Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Trouble With the Curve


Ol’ Clint has turned out to be a much better director than he is an actor, and he’s not a bad actor. Judging from his last two parts, he seems to relish playing crotchety old men who are not aging gracefully. But Gran Torino, which he directed, is a much better movie than this one, which he didn’t. This is from a first-time director, Robert Lorenz, who worked as assistant director on most of Clint’s recent films so I’m assuming this is Eastwood giving a friend a leg up, and a first-time writer, Randy Brown. I’m optimistically hoping that they are learning their craft. They need to learn to avoid the most obvious cliches.

He’s a baseball scout who is going blind, which makes it sort of hard to tell how a hitter or a pitcher is doing. Every chance he gets, he shows off just how old and decrepit he is, and how badly he’s dealing with it. I sort of liked the opening scene, where he’s standing at the toilet and talking to his penis, berating the little guy for failing to deliver much more than a trickle of urine. But he gets his satisfaction even there, telling the damn thing that he’s outlived it.

Amy Adams is his daughter, a hotshot lawyer who is about to make partner in her firm. John Goodman is Clint’s old friend on the Braves, who stands up for him against the hotshot computer guys who insist it’s no longer necessary to go out to shitty little ballparks and actually watch the upcoming talent. It’s all there in the stats. So this is sort of the opposite of Moneyball. Me, though I can see a computer program is useful, I go with Clint and his gut feelings. (And as a baseball fan, I hate the sound of an aluminum bat hitting a ball. If God had meant us to swing metal bats, he’d have made Christmas trees out of old B-29s.)

The story is totally predictable, even to lines of dialogue that I was able to anticipate before they were said. Amy sacrifices her law career to help out old Dad, who she feels abandoned her after her mother died. But of course she turns out to like it, and is a better scout than all the techies back in Atlanta. And she falls in love with the has-been pitcher who charms her out of her shell, and she finds the next Sandy Koufax cleaning out her motel room, and she and Dad come to an understanding with a startling revelation … I enjoyed it okay, but I almost bailed out early when Clint went to his wife’s grave and sang “You Are My Sunshine” and cried. Too predictable. Please, Clint, don’t talk to empty chairs anymore, and don’t sing to gravestones!