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Saturday, October 5, 2013


Few famous film quotes bat quite as high an inaccuracy percentage as Tom Hanks earns for ‘There’s no crying in baseball.’ It’s hard to think of another sport quite as weepy. And that goes double for movies about baseball. This one manages the unlikely trick of pitching (that’s story pitching) BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY/’73 meets ON GOLDEN POND/’81. Clint Eastwood, in raspy-voice, curmudgeon mode, takes the Robert De Niro/Henry Fonda spot as an aging major league talent scout who’s losing his sight and needs to reconnect with his powerhouse daughter. That’d be Amy Adams, batting for Michael Moriarty/Jane Fonda in the line-up as the high-powered attorney who takes a break from her job to sort out her well-tended grudge against Pop, all the while helping him hold on to his job. Hmm, which makes Justin Timberlake . . . Katherine Hepburn? No, that’s not right. Well, anyway, they’re all down South to check on a promising hitting sensation, a nasty blowhard type who’s got a weak spot only Clint can spot. But who’ll believe him? Newbie megger Robert Lorenz gets a nice lazy rhythm going, but he can’t seem to keep away from adorable photo-ops: a bar fight, a midnight swim in a pond, diners with sassy waitresses, clog dancing . . . CLOG DANCING? The last reel kicks in with a whole laundry list of cheap dramatic payoffs that might have worked in a different, less laid-back sort of film. (Does the peanut boy really have to be the next Sandy Koufax? Geez.) Still, the company is pleasant enough, and Amy Adams a good deal more than that.

DOUBLE-BILL: To see Clint deliver in late curmudgeon mode, try GRAND TORINO/’08. Or, for a baseball fix without tears, there’s always IT HAPPENS EVERY SPRING/’49. (Alas, VHS only. Get on the ball 20th/Fox.)

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