it comes out in happy tears instead. I can’t explain it. Just work with me. I am happy to say that a little while later a couple of the audience members let out a few WHOO!’s. Those are my people.
If you like grumbly, ol’ Clint Eastwood you’ll probably like this film. If you like Amy Adams you might like this film. If you like Justin Timberlake you might like this film. If you’re a teeny-bopper who thinks Justin is “dreamy” then you probably don’t care at all about the film but will watch it anyway because, as mentioned before, he’s in his unders. If you like baseball you might like this but it’s more about the relationship between Gus and Mickey than anything else. Will I watch this again? Probably not. I won’t pay to see it again. Then again, I didn’t pay to see it this time. It was worth one viewing though. If you invite me over for dinner and a movie and this is your selection I’d probably sit through it. But only to be polite. Because that’s the kind of girl I am.
P.S. Feel free to leave when the credits start. Nothing happens at the end.
P.P.S. Pay close attention to Billy Clark (and don’t look the character up ahead of time, cheaters!). You might already know the actor or someone close to him. I completely missed it.