We’re so excited to have our guest Movie Critic, Paul McGuire back to share his summer Baseball movie picks with us! Paul shares baseball movies worthy of any kind of fan. So pull out your favorite baseball snacks, pop open a beer and enjoy!
There’s nothing like spending your summer at the ballpark or in front of your television watching your favorite baseball team. Unfortunately, your favorite team might not be doing so well this season. I’m looking at you, Minnesota Twins. Do you feel like getting your baseball fix in, but you just can’t bear to watch your team lose one more time? Again, I’m looking at you, Minnesota Twins. What a surprise, they are currently losing 1-5 as I write this. Maybe it’s time to pop in a baseball movie instead. You could watch a classic and relive the glory days of baseball. Notice how it’s changed over the years. Baseball players seemed to play more for the love of the game and the fans than playing for the paycheck or the endorsements. Here are a few baseball movies worth checking out:
The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
Director: Sam Wood
Starring: Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Babe Ruth
“Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” “In this country, you can be whatever you want to be.” A young Lou Gehrig is told this by his mother after getting into trouble for breaking a store window by hitting a baseball a little harder than he thought he could. Unfortunately, she is talking about being an engineer instead of a baseball player. Even as an adult, Gehrig (Cooper) feels the need to be an engineer for his mom despite his ability to hit the ball quite a distance. He is approached to play for the New York Yankees. He turns them down ignoring his inner love of the game.
After his mom falls ill, he signs a contract in hopes to make enough money to afford to keep his mother in a private hospital.
The Pride of the Yankees focuses on both Gehrig’s career with the Yankees and his personal life including his marriage to Eleanor Twitchell (Wright). Cooper and Wright have a beautiful relationship. You can’t help but cry a little as Eleanor reacts to the news of Lou’s illness. Babe Ruth appears quite
frequently in the movie as himself. There is a fun scene in the movie where Lou and he both promise a boy in the hospital that they will hit home runs in the next World Series game. Gehrig even promises he will hit two home runs. Just like you do at the game, you sit at the edge of your seat hoping they deliver the home runs. I would consider it one of the most inspirational sports movies I have ever seen. It was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and chose #3 on the American Film Institute’s Top 10 Sports Movies.
A League of their Own (1992)
Director: Penny Marshall
Starring: Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell
“There’s no crying. There’s no crying in baseball!” Dottie (Davis) and Kit (Petty) are two simple farm girls who like to play a mean game of baseball for their local women’s team. Dottie is the prettier and more talented sister. After a scouting manager (John Lovitz) watches them play, he asks Dottie to try-out for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Unfortunately, Kit is far more interested than Dottie. The scout agrees that Kit can come if she convinces Dottie to try-out. The league is formed to keep the interest in baseball alive while the men were off to battle in World War II. The girls decide
to leave their cows behind and board the train to Chicago for try-outs. Sure enough, they make the Rockford Peaches along with loud-mouth Mae (Madonna) and wise-cracking Doris (O’Donnell). Former baseball player, Jimmy Dougan (Hanks), signs on to manage the girls. Unfortunately, he hasn’t quite kicked the bottle yet. After a slow start, the girls gain popularity and the stands fill up with cheering fans. Tension starts to build as Dottie becomes the star player, and Kit is left in her shadows. The girls have to deal with one of their members getting traded and learning of the death of one of their husbands. More importantly, the owner of the league doesn’t feel a need for the teams once the war is over.
A League of their Own is a fictionalized story based on the real All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Tom Hanks turns in a very funny performance as he transitions from being an alcoholic to a caring manager of the Peaches. If you’ve never seen it before or you’ve seen it numerous times like me, it’s one of those movies you can watch over and over again and not get sick of. It’s inspirational and poignant while retaining a sense of humor.
Bull Durham (1988)
Director: Ron Shelton
Starring: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins
“I believe in the church of baseball.” If rock bands can have groupies, so can minor league baseball teams. LaLoosh (Robbins) is the hot new pitcher for
the Durham Bulls. He’s care-free, reckless, wild, and unpredictable especially for being the new guy on the team. Veteran catcher “Crash” Davies (Costner) sees right through his attitude. After a night out with a groupie, Annie (Sarandon), LaLoosh comes to the locker room an exhausted mess calling himself “Nuke”. Everyone has to have a nickname. Annie is at every game and flirts with Crash and Nuke. Crash has been assigned to guide Nuke since he’s new to the team. He believes Nuke has no respect for the game and is willing to call him out on it. After a road trip away from home turf, Annie is eagerly waiting at the bus stop to pick up Nuke. Nuke decides to start listening to Crash and play ball his way. Low and behold, they start winning. Nuke doesn’t want to blow his wining strike so he tries to resist Annie’s temptress ways. He wants to keep his mind in the game and not on the women. Crash also warns Nuke that they will start losing if he continues his fling with Annie. Once the major league starts calling, Nuke must decide if he’s willing to leave behind Crash, Annie, and the rest of the Bulls. What Nuke doesn’t realize is that if he decides to join the major leagues it’s going to affect everyone else not just him.
Bull Durham has a far different feel than The Pride of the Yankees and A League of their Own. It definitely has the “1980s Guy Movie” vibe to it. It’s the kind of movie you can sit back, relax, and drink a cold beer while watching it. Don’t fear ladies, Tim Robbins is young and very good looking in it. There’s
something for everyone to enjoy! As a warning, there is a good amount of profanity used, so if that is something that troubles you, this might not be your baseball movie of choice.
Other Baseball Movies to Check Out:
Based OnTrue Stories; Eight Men Out, 61*,
Classics: Field of Dreams, The Natural
Comedies: Bad News Bears, Major League
For Younger Baseball Players: The Sandlot, The Rookie
You might as well go all out and have your favorite ballpark snacks too. I always love having a bratwurst and a cold beer at the game. Lunds and Kowalski’s
sell a variety of flavored sausages and brats. Cheddar jalapeno brats are always delicious. Substitute your standard Miller or Michelob Light for Stella Artois or Killian’s. There are numerous seasonal beers on the market from Leinenkugel’s and Summit. If you decide to throw a party, make some queso/salsa dip in a crock pot for easy nachos. The hotter the salsa is, the better the queso is in my opinion. If you like stadium pretzels, you could try making home-made pretzels. There are pretzel-making kits you can buy and then you can top them with any flavoring you want like garlic, parmesan, cinnamon-sugar, rosemary and olive oil. There are so many baseball movies for any kind of baseball fan. Pick up some snacks and watch a new movie where the team will most likely win for a change!
Paul McGuire; Movie Critic, Professional Actor, and Life-Long Movie Buff.
Check out Paul’s blog at http://elblogdepmcg.blogspot.com/