— Bill Murray as Carl Spackler from Caddyshack, 1980
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September 11, 2012
Kenny’z Fall Movie Preview ’12: Baseball’s “Trouble With the Curve”
— Posted by Kenny Miles
During the next few days, TMB contributor Kenny Miles will blog about his most anticipated autumn releases (from now until Halloween).
Robert Lorenz is a name that engaged cinemaphiles, let alone the average moviegoer, might not be aware but this might change in the near future. Lorenz makes his directorial debut in the new Clint Eastwood baseball dramedy “Trouble with the Curve” opening September 21st. Previously, he was the Second Unit Director on many of Clint Eastwood’s films including “Million Dollar Baby,” “Mystic River,” “Absolute Power,” and “Space Cowboys” among numerous other features. This is Mr. Eastwood’s first movie in front of the camera since 2008′s classic “Gran Torino” and his first film he will star, but not direct since 1993’s political thriller “In the Line of Fire.” This will be a change of pace for him since his last few films “J Edgar,” “Hereafter,” and “Invictus” have been underwhelming, if not very convoluted and/or dreadfully boring.
For some background on the plot of ‘Curve’ courtesy of Warner Brothers: The film stars Clint Eastwood as Gus Lobel who has been one of the best scouts in baseball for decades, but, despite his efforts to hide it, his age is starting to catch up with him. Nevertheless, Gus-who can tell a pitch just by the crack of the bat-refuses to be benched for what may be the final innings of his career but that choice may not be his to make. The front office of the Atlanta Braves is starting to question his judgment, especially with the country’s hottest batting phenom on deck for the draft. The one person who might be able to help is also the one person Gus would never ask: his daughter, Mickey (Amy Adams), is an associate at a high-powered Atlanta law firm whose drive and ambition has put her on the fast track to becoming partner. Against her better judgment, and over Gus’s objections, Mickey joins him on his latest scouting trip to North Carolina while jeopardizing her own career to save his. Justin Timberlake, John Goodman, Robert Patrick, and Matthew Lillard co-star.
A movie like ‘Trouble With The Curve’ seems like a big potential for a solid crowd-pleasing hit. It’s a family drama with talented cast, a sports minded plot, and appears to be light in tone. Last autumn, one of the greatest movies about the game of baseball, “Moneyball” was released garnering fervent critical acclaim, decent word of mouth business, and serious Oscar nominations. As a movie lover who indulges in reminiscing, comparisons for me will unfairly be made between the two films. Contrasting “Moneyball” and ‘Curve’ might be stark. Judging from the trailer of ‘Curve’ with it’s sentimental tone, the simplicity of the story, and the idea that Gus believes computer statistics cannot prove the worthiness of a player, ‘Curve’ has positioned itself as the anti-“Moneyball” of baseball movies.
Mr. Eastwood has garnered a lot of publicity for his recent involvement in the Republican National Convention. Though liberal on the social issues and a libertarian leaning Republican, Eastwood endorsed GOP nominee Mitt Romney for President. Clint Eastwood spoke on stage in what some political observers have considered to be one of the most bizarre moments at any political convention in American history. Even though he used an empty chair as a prop for President Obama, I anticipate many seats will be filled in auditoriums showing “Trouble with the Curve.” Clint Eastwood has his loyal fan base, but it is quite possible a legion of Republicans, living in middle America, will show up to the movie. They defended his partisan comments against the President. Logically, they would support ‘Curve’ since Mr. Eastwood is one of the only popular, talented, and accomplished Republican actor in Hollywood. With the newly branded outspoken conservative Clint Eastwood starring in a family drama about America’s sport of baseball, it’s a forgone conclusion that “Trouble With the Curve” will hit a homerun with older adult audiences.
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Whether something is overlooked by Hollywood or whatever business trend has captured the Entertainment Industry’s attention, Kenny Miles loves to talk about movies (especially the cultural impact of a film). He covers various aspects of movies including specialty genre films, limited release, independent, foreign language, documentary features, and THE much infamous "awards season." Also, he likes to offer his opinion on the business of film, marketing strategy, and branding. He currently resides in Denver, Colorado and is a member of the Denver Film Critics Society critics group. When he isn’t writing, Kenny channels his passion for interacting with moviegoers (something most movie pundits lack) as a pollster for the market research company CinemaScore and working as floor staff/special events coordinator in the film community. You can follow him on Twitter @kmiles723.
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