Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Mr. 3000


I had few expectations about this one. I knew it was about a ballplayer who got 3000 hits, then quit baseball in the middle of a pennant race because he was such a self-centered asshole. Nine years later it turns out 3 of those hits were recorded twice, so he’s only got 2997. He wants to be in the Hall of Fame but sportswriters hate him. Now he has to get back in shape and try for those last 3 hits. I figured it would be a silly little comedy — and it is quite funny, mostly from dialogue and Bernie Mac’s personality. The last thing I expected was for a damn good baseball game to break out. The photography of the action is exciting. And at the same time, like all good baseball movies, it’s about a lot more than baseball. I don’t know why, but the “American Game” seems to be the sport best-suited to exceed the genre of the sports movie. The best of them, like The Natural, Field of Dreams, Bull Durham, Eight Men Out, and even Damn Yankees, aren’t really about baseball at all, they are metaphors, even fantasies. Mr. 3000 doesn’t fall prey to that almost universal cliché: winning the Big Game at the end. I did see the ending coming, but only after I was halfway through the film, when it became clear that this wasn’t going to be a Big Game movie. And seeing it coming didn’t hurt at all; it was emotionally satisfying. It is sly, funny, informed, well-written and acted, and even exciting.